THE DRILL SERGEANT: Pioneer Resources (ASX: PIO) has started a program of reverse circulation (RC) drilling at the company’s 100 per cent-owned Golden Ridge cobalt project, located on the Blair Dome in Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields.
Pioneer Resources will carry out approximately 30 RC holes for 2,000 metres, however the company indicated additional holes may be drilled should field observations be positive.
The drill samples will be used for bench-scale test work which will focus on the hydrometallurgical extraction of cobalt.
“The drilling program will take approximately two weeks to complete and assays are expected to be to hand by the end of January 2018,” Pioneer Resources said in its ASX announcement.
Pioneer said composite samples of cobalt mineralisation encountered by the drilling will be used for first pass extraction test work.
The company noted the current number of alternative metallurgical processes being developed to treat cobalt and nickel laterite ores.
The targets have been determined from a historical summary of cobalt results Pioneer has established from drill holes completed since 1978, including the GRB-series RAB holes and GRA-series aircore holes it drilled between 2004 and 2015.
“A detailed review of the Golden Ridge drilling database specifically looking for cobalt mineralisation within the project has identified multiple, broad, high-grade zones of high-grade cobalt mineralisation,” Pioneer said.
“To date, the study has identified 11 separate prospects with significant cobalt deposited in the weathered rock mantle (lateritic cobalt).
“The tenor of cobalt values are at least the equivalent of other cobalt-laterites in the Kalgoorlie mineral district.
“The ‘reconnaissance’ drilling completed between 1978 and 2015 demonstrates the presence of widespread cobalt mineralisation, and each target has significant exploration upside to identify extensions to the indicated mineralisation deposits as cobalt-specific drilling proceeds.”