Group To Explore Coates Mafic Complex In Western Australia
Lithium Australia NL (ASX: LIT), Australian Vanadium Ltd (ASX: AVL) and private company Mercator Metals Pty Ltd have formed a strategic alliance to undertake exploration activities targeting nickel-copper-platinum group elements mineralisation at the Coates Mafic Intrusive Complex north of Perth in Western Australia.
Lithium Australia managing director ,Adrian Griffin, says collectively, their tenements – which adjoin each other and are known as ‘the Coates project’ – cover the mafic-ultramafic rock sequences containing the Coates Gabbro and provide the required continuity for efficient exploration.
Recent significant discoveries of Ni-Cu-PGE mineralisation by Chalice Gold Mines Ltd t its nearby Julimar project have highlighted the potential of the region.
Julimar project, which hosts the mineralisation discovered by Chalice, is 29 km north-northwest of the Coates project and the geology of both is similar (Figure 1).
“Chalice’s recent discovery of significant Ni-Cu-PGE mineralisation at the Julimar project highlights the potential for additional discoveries in similar geological environments, and the Coates Mafic Intrusion, being so close, provides a tremendous opportunity,” Mr Griffin said.
From GSWA regional aeromagnetic data, the magnetic signature indicates that the Coates Mafic Intrusive Complex may be more than 5 km long, with a horizontal width of up to 1 km.
Exploration will commence with compilation and data-sharing of historical information that can assist in targeting potential hosts for Ni-Cu-PGE mineralisation. The objective is the construction and maintenance of a single, modern dataset for use with digital modelling systems.
Following this initial phase, a laterite-sampling and geological-mapping field exercise will be completed, in order to develop an up-to-date geochemical and geological map.
Jointly, the companies are evaluating the use of ground electro-magnetic (‘EM’) geophysical surveys to delineate any sulphide-rich horizons at the Coates project prior to drilling.
While the expected timeframe for the initial base-metal exploration is dependent on permitting, it is anticipated that data compilation and geochemical sampling can be completed in the current quarter. EM surveys and drilling will take place in the September quarter.
Future evaluations of geology at the Coates project will include studies into any affinity of the Coates Gabbro with the recently identified Gonneville Intrusive that hosts Ni-Cu-PGE mineralisation at Chalice’s Julimar project. Investigating the potential for base-metal and PGE mineralisation was recommended in future work programmes by Garrick Agnew Pty Ltd at the Coates deposit in 1971.