Chalice Mining Limited (ASX: CHN) has confirmed the world-class potential of its Julimar Nickel-Copper-Platinum Group Element (PGE) Project in Western Australia at its 100%-owned Julimar Nickel-Copper-Platinum Group Element (PGE) Project with the release of its maiden Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for the Gonneville Deposit.
Gonneville is already the largest nickel sulphide discovery worldwide since 20004 (>20 years), and the largest PGE discovery in Australian history.
Located ~70km north-east of Perth, the company has defined a tier-1 scale, pit-constrained maiden Resource for Gonneville on Chalice-owned farmland, which includes a mix of oxide, transitional and sulphide mineralisation.
The sulphide mineralisation is reported at two different cut-off grades in order to highlight the scale and development optionality the Deposit affords.
The Maiden Indicated and Inferred, pit constrained, mineral resource estimate (Resource) defined for the Gonneville PGE-Ni-Cu-Co-Au deposit is:
- 330Mt @ 0.94g/t 3E1, 0.16% Ni, 0.10% Cu, 0.016% Co (~0.58% NiEq2 or ~1.6g/t PdEq3);
- Containing 10Moz 3E, 530kt Ni, 330kt Cu, 53kt Co (~1.9Mt NiEq or ~17Moz PdEq);
- ~150Mt (45%) is within the Indicated category (55% within the Inferred category).
The Resource is constrained within a pit shell and reported above a 0.4% NiEq cut-off grade (sulphide) and 0.9g/t Pd cut-off grade (oxide).
The pit-constrained Resource includes a significant higher-grade sulphide component above a 0.6% NiEq cut-off grade, starting from a depth of ~30m:
- 74Mt @ 1.8g/t 3E, 0.22% Ni, 0.21% Cu, 0.021% Co (~1.0% NiEq or ~2.8g/t PdEq);
- Containing 4.2Moz 3E, 160kt Ni, 150kt Cu, 15kt Co (~760kt NiEq or ~6.6Moz PdEq);
Managing Director and CEO, Alex Dorsch, said this higher-grade component affords the project significant optionality in development and could potentially materially enhance project economics in the initial years of operations.
He said the robust nature of the Resource is demonstrated by the relatively flat grade-tonnage curves, which highlight the significant quantity of sulphide mineralisation at higher cut-off grades.
The significant high-grade component of the Resource provides excellent optionality for any future development, could potentially materially improve project economics in the initial years of operation and will be a key focus of the project Scoping Study, which is currently in progress.
Drilling is continuing at the ~1.9km x 0.9km Deposit outside the maiden Resource, with assays pending for ~160 drill holes and five rigs continuing to test for extensions of high-grade mineralisation.
Gonneville remains open at the Julimar State Forest boundary to the north, where approval to drill over a further ~10km of strike length is anticipated to be received shortly. The Deposit also remains open beyond a depth of ~630m.
Mr Dorsch said the completion of the maiden Resource is a significant milestone for the Julimar Project and provides a strong foundation for the ongoing Scoping Study, which is scoping the initial mine development options at Gonneville and is expected to be completed in Q2 2022.
“This is a major milestone for Chalice, coming just 18 months after our stunning first hole discovery at Julimar,” Mr Dorsch said.
“Since then, we have completed more than 175,000m of diamond and RC drilling and now defined a genuine tier-1 scale deposit of critical minerals, with exceptional growth potential.
“The Resource confirms that Gonneville is the largest nickel sulphide discovery globally in over two decades, and the largest PGE discovery in Australia’s history – a remarkable achievement considering that this is the first discovery in what we consider to be an entirely new district, Julimar, within a new nickel-copper-PGE province, the West Yilgarn.
“Given its sheer scale, the attractive suite of six payable metals it contains and its premier location close to world-class infrastructure and services in Perth, Chalice clearly has the potential to become a leading global player in the green metals space.
“The high-grade sulphide component of the maiden Resource is very important to the project, as it provides a degree of optionality for mine development that is not often seen in mining projects of this nature.
“ The vast majority of competitor projects worldwide are narrow, high-grade underground deposits, whereas high-grade mineralisation at Gonneville starts near surface, which could be a material factor when considering project economics in the initial years of operation.
“It is also important to emphasise that the current Resource covers just 7% of the Julimar Intrusive Complex, which has been interpreted to cover a strike length of more than 26km.
“We know that the deposit remains open along strike to the north, and we are very much looking forward to receiving the final clearances to commence our initial low impact drilling program in the Julimar State Forest.
“In the meantime, we are continuing to test the extent of the high-grade sulphide zones with step-out drilling down-plunge, and we continue to see strong potential for underground development in the longer term. The Scoping Study for Gonneville is progressing well and is on track to be completed in the second quarter of next year.
“We are continuing to consult closely with local communities as well as governments at both the State and Federal level, to ensure we build trust and secure our social licence to operate. We consider it very important that the broader project stakeholders understand the project and the immense opportunity in front of us.”
Chalice General Manager – Development, Bruce Kendall, said the maiden Resource is an exceptional result, with approximately 60% of the total sulphide tonnes in the top 250m already contained in the Indicated Resource category.
“This reflects the significant amount of infill drilling we have already undertaken at Gonneville and provides an outstanding base from which to complete the ongoing Scoping Study.
“The Resource pit shell is largely drill constrained at the southern end of the Deposit, where the highest grades occur, with few holes drilled thus far beneath the pit shell in this area. As our infill drilling has progressed it has shown that higher grade zones of mineralisation are more prevalent and more continuous than initial broad spaced drilling suggests. This is an important characteristic of the deposit which highlights the potential upside.
“Deep drilling targeting higher grade extensions and infilling drilling in the northern part of the Deposit, where most of the Inferred Resources are located, will be a focus in the coming months.
“Mineralisation is still open to the north within the Julimar State Forest, and we eagerly await the necessary approvals so that we can start drilling the Hartog target where soil sampling and moving loop EM has identified a number of compelling anomalies for drill testing.
“Despite the scale and significance of the maiden Gonneville Resource, we believe that the broader Julimar Project is still at a very early stage in its discovery history – and we are very excited about the discovery and growth opportunities within the extensive Julimar Complex.”