THE CONFERENCE CALLER: Ardea Resources boasts a large portfolio of 100 per cent-controlled West Australian-based projects.
The company’s flagship is the Goongarrie nickel-cobalt project, that forms part of the broader Kalgoorlie nickel-cobalt project in Western Australia.
Ardea claims Goongarrie to be part of the largest nickel-cobalt Resource in the developed world with potential to be a multi-generational mine offering outstanding multi-commodity exposure which includes cobalt, nickel, scandium, vanadium, chromium, aluminium and gold.
Ardea’s other WA projects include Bedonia West, comprising E63/1827 and E63/1828 covering 358 square kilometres to complete Ardea’s coverage of the Jimberlana Dyke west of the existing Bedonia prospect.
Ardea has confirmed previously identified anomalous nickel-copper-PGM soil auger geochemistry is coincident with a specific intrusive phase of the Jimberlana Dyke lopolith.
The Perrinvale E29/1006 covers 175sqkm along the eastern strike continuation of the ‘Cathedrals’ Proterozoic Dyke complex.
The application was based on Ardea recognising lopolith mineralisation controls at Bedonia.
The company hopes to secure similarly endowed lopolith geological settings, as well as the northern strike continuation of the domain boundary Ida Fault hosting the Mt Ida gold mining centre.
Goongarrie is readily global-scale project, which Ardea is developing with the aim of becoming a long-term producer of high-quality nickel-cobalt sulphate.
The project currently hosts a Resource of 773 million tonnes at 0.71 per cent nickel and 0.05 per cent cobalt and offers plenty of upside with only five per cent of the company’s Kalgoorlie nickel-project landholding being factored in to the current resource.
Ardea is positioning Goongarrie to be a supplier of high-purity cobalt and nickel sulphate to the lithium-ion battery to meet the burgeoning demands of the growing automotive electrification, a market expected to account for 14 per cent of new car sales by 2025, whilst the cobalt sulphate market is forecasted to reach US$9.5 billion by 2025.
Increased demand for cobalt sulphate is driven by the higher energy density it provides to both electric vehicle and energy storage system batteries.
A Pre-Feasibility study demonstrated Goongarrie to be a highly valuable development project and Ardea is determined to continue to advance the project toward a final investment decision.
Recent work undertaken close to Goongarrie included rock chip sampling of old workings and sporadic outcropping that confirmed gold mineralisation over an area of at least 400 square metres at the Mulga Plum gold prospect.
The mineralisation encountered is mostly vein-hosted, returning up to 17.1 grams per tonne gold in selective quartz lode material.
All rock types assessed returned an average grade of 1.8g/t gold for all samples taken, which the company interpreted to suggest the presence of bulk tonnage potential within a dominantly granite host.
Ardea is evaluating Mulga Plum as a bulk-tonnage gold system as part of its broader aim to prove up and mine gold from its suite of projects near the Goongarrie project and these results bolstered its confidence in the project to proceed to early stage drill evaluation of the project.
A systematic shallow RC drill program of 26 angled RC holes of 50 to 70m each to define extent and orientation of near-surface gold mineralisation was being planned at the time of writing.
Much of Ardea’s 2019 was focused on the spin out of the company’s New South Wales Lachlan Fold Belt gold-base metal projects into Godolphin Resources (ASX: GRL).
This was completed in December, after which Godolphin’s development focus will be the Lewis Ponds gold-zinc and Mount Aubrey gold projects associated with the Lachlan Transverse Zone (LTZ) of the Lachlan Fold Belt (LFB) in central NSW.
Since its listing in 2017, Ardea quickly became the second largest mineral tenement holder in NSW amassing a dominant land position it acquired through detailed project scale and regional data compilation and analysis.
Work completed by Ardea advanced these NSW projects towards defining four separate JORC Code-compliant mineral resources.
Work programs completed include land-holder access agreements, digitally capturing historic exploration data, geological mapping and soil auger geochemistry, leading to the definition of drill-ready targets across granted Godolphin tenure.
“We understand that different investors in Ardea have preferences for different asset exposure and with the Godolphin spin-out, we can clearly separate the WA Goongarrie nickel cobalt project nickel production opportunity from the New South Wales gold production opportunity with ancillary gold/base metal exploration,” Ardea Resources CEO Andrew Penkethman said.
“This will drive superior value for shareholders in both entities.
The New South Wales assets being in a separate fully independent vehicle will crystallise their value and allow them to be advanced independently of Ardea’s West Australian exploration and development initiatives.”