The Drill Down: Best Nickel Assays of the Year

Best Nickel Assays YTD

The Northern Miner compiled the 10 best nickel results of the year up to Aug. 1, 2023. Drill holes are ranked by nickel grade x width, as identified by data provider Mining Intelligence.

Best Nickel Assays

Western Mines Group’s Mulga Tank

The best nickel drill assay reported in 2023 so far comes from Western Mines Group’s (ASX: WMG) Mulga Tank project in Western Australia. On Feb. 20, the company reported that hole MTD022 cut 474.2 metres grading 0.29% nickel from 84.3 metres depth for a width x grade value of 137.52. According to the company, the hole, along with MTD012, hint at the lateral extent of this system in drill holes approximately 500 metres apart. Western Mines is hoping to find potential broader, richer zones of this mineralization.

The disseminated mineralization seen at depth may represent disseminated cloud sulphides, commonly found above layered formations of massive sulphide deposits. The company has noted several examples of high-tenor remobilized massive nickel sulphide veinlets along the western margin of the complex in holes MTD012, MT013 and MTD022 above the major W Conductor electromagnetic anomaly. A down-hole electromagnetic survey crew is being mobilized to test recent holes MTD022 and MTD023 and look for off-hole conductor anomalies that could signal massive or matrix sulphide mineralization.

Nico Resources at Wingellina

The year’s second-best nickel intercept also comes out of Western Australia, where Nico Resources (ASX: NCI) on Jan. 19 reported that reverse-circulation hole WPRC0760 cut 90 metres grading 1.5% nickel from 0.9 metre depth for a width x grade value of 135 at the Wingellina nickel-cobalt project. The results come from a drilling program completed in October last year comprising 152 holes for 7,856 metres. The program was designed to follow up on work started in 2017 to infill 15 high-grade nickel-cobalt domains delineated from the resource model as potential high-grade starter pits.

More recently, on July 27, Nico said the 2022 drilling program confirmed Wingellina has enough higher-grade material to provide high-grade feed for the first decade of production. The company has started work on a resource update, building on the existing JORC-compliant resource of 182.6 million tonnes grading 0.92% nickel and 0.07% cobalt for 1.7 million tonnes and 127,800 tonnes of metal, respectively.

Nico completed a prefeasibility study for Wingellina in December 2022. Highlights include an after-tax net present value of A$3.3 billion and an internal rate of return of 18% at a capital cost of A$2.9 billion (US$1.95 billion).

Magna Mining at Crean Hill

Ranking third is Canada’s Magna Mining (TSX-V: NICU), which on Jan. 5 reported strong drill intercepts from its Crean Hill brownfields prospect in Ontario’s Sudbury Basin. Hole MCR-22-005 returned 31.1 metres grading 4.04% nickel from 138.4 metres depth for a width x grade value of 125.44.

The company reported at the time that hole MCR-22-005 also intersected two massive sulphide intervals: 5 metres grading 6.5% nickel, 1% copper, 0.5 gram platinum, palladium and gold (3E) per tonne, and 16.1 metres of 5.7% nickel, 0.7% copper and 0.8 gram 3E per tonne. The results were the second set of assays received from the 101 FW Zone, and they demonstrate the continuity of high-grade, massive sulphide mineralization within the footwall breccia zone.

More recently, Magna reported on Aug. 15 that some of the latest assay results confirm a shallow zone of massive sulphides near MCR-22-005. This is one area that the company plans to include as part of the advanced exploration and test mining program in 2024.

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