Wiluna Mining Corporation’s 1,600km² tenure in the prolific Agnew-Wiluna greenstone belt comprises 40km of strike extent of the Perseverance ultramafic sequence that is prospective for nickel-cobalt-Platinum Group Elements (Ni-Co-PGE). Wiluna Mining owns 100% of the mineral rights to Ni-Co-PGE sulphides in the project tenure.
The Agnew-Wiluna greenstone belt hosts world-class Ni-Co sulphide and laterite deposits including Honeymoon Well (BHP Ltd), Mount Keith (BHP Ltd) and Cosmos (Western Areas Ltd), all located in the southern Agnew part of the ultramafic belt where BHP Ltd holds a dominant position.
The northern ultramafics at Wiluna historically have not yielded the same number of economic discoveries. However, in 1995 Ni sulphide and PGE mineralisation was drilled at Bodkin prospect with grades up to 2m @ 2.15% Ni + 1g/t PGE. This discovery was followed up in 2005 with a scissor diamond hole which intersected 0.3m @ 6.64% Ni, within a thermally eroded footwall basalt unit that is surrounded by an extensive zone of disseminated sulphide over 200m wide and up to 10m thick. This was the first recorded massive sulphide occurrence in the Wiluna ultramafics and greatly enhances the prospectivity of the immediate Bodkin area and the ultramafic stratigraphy of the wider Wiluna district.
At Longbow prospect, the interpretation of geophysical magnetic features as being prospective komatiitic flows within a package of basalts and sulphidic sediments led to the recognition of potential Kambalda-style deposits. Elevated Ni up to 32m @ 0.45% Ni including 12m @ 0.66% Ni is associated with disseminated pyrrhotite-bearing magmatic sulphides.
At Airport prospect, a continuous PGE reef occurs with 1km strike extent containing best intercepts of 8m @ 1.09g/t PGE, 2m @ 2.47g/t PGE with 0.19% Ni, and 8m @ 1.09g/t PGE.
In 2006, Independence Group Ltd joint ventured into the project, and in 2007 drilled 1m @ 6.38% Ni + 0.25g/t PGE, 1m @ 2.67% Ni + 0.14g/t PGE, and 0.25m @ 1.11% Ni + 0.57g/t PGE at Bodkin. Despite the presence of numerous Ni sulphide occurrences, with the onset of the Global Financial Crisis in 2009 Independence Group withdrew from the joint venture, ownership of the project changed hands several times and no further exploration has since been undertaken.
The discovery of nickel-cobalt sulphides and anomalous platinum group elements at Wiluna confirms the fertility of the ultramafic rocks, and recent advances in geophysical exploration technology allow explorers to search more effectively for buried deposits. Ground-based and down-hole EM has successfully delineated known Ni sulphide deposits and further targets remain to be drilled along the prospective stratigraphy. The strike extent of known high-grade Ni sulphide mineralisation at Bodkin remains to be further tested.
In December 2018, WMC entered a Farm-in and Joint Venture agreement with A-Cap Energy Ltd (ASX: ACB) to explore and develop laterite deposits of nickel, cobalt and associated metals of the Wiluna Nickel-Cobalt Project (Wilconi Project).
A-Cap is currently advancing a Definitive Feasibility Study into development of a Ni-Co laterite operation to supply critical materials to the global electric vehicle market, taking advantage of new materials processing and refinery technologies in production of cobalt and nickel sulphates products used directly in battery manufacture.
In September 2019, A-Cap Energy updated the laterite geological and resource Estimate to 78.8Mt @ 0.74% Ni and 0.07 % Co, including a high-grade Co zone of 29Mt @ 0.11% Co. Significant opportunities exist to expand and upgrade the resource from Inferred to Indicated category with further drilling underway in 2021.
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