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Western Mines turns nickel negative into project positive

Updated: Apr 30

Western Mines Mulga Tank location, an emerging nickel discovery. Credit: File

A “novel” first nickel no-show in a hole at Western Mines Group’s Mulga Tank project in Western Australia’s Goldfields region has given the company what it says is

a better understanding of the riches lying lie beneath its intriguing complex.

While the company recorded its first reverse-circulation (RC) hole at Mulga Tank to come up empty, two others continued the project’s prospectivity to reveal broad zones of nickel mineralisation up to 0.72 per cent and in the same range of results as others obtained so far within the 22-hole program.

One hole yielded a long, cumulative run of 175m at 0.26 per cent nickel, 114 parts per million cobalt, 18ppm copper and platinum group elements (PGEs) going 19 parts per billion. A second hole offered up a similar cumulative intercept of 164m at 0.26 per cent nickel, 134ppm cobalt, 114ppm copper and 20ppb PGE.

The findings add further impetus to the remarkable Mulga Tank ultramafic nickel project that sits near Lake Minigwal, north-east of Kalgoorlie in WA. The company says the non-mineralised hole was “slightly to the north” of the area tested by most of its RC drilling.

We’ve finally received assay results from one of our RC holes without broad zones of nickel sulphide mineralisation - whilst perhaps a perverse statement, this is something of a novelty at Mulga Tank. Two of the latest RC holes continue the trend seen in previous holes in the program with broad zones of nickel sulphide mineralisation, with one hole closer to the centre of the area tested by the RC drilling showing better mineralisation with individual results up to 0.72 per cent nickel and a high sulphidation S:Ni ratio greater than 1.
Western Mines managing director Dr Caedmon Marriott

Six diamond-core holes that had been drilled earlier to flesh out the shape and depth of the unique, wedge-shaped Mulga Tank ultramafic body and its lateral extents, almost serendipitously revealed the existence of a partially-oxidized, near-surface zone of disseminated nickel sulphide hidden beneath the ubiquitous 60m to 90m of recent sand cover.

In addition to previous results from 16 of the 22 RC holes drilled, the latest results confirm a surprising continuity and uniformity of grade across the regularly laid-out 500m-by-300m hole pattern that sought to assess the shallow central part of the body within a 2.5km-by-1km area to try and figure out the newly-discovered disseminated zone.

The uniformity provides Western Mines with great confidence in the mining potential and reliable modelling of the disseminated zone tested to date by the 7035.5m of RC drilling. It is figured to have swept an already provable nickel-rich volume of about 650 million cubic metres of in the centre of the main body.

Individual intercepts from the first of the company’s latest two RC holes run at 88m at 0.27 per cent nickel from 112m and 87m at 0.25 per cent from 226m. The second hole gave up a more complex run of 36m at 0.21 per cent nickel from 126m, 52m at 0.28 per cent from 174m, with 5m at 0.44 per cent from 191m including 2m at 0.59 per cent from 191m.

Additional intercepts in the hole yielded 40m at 0.27 per cent nickel from 236m and 36m at 0.27 per cent from 306m (ending in mineralisation), which includes 2m at 0.43 per cent from 310m.

Western Mines views the somewhat barren result from the third hole as “interesting and unique”, but believes it helps it to establish limits and perhaps defines the search space for future exploration in the ultramafic complex.

The result could stem from many circumstances, both geological and physical – for example, from natural geological margins, erosion or faulting. But it still has value in that it can set boundaries.

The seasoned observer knows that in geological exploration, up to a point, there is sometimes almost as much value in a “no-show” result as there is in continuity of more of the same positive results … and that one snowflake does not make a winter.

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