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Western Mines uncovers 367m nickel hit at Mulga Tank

Updated: Apr 30

Western Mines Group diamond drill core MTD021 showing massive nickel sulphide mineralisation. Credit: File

Western Mines Group has unveiled a far-reaching 367m stretch of nickel mineralisation averaging 0.26 per cent in results from six reverse-circulation (RC) holes plunged into its Mulga Tank project in Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields region.

The program was designed to test an extensive shallow zone of disseminated nickel sulphide and about 50 per cent of samples from each of the six holes were mineralised.

The full suite of mineralisation in the spectacular 367m run comprised an average of 0.26 per cent nickel, 133 parts per million cobalt, 74ppm copper and 25ppb platinum group elements (PGE). It included individual intercepts of 188m at 0.27 per cent nickel from 92m, with 28m at 0.38 per cent nickel and 7m at 0.39 per cent nickel from 161m.

The discovery is likely to be the shallow “disseminated” zone being investigated by the program, which runs from just under the sand cover to 280m downhole depth. But as the first hole was drilled deeper than the other five, the cumulative run can be seen to represent hits from both the shallow disseminated and deeper primary nickeliferous zones all the way to end-of-hole at 522m depth.

Other significant nickel intercepts in the same hole were 133m at 0.26 per cent from 321m, 18m at 0.21 per cent from 464m and a final 28m at 0.22 per cent from 494m.

All holes were inclined between 70 to 73 degrees and show broad zones of nickel sulphide mineralisation and elevated nickel and sulphide values coinciding with highly-anomalous copper and PGE.

The other five holes were terminated at depths ranging from 283m to 354m, all returning nickel results above 0.20 per cent. The best intercepts from each of the five holes include 82m going 0.25 per cent nickel in the second hole, 82m at 0.22 per cent in the third hole, 128m at 0.24 per cent in the fourth hole, 27m at 0.23 per cent nickel in the fifth hole and two separate zones in the sixth hole of 60m going 0.26 per cent and a deeper 98m running 0.26 per cent.

A steady flow of results from the RC program are starting to come through. All the results appear to show broad zones of nickel sulphide mineralisation. The holes received so far happen to cluster over the western portion of approximately 2.5km x 1km area tested. These are very exciting initial results showing that the drilling has already been successful in demonstrating the lateral continuity, and an extensive volume, of shallow disseminated mineralisation which could host globally significant tonnes of nickel in sulphide. Western Mines Group managing director Dr Caedmon Marriott

The company has now received results from eight of the program’s 22 RC drillholes. It is the first systematic pattern drilling of its flagship Mulga Tank project on the major ultramafic complex in the under-explored Minigwal greenstone belt, north-east of Kalgoorlie.

The zone was identified in early deep diamond drillholes, which were primarily designed to map out the geology and the variable depth to footwall of the wedge-shaped ultramafic intrusive that hosts both disseminated and massive nickel sulphide mineralisation. It also raised the possibility for an economically mineable open pit with low-cost pre-stripping of free-dig sand cover, which could be a major consideration in kickstarting any future mining project.

Results from the program could offer management a potential paradigm shift in its understanding of the geology and geochemistry of the complex and its potential to host a significant disseminated nickel sulphide deposit. Buried by a ubiquitous 60m to 90m of recent sand cover, the zone runs from just below the sand cover and extends to depths varying from about 250m to 300m or more.

It attracted immediate attention on account of its lateral extent – even in the smaller number of diamond holes drilled at that stage – but also in its uniformity of depth and consistency of mineralisation.

Allowing for about a 320m average hole depth and 60m of sand cover, the drill pattern has effectively swept a broad target volume of about 650 million cubic metres (more than 1.6 billion tonnes of rock) in the centre of the main body, much of which is demonstrably mineralised.

Just two weeks ago, the company revealed results of the first two holes in the program, with one yielding a nickel run of 253m at 0.24 per cent nickel, while the other showed 111m at 0.31 per cent nickel, further raising hopes that it might be hot on the trail of a potential Mt Keith-style disseminated nickel deposit.

Western Mines has been systematically peppering its Mulga Tank nickel project with deep diamond and shallow to medium-depth RC drilling for the past year and so far, every hole has added positively to the story.

The company’s latest results have not fallen short of expectations, delivering six more big runs of values which continue its remarkable journey of discovery at this unusual, but exciting project.

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