Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) has further underlined its growing two-track approach to developing and delineating its massive Julimar palladium, platinum, gold, copper, nickel and cobalt prospect northeast of Perth.
The two-track method increasingly looks like the only way for a company of any size to handle such as massive prospect at Julimar, which has the capacity to be one of the largest metal deposits around the world.
It has the rich initial strike at Gonneville, which, along with a couple of other areas of interest; will get a new and higher resource figure in several months’ time, the company’s scoping study for a mine at Gonneville continues (and will take longer because of the complexity of the ore and other factors) and the need for more drill data.
As well, Chalice revealed in its December quarterly report that while its exploration efforts at Julimar are expanding, other areas in WA along the Western edge of the Yilgarn Craton (where Julimar is located) are starting to come under investigation, including one 35 kilometres away.
On top of this, the previous mentioned Hooley’s prospect is starting to look very prospective after five reconnaissance drill holes found “significant PGE-dominant mineralisation”.
“Chalice continues its dual strategy at Julimar – to advance development studies and regulatory approvals for a potential future mine at Gonneville (on Chalice-owned farmland), in parallel with ongoing exploration activities across the full 30km Julimar Complex strike length,” the company said in this week’s quarterly.
The third estimate of the resources at Julimar (mostly Gonneville and several less explored areas along the line of strike) is coming in late March. Gonneville already has a total resource of 350 million tonnes of nickel, copper, PGE (palladium, platinum and gold) and cobalt.
Chalice says this next update will include data from a total of 263 new drill holes across part of the strike at Gonneville and beyond. There will be 157 infill and wide spaced step out drill holes and 109 close spaced RC (Reverse Cycle) drill holes in the area at Gonneville where the starter pit for the proposed mine is planned.
“Drilling during the quarter highlighted a potential deepening of the Gonneville Resource pit shell at the northern end, with several outstanding broad zones of sulphide mineralisation intersected up to ~650m beyond the current Resource – all remain open,” the company said.
“The latest results highlight the significant near-term growth potential in the higher-grade portion of the current Resource and a potential deepening of the Resource pit shell at the northern end.
The drilling of the untested Hartog prospect has suddenly assumed more importance, according to Chalice.
“Following an important breakthrough in exploration at the project, the previously elusive northern extension of the Gonneville Intrusion has been interpreted at depth following an effective 2D seismic survey,” Chalice explained in the quarterly report.
“Previous drilling in this area at the Hartog Prospect had failed to intersect the prospective mafic-ultramafic horizon, which drilling has now confirmed to be faulted ~650m to the west-north- west.
“Drilling has now commenced at the Hartog Prospect to test the new offset interpretation of the Julimar Complex to the west.
“Broad-spaced drilling further along the Julimar Complex has targeted the discovery of new high- grade Ni-Cu-PGE sulphide deposits which could add considerable value to a potential mine at Gonneville.
“Results to date have confirmed that the Resource, discovered in early 2020 on Chalice-owned farmland, is just a small part of the Julimar Complex.
” The complex is a very large mineralised system, which Chalice believes is capable of hosting multiple discrete Ni-Cu-PGE deposits, as evidenced by multiple sulphide drill intersections in wide-spaced drilling to date over ~10km of strike length.”
“Wide-spaced reconnaissance and step-out drilling is continuing at the Hooley, Dampier and Hartog Prospects. Reconnaissance drilling has intersected sulphide mineralisation in all holes drilled into the Julimar Complex to date over a strike length of ~10km.
“Several wide-spaced holes drilled at the Hooley Prospect, located ~5km north of Gonneville, have intersected PGE-dominant sulphide mineralisation, which is considered a highly encouraging early result.
“The host intrusion at Hooley has similar mafic to ultramafic geology and litho-geochemistry to Gonneville and, on this basis, it is inferred to be a continuation of the ‘chonolith’-like Julimar Complex.”
“The ongoing Scoping Study has made good progress evaluating a broad range of scale, mining and flowsheet options, which is necessary given the size, uniqueness and significant optionality of the Resource,” Chalice explained.
“Metallurgical testwork during the quarter, focusing on flotation tails leaching and staged grinding, has highlighted the potential to materially enhance overall metallurgical recoveries.”
Chalice said this has seen the deadline for the Scoping Study extended “to allow both the new and planned metallurgical testwork results and the updated MRE to be modelled and incorporated.”
“A revised study completion timeline will be determined once the Resource is updated in late Q1 2023,” Chalice said.
And there was confirmation that the initial interesting signs at the Hooley Prospect could be more than that, with “significant PGE-dominant sulphide mineralisation intersected in all five reconnaissance holes over ~1.8km of strike length in initial drilling” at the prospect. Hooley’s five kilometres to the north of the Gonneville area.
“Continued exploration success at Hooley points to a significant scale mineral system – five rigs are currently drilling over ~10km of Julimar Complex strike length,” Chalice revealed.
And in an intriguing development, Chalice has revealed it is also stepping up work in the new West Yilgarn Nickel-Copper-PGE Province in WA.
“First-pass reconnaissance activities are nearing completion over the Company’s ~8,000-kilometre tenure holding in the new West Yilgarn Province, paving the way for drilling to commence across multiple priority regional targets in the coming months.
“Artificial intelligence/machine learning driven targeting exercise nearing completion across the entire land-holding, using the Julimar geochemical/geophysical ‘fingerprint’ to target similar host intrusions. Results are expected be available in Q1 2023.
“Initial RC drilling at the greenfield Bejoording Target (~35km NE of Gonneville) is underway to test promising ground electromagnetic (EM) conductors and coincident surface geochemical anomalies over an area of ~4km x 1.5km.”
From this, Chalice seems to be pushing the delineation and development of Gonneville and possibly two other areas, and continuing exploration along the Julimar line of strike, and spreading its wings elsewhere. That could very well see the company split in two down the track.
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