Lithium Australia joins hunt for nickel-copper-PGE in WA

28/05/2020 - 00:20

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ASX-listed Lithium Australia has formed an alliance with neighbour and fellow ASX-listed explorer, Australian Vanadium and privateer, Mercator Metals to explore for nickel-copper-PGE across contiguous tenements in the hills east of Perth. Lithium Australia said the alliance will target look-alikes to ASX-listed Chalice Gold Mines’ nearby Julimar project where a significant nickel-copper-PGE discovery was made just 29km to the northwest.

ASX-listed Lithium Australia has formed an alliance with neighbour and fellow ASX-listed explorer, Australian Vanadium and privateer, Mercator Metals to explore for nickel-copper-PGE across contiguous tenements in the hills east of Perth.  Lithium Australia said the alliance will target look-alikes to ASX-listed Chalice Gold Mines’ nearby Julimar project where a significant nickel-copper-PGE discovery just 29km to the northwest drove Chalice’s market cap to over $300m.

Collectively, the four tenements, of which Lithium Australia holds two, cover an area that is 29 square kilometres that straddles what is known as the Coates Mafic Intrusive Complex. 

Whilst Lithium Australia and Australian Vanadium are both listed on the ASX, the third party in the alliance, Mercator Metals is actually a related body corporate of Adrian Griffin, the MD of Lithium Australia.

Each party to the strategic alliance will generally be responsible for its own costs and will consider joint exploration activities on their relative merits with geophysical surveys likely to be the next step.  The alliance may also consider a joint sale if there is interest in the future.

The three-way alliance will undertake exploration activities targeting mafic-ultramafic rock sequences containing the Coates Gabbro in the search for base metals and platinum group elements, or “PGE’s”.

PGE minerals are some of the rarest, yet toughest and most corrosion-resistant metals on earth. They include ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, iridium and platinum.  Commodity prices for many of these elements have reached similar stellar heights to the gold price recently and will likely be the key focus of the alliance’s efforts.

Lithium Australia said the geology of the Coates complex was similar to that containing the Julimar project so expectations will be high for the group.

Assays reported back in April for the original JD001 drill hole at Chalice’s Julimar project discovered a knee trembling 19m of massive sulphides grading 8.4g/t palladium, 1.1g/t platinum, 2.6 per cent nickel, 1.0 per cent copper and 0.14 per cent cobalt from only 48m down hole.

A subsequent ‘scissor’ drill hole, JD002, was drilled down plunge of the mineralised zone and returned a huge 75m of massive sulphides, also with terrific  grades of 6.2g/t palladium, 1.7g/t platinum, 1.7 per cent nickel, 0.7 per cent copper and 0.10 per cent cobalt from only 35m.

Lithium Australia Managing Director, Adrian Griffin said: “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.”

Australian Vanadium managing director, Vincent Algar added: “The discovery of Ni- Cu-PGE at the Julimar project has generated a lot of interest in the Western Yilgarn region, and the strategic alliance announced today is intended to streamline exploration processes through seamless and efficient use of personnel and capital.”

 

Is your ASX listed company doing something interesting ? Contact : matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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