Following completion of the acquisition, Auroch and Goldfellas will operate the Nepean Nickel Project as a joint venture with Auroch holding an 80% participating interest and Goldfellas the remaining 20%. Goldfellas is a recently incorporated private company of gold prospectors, resource industry executives, stockbrokers, lawyers and investor relation consultants.
The Nepean Nickel Project contains the historic high-grade Nepean nickel sulphide mine, which was the second producing nickel mine in Australia, producing 1,108,457t of ore between 1970 and 1987 for 32,202t of nickel metal at an average recovered grade of 2.99% Ni. The ore was treated by
Western Mining Corporation (WMC, now BHP Group Ltd) at their Kambalda processing facilities.
The Nepean mine closed in 1987 due to low nickel prices, leaving significant nickel sulphide resources unmined. In 2007, previous owner Focus Minerals Ltd (ASX:FML) (Focus) estimated the remnant Inferred Mineral Resource (JORC(2004)-compliant) to be approximately 13,250t contained nickel @
The nickel sulphide mineralisation in the Nepean mine is typically massive to semi-massive sulphides with a very high nickel tenor, contained predominately in two main bodies that are located on ultramafic-mafic contacts. The stratigraphy is intruded and cross-cut by pegmatite veins, with one large pegmatite cutting across the entire stratigraphy at depth below the existing underground mine.
The Company has identified several near-mine drill targets to potentially extend the known high-grade massive nickel sulphide mineralisation, particularly along strike to the south where very few historic drill-holes have been completed below the weathering zone, as well as at depth below the pegmatite veining.
In 2008 Focus successfully intersected very high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation with shallow reverse circulation (RC) drill-holes along strike to the south of the existing Nepean mine and resources, including:
- 3m @ 11.78% Ni from 37m (NP084470-2)
- 3m @ 9.93% Ni from 49m (NP084480-1)
- 4m @ 6.63% Ni from 46m (NP084470-1)
- 6m @ 2.82% Ni from 53m (NP084490-1)
In addition to the remnant high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation, the project also hosts significant exploration upside. Much of the ultramafic strike to the north remains untested, and very little deep exploration beneath the existing mine has been conducted. Auroch believes there is great potential to both increase the resources at depth and to discover new mineralisation along strike of the historic mine.
Auroch has commenced the planning and permitting processes for an initial RC drilling programme, aimed to test priority targets along strike from the Nepean nickel mine. A programme of approximately 3,000m of RC is considered for the initial works.