Ongoing drilling at Estrella Resources T5 Zone, near the old Carr Boyd nickel mine north of Kalgoorlie, is providing something of a renaissance in a region where a short-lived nickel-copper mine operated early in the 1970s nickel boom. The company’s project area takes in the mothballed Carr Boyd Rocks nickel mine, which shut decades ago and has seen little serious exploration since that time.
Ongoing drilling at Estrella Resources T5 Zone, near the old Carr Boyd nickel mine north of Kalgoorlie, is providing something of a renaissance in a region where a short-lived nickel-copper mine operated early in the 1970s nickel boom.
Estrella’s project area takes in the shuttered Carr Boyd Rocks nickel mine, which shut decades ago and has seen little serious exploration since that time.
The Carr Boyd nickel mine and the larger neighbouring Scotia mine had been operated by a partnership between the then golden mile miners, Great Boulder and North Kalgurli who were looking to nickel to further their fortunes as the then underground gold mines in Kalgoorlie were struggling or had shut due to the then poor price of the day.
The Scotia mine collapse, which caused the death of a young mine worker from Boulder, resulted in a corporate bunfight between the two companies and Great Boulder eventually ended up in the hands of WMC Resources who had its eye on Great Boulder’s water rights on the Golden Mile.
WMC briefly operated Carr Boyd but mothballed it soon after Scotia shut during a cyclical low for the nickel price. At the time, the retained Carr Boyd resource was reportedly about 500,000 tonnes of nickel at 1.52 per cent nickel and 0.45 per cent copper.
It was determined that the major mine collapse at Scotia was a result of the application of “golden mile mining methods” that created stress for the softer rock structures at Scotia.
Estrella’s targets take in the Carr Boyd Layered Complex which in the 1990s drew the attention of Kalgoorlie-based Defiance Mining which was run by the irrepressible Aiden Keogh.
Keogh had attracted a consultant with a sound background in platinum group metal deposits in South Africa’s famous Bushveld Complex, however, that quest petered out through a lack of capital.
Estrella’s latest reported results which the company described as a “blind hit” were 25 metres away from its discovery hole at T5 and the new find is considered to be still open in all directions.
It takes in 2.5 metres of massive sulphides grading 3.66 per cent nickel, 0.16 per cent copper, 2.09 grams per tonne silver and 0.78 grams per tonne combined gold and PGM, as well as 5.6 5 per cent magnesium oxide.The high-grade massive sulphide hit was contained within another longer 13.9m intercept grading 1.07 per cent nickel, 0.39 per cent copper, 0.06 per cent cobalt, 1.56 g/t gold and PGM, with 10.84 per cent magnesium oxide.
Estrella said that with this latest hole there were more stringers and “blebby sulphides” in the footwall basalts outside of this zone and two more diamond rigs are now working overtime at the project 40m apart on T5 to expand the currently defined mineralisation.
It would appear that Estrella’s 2.5m massive sulphide hit may not have been a fluke either after the company recently tabled another 26m stretch of sulphidic core that would have most geologists flinging their arms around each other. The latest drill core that is peppered with sulphides and looks to be just as prospective for nickel as it is for copper, providing a potential double whammy for the $95 million market capped Estrella.
Estrella has cited the regeneration of interest in magmatic nickel-copper discoveries in Western Australia as a shot in the arm for the nickel industry that is already starting to ride the global electric vehicle wave.
Recent significant examples include Legend Mining’s Rockford deposit near IGO’s big Nova nickel-copper mine in the Albany Fraser Ranges and Chalice Gold Mine’s Julimar palladium-rich Julimar deposit north of Perth.
Both set the market alight and there is little doubt that those same market meercats will be sitting bolt upright in anticipation of Estrella tabling the grades associated with its latest 26m long drill hit.
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