THE INSIDE STORY: Two attributes that regularly pay off for junior exploration companies are: the patience to let tenements reveal their spoils; and the tenacity to not let the opportunity to develop them slip away.
Parmelia Resources (ASX: PML) originally acquired the Jaurdi Hills project, located 50 kilometres north-west of Coolgardie in Western Australia, as a potential gold endeavour.
Because of its location close to Coolgardie, all the historic exploration had focused on gold.
In the days of the famous nickel boom CRA Exploration scored some nickel hits in the 1960s, however this was in a different geological horizon and ultra-mafic belt to where Parmelia is currently working.
The 100 per cent-owned project comprises 16 granted Mining Leases, 24 granted Prospecting Licences and one granted Exploration licence covering a total of 85.4 square kilometres.
A systematic review by Parmelia of historical exploration data has highlighted the Dunnsville nickel prospect, located in the north-east of the property, to be of considerable interest.
Parmelia has re-processed and analysed data from a GEOTEM survey conducted over the Jaurdi Hills project in 2004, cursorily mapped surface geology of the Northern and Southern high priority targets, re-interpreted geology of the Jaurdi Ultramafic Belt, collected surface samples from the prospect and digitised data from a rock chip sampling program conducted by CRA Exploration in 1968.
Basically, Parmelia has developed a project by conducting a multi-generational, historic data search that highlighted anomalous nickel in the right sort of geological setting.
Encouraged by early results, Parmelia rolled up its sleeves and went in search of data that could provide more detail about the project.
“Our success so far is due to the exceptionally diligent and detailed work of our geologist, Steve Burke,” Parmelia Resources executive chairman Nigel Gellard told The Resources Roadhouse.
“He has sat down and systematically worked through the historical data.
“It is credit to Steve’s competency he was able to recognise the significance of the smallest piece of information and then begin the long and arduous task of searching through available historical data.
“In some cases data was missing or only available through obscure sources, however he persevered and tracked it down.
“We were fortunate to have the support of the dedicated team at the archives division of the Department of Mines and Petroleum who were able to dig through a number of old boxes until they unearthed some crucial missing data.
“We found the geological setting to be right and thought that was an extremely interesting development.
“As we started to peel back the layers of the onion we found we had the right geological setting and the right nickel anomalism, however we knew we still needed more.
“Our persistence was duly rewarded with the identification of a coincident copper anomaly, a coincident cobalt anomaly, and a coincident platinum and palladium anomaly – all of the right elements an explorer wants to see when trying to identify a nickel-sulphide deposit.
“As we worked through the historical data and started to plot the historic rock chip sampling, soil sampling and programs from various generations of historic exploration work dating back to the 1960s and 1970s, we started to see anomalies for each of these key nickel sulphide pathfinder elements lighting up in exactly the same spot.
“This exciting area is what we refer to as our Southern High Priority Target.”
The historical rock chip sampling program conducted in 1968 by CRA collected 435 rock chip samples as part of a comprehensive nickel-sulphide exploration program over the Jaurdi Hills/Dunnsville area.
Analysis of the results from this program by Parmelia revealed three of the closest samples to the Southern High Priority Target comprise one of two anomaly clusters within the Jaurdi Hills project.
These returned co-incident results of greater than 1000ppm nickel and 300ppm copper.
Subsequent rock chip samples collected by Parmelia from an outcrop at the base of the Jaurdi Ultramafic Belt, 230m from the Southern Target conductivity anomaly, returned further highly anomalous nickel (1358ppm), copper (1849ppm), platinum (194ppb) and palladium (125ppb) results.
The results coincided with a soil geochemistry anomaly at the target and elevated nickel and copper results returned from nearby CRA rock chip results.
Core Geophysics analysed legacy GEOTEM airborne EM survey data, flown in 2004, which identified a late-time (18.6 millisecond) conductivity anomaly coincident with the Southern High Priority Target.
“The most interesting piece of the jigsaw puzzle was yet to come,” Gellard said.
“We discovered the peak historical nickel (1260ppm), copper (315ppm) and cobalt (150ppm) soil sample results returned from the Southern Target are located almost exactly up-dip of the centre of the conductor while elevated PGE (plus-60ppb platinum and palladium) results encircle the anomaly.”
The body is modelled as having a depth to top of 220m below surface, a strike extent of 300m and down-dip extent of 200m.
Early this year Parmelia completed reconnaissance mapping at the Northern High Priority Target, which confirmed the presence of cumulate-textured channel and spinifex-textured sheet-flow facies komatiitic sequence of the type that generally hosts Kambalda-type massive and disseminated nickel-sulphide deposits in the Yilgarn Craton.
As any junior explorer would, Parmelia has been greatly encouraged by its discovery of a possible bedrock conductor down-dip of anomalous nickel, copper, cobalt and PGE soil geochemistry at the Southern High Priority Target.
Its reassessment of historical data to date has been reinforced in terms of the exploration potential of the Dunnsville Nickel prospect with the occurrence of anomalous nickel and nickel-sulphide pathfinder geochemistry in the rock chip samples collected earlier by CRA and most recently by Parmelia near the Southern Target.
Adding further support is the Northern Target, located just outside the GEOTEM survey area offering Parmelia the allure of possibility detecting another conductivity anomaly.
Parmelia recently completed an over-subscribed placement to sophisticated investors to raise $1.1 million.
The funds will be used to progress upcoming exploration programs at Jaurdi Hills, the first of which will be a high-power, deep-penetrating, orientation moving-loop EM survey over the Southern Target conductivity anomaly in order to verify whether its source is bedrock or regolith.
The EM survey is expected to start in the next two to three weeks and if a prospective bedrock conductor is identified then the survey will be expanded to encompass the remainder of the Southern Target.
The Northern High Priority Target will also form part of the survey.
If the ground EM detects bedrock conductors at the Southern and Northern targets then these will be drill-tested immediately by a program of RC or RC pre-collar/diamond tail holes.
All holes will be downhole EM surveyed to test the surrounding rock mass for conductivity responses indicative of near-missed mineralisation regardless of whether nickel-sulphides are intersected.
The company will continue with its historical exploration data compilation, geological mapping and rock chip sampling at Dunnsville in parallel with the proposed ground EM and drilling program.
“We feel there is significant potential at our Dunnsville project and this merits further, more detailed investigation,” Gellard said.
“When you’re getting mineralisation, coincident with geophysical anomalies, coincident with the right geology and surface expression, all of a sudden it starts to look like something pretty interesting and all the arrows are pointing to the same spot.
“You start to get a little bit excited.”
Parmelia Resources Limited (ASX: PML)
…The Short Story
Level 4, 66 Kings Park Road
West Perth WA 6005
Ph: + 61 8 6141 3500
Fax: +61 8 6141 3599
Nigel Gellard (Exec Chairman), Peter Ellery, Jay Stephenson
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