THE East Kimberley – one of the least explored regions of WA – is about to face an all-out assault by junior explorers.
The major focus is gold, nickel or platinum with hopes of finding a smattering of other mineral resources.
Up to 10 companies have built up substantial holdings mainly along the Halls Creek Origin during the past two to five years and now with the metals prices right and subsequent capital flowing in many have begun drilling or are about to commence substantial drilling programs.
The Halls Creek Origin is considered the geological feature with the most potential in the region with at least two nickel deposits discovered there and very recent drilling for platinum and nickel also sparking excitement.
The Sally Malay nickel, copper and cobalt deposit, hosted in the origin, was discovered in 1973 but is only about to be mined now since the development of more modern mining practices.
There is also the Copernicus-Salk deposit to the southeast of Sally Malay, which Phil Crabb’s Thunderlarra Exploration (in joint venture with LionOre International) is confident about. The area’s history can be traced all the way back to the last century when gold was first discovered at Halls Creek in 1882 and the East Kimberley Gold-fields were the first to be proclaimed in WA.
Since then the area was been sporadically mined with limited success due to the remoteness, lack of infrastructure and different geological structures until the nickel boom in 1969.
Following the boom, exploration took off in the area during the 1970s, however, only larger companies or very small operations could afford the high cost related to exploring the remote and rugged region.
While some minerals discoveries were made, it was diamonds, in particular the Argyle AK1 lamproite pipe that made the news.
However, with recent developments in geology and technology since then, some limited mining success with Platinum Australia’s Panton Sill mine and gold mining at Palm springs a ‘pegging boom’ was sparked in the area during 2000.
Now with prices right for most metals the area is rife with junior explorers, some of whom own significant amounts of land in the area, that are going it alone or being backed by some of the bigger mining companies.
Explorers in the area include Navigator Resources, Ashburton Minerals and Ripplesea, Aldershot, Thunderlarra with LionOre International, Sally Malay and the proposed Northen Star float – which Jubilee Mines recently, took a share in.
Most say the region’s mineralisation has significant potential and are confident of major mineral discoveries within the next few years.
Nickel explorers in the area are particularly confident, saying the geological structure has the potential to host similar nickel deposits similar to the giant Canadian Voicey’s Bay nickel discovery.
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