Chalice Gold Mines intersects high-grade Ni-Cu-Pd sulphide at Julimar

Chalice Gold Mines Limited (ASX: CHN, OTCQB: CGMLF) has announced a highly positive update on the maiden RC drilling at its 100%-owned Julimar Nickel-Copper-PGE Project in Western Australia.

The company reported that the first drill hole at the Julimar Project (JRC001) has intersected 19m @ 2.59% Nickel, 1.04% Copper, 8.37g/t Palladium and 1.11g/t Platinum from 48m in fresh rock, including a massive sulphide zone of 13m @ 3.15% Ni, 1.19% Cu, 8.85g/t Pd and 1.09g/t Pt; and, a matrix/stringer sulphide zone of 6m @ 1.39% Ni, 0.72% Cu, 7.33 g/t Pd and 1.16g/t Pt.

The company said that the above zones lie within a broader zone of high-grade palladium mineralisation of 25m @ 2.02% Ni, 0.88% Cu, 8.50g/t Pd and 0.91g/t Pt from 46m. Chalice said that other Platinum Group Element (PGE) and cobalt assays are pending.

CHN notes that the mineralisation is hosted within a lens-shaped, ~2km x 0.5km layered ultramafic-mafic intrusion and remains open in all directions.

The company said that the second drill hole (JRC002), ~900m north-east of JRC001, is underway and has intersected a sequence of intrusive mafic to ultramafic rock-types. The hole is currently ~40m above the target: a 680m x 135m MLEM conductor with a modelled conductance of ~5,300 Siemens.

Chalice reported that it has expanded its regional licence holding significantly with >2,300km2 of new licence applications and is also evaluating potential regional targets on existing granted tenure, due to the significance of the discovery in a relatively new province.

The company reported that, in addition to the RC rig at Julimar, three rigs are continuing to drill at its >5,000km2 Pyramid Hill Gold Project in the Bendigo Region of Victoria.

Julimar project

Chalice’s 100%-owned Julimar Nickel-Copper-PGE Project was staked in early 2018 and is located ~70km north-east of Perth on private land and State Forest.

Chalice had interpreted the possible presence of a mafic-ultramafic layered intrusive complex at Julimar based on high resolution regional magnetics.

The large complex is interpreted to be ~26km long and ~7km wide and is considered highly prospective for nickel, copper and platinum group elements. However, it has never been explored for these metals.

Greenfield exploration program

Chalice had commenced a systematic, regional-scale greenfield exploration program in mid-2019 at Julimar. This included 200m-spaced Moving Loop Electromagnetic (MLEM) with selective 100m infill lines, targeted soil geochemistry over high-priority MLEM conductors, and geological mapping.

Two MLEM conductors were shown to be associated with anomalous nickel-in-soils and preferentially located along the margins of a  ~2km x 0.5km discrete magnetic anomaly interpreted as a potential feeder zone located near the southern extent of the intrusive complex.

Maiden RC drill program

A maiden 4-hole Reverse Circulation (RC) drill program commenced at Julimar in early March 2020 to test these three high-conductance ground MLEM targets, which appear to be associated with the margins of a discrete ‘lens-shaped’ magnetic anomaly.

Hole JRC001

The company reported that hole JRC001 was drilled to a depth of 150m to provide both baseline geology for this poorly exposed intrusive complex and a platform for down-hole EM surveying. CHN reported that JRC001 was drilled to test MLEM Conductor ‘E’, located along the south-west margin of the magnetic anomaly.

The geology comprises serpentinite ultramafic interlayered with gabbro sub-units. The top of fresh rock was intersected at ~29m down-hole.

Hole JRC002

The company reported that the second drill hole (JRC002), ~900m north-east of JRC001, is currently being drilled to test MLEM Conductor ‘A’, located along the north-east margin of the magnetic anomaly. Conductor ‘A’ is modelled as a 680m x 135m plate at a depth of 214m with a conductance of ~5,300 Siemens.

High-grade drill results from JR001

The company announced that JRC001 returned a significant intersection in fresh rock of 19m @ 2.59% Ni, 1.04% Cu, 8.37g/t Pd and 1.11g/t Pt (down-hole width) from 48m, including a massive sulphide zone of 13m @ 3.15% Ni, 1.19% Cu, 8.85g/t Pd and 1.09g/t Pt from 48m; and a matrix/stringer sulphide zone of 6m @ 1.39% Ni, 0.72% Cu, 7.33 g/t Pd and 1.16g/t Pt from 61m.

CHN said that the above massive and matrix/stringer sulphide zones are within a broader zone of disseminated sulphides containing high-grade Pd and elevated Pt, 25m @ 2.02% Ni, 0.88% Cu, 8.50g/t Pd and 0.91g/t Pt from 46m, reported above a 1.0g/t Pd cut-off grade.

The company said that the massive sulphide zone coincides with the interpreted position of Conductor ‘E’, indicating that MLEM has been successful and highly effective at targeting shallow sulphides. Cobalt and other PGE assays are currently pending.

Open in all directions

The company reported that the true width of the mineralised intervals are not known, however MLEM Conductor ‘E’ is modelled as a steep westerly-dipping plate, indicating an interpreted near-true width intersection.

The company said that the MLEM plate has an estimated strike length of ~140m. However, due to the strength of the conductor which masks any response at depth, it has not been possible to model the true depth extent. Therefore, the conductor is considered poorly constrained and the zone is open in all directions.

Pd and Pt intersected

The company said that in addition to the above mineralised zones, JRC001 intersected a zone of highly anomalous Pd and Pt in the weathered zone of 19m @ 1.61g/t Pd and 0.50g/t Pt from 4m, reported above a 0.5g/t Pd cut-off grade.

Drilling at JR002

The company announced that JRC002 is currently at a downhole depth of 184m as of 22 March and has intersected a sequence of intrusive mafic to ultramafic rock-types. Trace to 5% disseminated sulphides has been logged from 87m. The target MLEM plate is modelled at ~40m below the current hole depth and drilling is continuing.

New exploration license applied, new targets

In light of results from JRC001, Chalice said that it has applied for >2,300km2 of new exploration licences in the region to expand its strategic footprint in a potential new nickel-copper-PGE province.

The company said that targets are also being evaluated on Chalice’s Barrabarra Nickel Project, located ~250km north of Julimar, which also hosts an interpreted intrusion complex in a similar geological setting, near the western margin of the Yilgarn craton.

Capital and funding

Chalice said that it remains fully funded to continue its systematic exploration programs in Western Australia and Victoria, with a current working capital and investments balance of ~$23 million (~$0.08 per share) as of 20 March 2020.

What’s next?

The company said that the current program of four RC drill holes will be completed over the coming weeks.

CHN announced that the RC drilling will continue to test the initial three high-priority conductors. The company said that further drilling along strike and down dip may occur at these and other targets depending on results.

The company said that down-hole EM surveying will be carried out within JRC001 to test for off-hole conductors, and reported that subsequent holes will also undergo down-hole EM if required. CHN said that down-hole EM will commence shortly in order to better define the conductors with the aim to provide step-out drill targets as drilling continues.

The company reported that the refinement of MLEM modelling is currently underway based on logged geology and will be updated with down-hole EM as received.

CHN reported that selective samples will be submitted for petrographic analysis to better characterise the host geology and sulphide mineralogy.

Management comments

Chalice’s Managing Director, Alex Dorsch, said: “The very first drill hole targeting nickel-copper and PGEs at Julimar has intersected a thick zone of massive nickel-copper-PGE rich sulphides at a very shallow depth of 48m – an outstanding result and a credit to Chalice’s technical team.

Given the rarity and value of nickel sulphide discoveries, particularly in WA, and the recent all-time high palladium price of more than US$2,800/oz, the result is especially significant.

The lack of nickel-copper-PGE exploration on the surrounding intrusive complex, within an hour’s drive of Perth and close to established infrastructure, is quite extraordinary.

While we are obviously still at a very early stage of exploration at Julimar, the discovery of a shallow high-grade massive sulphide zone within a large layered ultramafic-mafic intrusion is very exciting, as it draws potential parallels with other large-scale nickel-copper-PGE sulphide discoveries worldwide.

We have three more high-priority geophysical targets within the intrusion to test in the current program and down-hole EM surveying will commence in the coming days to define step-out targets. We look forward to receiving and reporting these results.

Chalice remains in a strong financial position, with the funding to continue our systematic exploration programs through the current challenging market conditions.

Our recent success vindicates our corporate strategy of identifying high-potential greenfield gold and nickel exploration opportunities in safe jurisdictions and creating value through discovery.”

Written By Jonathan Norris
Jonathan is a founder of and has been covering the resources industry since 2018. With over 17 years experience in print, broadcast and online media, Jonathan has seen first hand the transformative effect of online niche media.