The East Cooee area sits on the eastern limb of the Cooee Anticline, located 2.7km to the north-northwest of Jan Shaft (historical production of >30,000 tonnes of nickel metal). Lunnon Metals commenced its post IPO exploration programme in this area as it offered the following, high ranking targets:
- the East Trough prospect - interpreted to be present from a handful of historical WMC Resources (“WMC”) drill holes which appeared to have either clipped nickel sulphide mineralisation or intersected highly anomalous komatiite above a potential trough; and
- the East Cooee Hangingwall prospect ("ECO-H/W") - an area of nickel mineralisation to the immediate east northeast of East Trough where previous wide spaced WMC drilling indicated two main surfaces were present above the komatiite-basalt contact, interpreted to be lower grade and continuous over broad distances (approximately 1.0km dip extent by ~350m across strike at the current maximum known extent). These mineralised surfaces sit typically between 30m and 60m above the komatiite-basalt contact and comprise stringer to disseminated nickel sulphides but can include zones of massive nickel sulphides.
This area of the Project is over 2.5km distance from the Foster Nickel Mine (straight line) and between 3.10km to 4.75km when measured along the prospective komatiite-basalt contact (subject to depth on this contact) and as such represents a completely separate mineralised position from the Company’s existing JORC 2012 compliant Mineral Resource of 39,000 nickel tonnes.
In 2021, Lunnon Metals reported success in intersecting nickel sulphides at East Trough (2m @ 5.07% Ni) and shortly thereafter RC drilling also successfully intersected the hanging-wall surfaces and recorded the following significant results:
9.0 metres (8.7 mTW) @ 1.66% Ni from 113 metres (ECO21RC_007), including:
- 1.0 metre @ 7.44% Ni from 113 metres; and
8.0 metres (7.8 mTW) @ 1.31% Ni from 130 metres (ECO21RC_008), including:
- 2.0 metres (1.9 mTW) @ 3.46% Ni from 136 metres.
The Company decided in late 2021 to infill RC drill the ECO-H/W prospect to a better than 40m x 40m spacing, to position it to consider the estimation of an initial Mineral Resource. Drilling was completed ahead of schedule in December 2021 and recorded excellent visual results, as reported to the ASX on 3rd December 2021, including 6m of massive nickel sulphides within 12m of overall nickel minerlisaiton.
Assays for all the RC infill drilling are still pending (as at December 2021).
NOTE: portable field XRF readings support the presence of nickel associated with these visually identified sulphides. In relation to the reporting of visual mineralisation, the Company highlights that visual estimates of sulphide abundance, even when confirmed by portable XRF analysis in the field, cannot be considered a substitute for laboratory analysis. Assay results are required to determine the exact widths and grades of the nickel sulphide mineralisation identified. When these results are available, the Company will provide an update to the market.
Emerging nickel system
The East Cooee area is rapidly developing into a mineralised nickel system with the potential to complement the Company’s existing Mineral Resource of 39,000 tonnes of nickel at the Foster Mine. The East Cooee H/W surfaces are shaping up as a relatively shallow and extensive host of nickel sulphide mineralisation. The area is close to an existing gold open pit (called West Idough) which may offer easy access to any possible future underground development of the prospect. Subject to the success of the infill programme, the timely receipt of the assay results and the outcomes of the initial Mineral Resource estimation exercise, the Company is considering the permitting steps that would be required in the future to consider underground access.
Exploration Target: the East Cooee H/W prospect formed part of the East Cooee Exploration Target reported in the Company’s Prospectus lodged on 11th June 2021. The combined tonnage and grade potential of the Exploration Target was estimated to be in the range of 500 kt to 750 kt with an average grade of 1.25% to 2.5% nickel; the East Cooee H/W surfaces formed the basis of the lower limits of this estimate. Lunnon Metals highlights that the potential quantity and grade of the Exploration Target is conceptual in nature, that prior to these RC drilling programmes, there had been insufficient exploration to estimate a Mineral Resource and it was uncertain if further exploration would result in the estimation of a Mineral Resource.
The programmes completed by Lunnon Metals in 2021 were a key part of the Company’s proposed exploration activities designed to test the validity of the Exploration Target as required under the JORC Code, 2012 Edition.