Ardea Resources Limited – Kalgoorlie Nickel Project Goongarrie West Drilling Ionic Clay Rare Earth Discovery
Ardea Resources Limited (Ardea or the Company) is pleased to present an update on the Pre-feasibility Study (PFS), following sterilization drilling results along proposed production well locations. The program is designed to finalize the site layout General Arrangement Plan for the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project (KNP) – Goongarrie Hub.
In addition, the drill was used to test Rare Earth Element (REE) targets previously generated by the company’s critical mineral research and development (R&D) in rocks adjacent to the nickel laterite mineralization. One of two proposed infrastructure sites was at Goongarrie West adjacent to the Goongarrie South Nickel Laterite mineralization southwest of the Elsie Tynan pit. Three single-hole traverses were designed at Goongarrie West as wide-spaced air core drilling over a 3 km NNW strike in a location containing no previous drilling.
These are considered significant intercepts, especially based on such consistent mineralization occurring in 1 km spaced exploration drill holes. Mineralization in the three holes, based on drill chip logging and associated geochemistry, is controlled by regolith contacts, specifically hosted by Saprolite Lower clay at its regolith contact with the underlying clay-weathered Saprock. Interpretation of results indicates that the system is an Ionic Adsorption Clay (IAC) Rare Earth occurrence. As such, the drill intercept grades are considered particularly significant, ruling out Goongarrie West as an infrastructure site option. In view of the drilling results at Goongarrie West and as required by the WA Mines Act 1978, the Department of Mines, Industrial Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has been notified that a discovery of economic importance has been made
Ardea managing director Andrew Penkethman said: ‘The feasibility study for the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project – Goongarrie Hub has completed well optimizations and confirmed the production well locations and therefore likely infrastructure site requirements. The two main infrastructure alternatives were east of the Pamela Jean well, or south-west of Elsie Tynan at Goongarrie West. The necessary drilling was completed in September 2022. With the high grade TREO results returned for the three holes at Goongarrie West, it was an easy decision to commission the Consulting Engineer to establish the key production infrastructure at Pamela Jean East. The Goongarrie West REE Prospect will complete confirmatory reverse circulation drill traverses as soon as possible, followed by bench scale metallurgy designed to quantify the IAC REE potential. This additional drilling is an unexpected variation to the PFS work programs, which is an inevitable if not valuable outcome of the PFS. We trust that KNP stakeholders are as excited as the Ardea team with these REE drilling results.’
The bedrock granodiorite has a very high background of 246 ppm TREO, and is localized within the top of fresh rock (TOFR) regolith profile. Immediately overlying the Saprolite Lower at the Base of Complete Oxidation (BOCO), there is a sharp grade increase to 1,081ppm TREO. Within the extensively studied Kalgoorlie Goldfields supergene gold deposits, the regolith interval between BOCO and TOFR is precisely where regolith-related supergene enrichment occurs. The Goongarrie West REE mineralization closely follows gold enrichment patterns documented in non-ultramafic host rocks. In terms of ultramafic nickel laterite host rocks within the WWF olivine cumulate rocks at the immediate eastern contact of Goongarrie West, the high-grade nickel-cobalt occurs at the contact of Clay Upper and Clay Lower within the regolith profile, called the Enrichment Zone (EZ). The EZ is characterized by high cobalt and manganese (asbolite mineral) and reflects paleo-water table metal enrichment. The Goongarrie West REE enrichment profile therefore corresponds exactly to the WWF nickel laterite enrichment within the immediately adjacent Elsie Tynan and Great Vier proposed pit areas. R&D has long confirmed the KNP EZ has significant REE enrichment, particularly at Kalpini. Intersections at Kalpini include WERC0371: 12m at 1.70% nickel, 0.151% cobalt, 28g/t scandium from 20m with 2,440 ppm TREO and 1,320% Total Rare Metal Oxide (TRMO) which includes titanium (Ti), ztrikon (Zr). niobium (Nb), hafnium (Hf), tantalum (Ta) and tungsten (W) (ASX release 14 March 2022). There can be little doubt that the Goongarrie West REE mineralization is regolith related and due to palaeo-water table metal enrichment. This suggests an ionic adsorbed clay (IAC) genesis for the Goongarrie West mineralization. Confirmation requires bench-scale metallurgy tests to evaluate metal leaching from the clay.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
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About Ardea Resources
Ardea Resources (ASX:ARL) is an ASX-listed nickel and critical mineral resources company, with a large portfolio of 100% owned Western Australian based projects, focused on: * Development of the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project (KNP) and its subset the Goongarrie Hub, a globally significant series of nickel-cobalt and critical mineral deposits that host the largest nickel-cobalt resource in the developed world at 830Mt at 0.71% nickel and 0.046% cobalt for 5.9Mt contained nickel and 380kt contained cobalt (Ardea ASX released 15 February, 16 June 2021), located in a jurisdiction with exemplary Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) credentials, particularly environment. * Advanced stage exploration at compelling nickel sulphide targets, such as Emu Lake, and Critical Minerals targets, including scandium and Rare Earth elements throughout the KNP Eastern Goldfields world-class nickel-gold province, with all exploration targets complementing the KNP nickel development strategy. Ardea’s KNP development with its 5.9 million tonnes of contained nickel is the foundation of the company, with the nickel sulphide exploration, such as Emu Lake, as an evolving contribution to Ardea’s building of a green, forward-looking integrated nickel company. Simply put, in the lithium ion battery (LIB) sector, the battery customers of the electric vehicle and energy storage system demand an ESG compliant, sustainable and ethical supply chain for nickel and other inputs. In the wet tropics, with their characteristic HPAL submarine tailings and rainforest habitat destruction, an acceptable ESG regime is problematic. In contrast, the world-class semi-arid, temperate KNP Great Western Woodlands with its favorable environmental setting is probably the single greatest asset of the KNP. The KNP is located in a well-established mining jurisdiction with absolute geopolitical acceptance and none of the environmental (especially in the tropics), land use and societal conflicts that commonly characterize nickel-laterite proposals elsewhere. All KNP Goongarrie Hub production term is granted on mining leases with native title agreement in place. There are no conflicts of land use as with fully traditional First Nations people or with high value agriculture. The tenure is unencumbered, there are no third party royalty holders other than the legitimate production royalties of the state.