Anomalous nickel was first highlighted by Asarco in the 1970’s by shallow RAB drilling however it wasn’t until 1996-1997 that the first RC and diamond drill holes, drilled by Western Mining Corporation, penetrated what is now part of the Saints nickel resource.
Historic drilling allowed mineralisation to be defined to around 480 metres below surface.
Various companies drill tested the deposit through to 2011 and prior to Minotaur acquiring ownership in 2013. The historical data was compiled and reviewed by Minotaur and further reviewed and then modelled by RPM Holdings Limited (RPM, formerly RungePincockMinarco Limited) in March-April 2017, providing Competent Person preparation of the maiden Mineral Resource estimate.
The maiden Mineral Resource estimate for the Saints nickel deposit was prepared and reported by RPM according to JORC (2012) guidelines. The total Resource, a compilation of the Saint Andrews, Saint Patricks and Western Contact deposits, all classified as Inferred and reported above 1.0% Ni cut-off, contains 1.05Mt @ 2.0% Ni for 21,000 tonnes of nickel, 0.2% Cu for 1,600 tonnes of copper and 0.06% Co for 600 tonnes of cobalt. The estimate reports 98% of the resource in fresh primary sulphide mineralization.
The Saints deposit lies within the Archean Norseman-Wiluna Greenstone Belt on the western limb of the Scotia-Kanowna Anticline. Mineralisation is hosted in ultramafic rocks comprising komatiite flows which are considered equivalent to the Highway Ultramafics that host the Scotia Nickel deposit located along strike approximately 15km to the south.
Nickel sulphide mineralisation occurs in three known zones; Saint Patricks, Saint Andrews and the Western Contact. All three zones dip between approximately 35-55 degrees toward the WSW. The main sulphide species recognised in all three mineralisation zones are pyrrhotite, pentlandite, chalcopyrite and pyrite, with violarite in the transitional to weathered zone.
Ore grade nickel mineralisation occurs as massive or matrix sulphides in the main ore zones with disseminated or cloud sulphides occurring in the hanging wall position proximal to mineralisation. Mineralisation widths range from 1-6 metres (true width).
Mineralisation at the Saints Nickel Project consists as a series of sub-parallel high-grade sulphide zones developed along eastern and western ultramafic/basalt contacts. Significant potential for resource extensions remains at depth in and around the nose of the postulated fold closure, which is yet to be drill tested and is a priority for Auroch.
The long-section through the Saints Nickel Project shows that St Patricks remains open at depth and St Andrews deposit is open to the south and at depth. There has been limited drilling between St Andrews and St Patricks since the acquisition of the Saints Nickel Project by Minotaur in 2013, with around 500m strike not tested and remaining a high exploration priority for Auroch to follow up.