Niggling and nagging but nickel not indispensable

Nickel is proving divisive with politicians arguing over the effectiveness of implementing safeguard mechanisms to prop up the ailing metal.

However, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA (CME) welcomes the Western Australian state government taking on board its recommendation for a nickel royalty relief package with the launch of its Nickel Financial Assistance Program.

Western Australian Premier Roger Cook compares the need to support the nickel industry to subsidies given to Australia’s now defunct car industry.

Resources Minister Madeline King says the federal government will put nickel on the critical minerals list, in a move enabling nickel miners to apply to access a $4 billion fund.

The recent announcements come after mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP) reported it was considering mothballing its Nickel West division, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

Since September last year, 5 nickel mines have closed taking 33% of domestic production offline, with another 31% of production at risk.

Some 10,000 jobs are supported by Australia’s nickel industry, 99% of which are in Western Australia. About $1.8 billion of direct economic activity is generated from the country’s nickel industry.

As Mining.com.au reported yesterday, despite the current woes Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is “quite confident” the government can save Western Australia’s nickel industry before it’s lights out for other mining operations. 

A February report prepared by Mandala and commissioned by the CME titled A Critical Juncture: Australia’s Opportunities and Challenges in Nickel, outlines there has been a 51% decline in nickel prices since 2022 as supply has significantly increased due to output from the largest producer in the world, Indonesia.

The reports notes that Australia is well placed to capture growing opportunities in nickel with 9% growth forecasted annually up to 2030 due to demand for EVs and energy storage systems.

Australia plays a pivotal role in the world’s nickel market in which 18% of global reserves of the metal are currently situated in the country. About 6 times fewer emissions are produced from refining Australian nickel relative to other countries, including Indonesia, China, and Brazil.

Today, Indonesia accounts for nearly half (49%) of global nickel production, while Australia only accounts for 5%. Recent investments from China have enabled Indonesia to produce significantly cheaper nickel at scale from laterite deposits, placing Australia at a 28 per cent cost disadvantage.

Critical juncture

The Critical Juncture report notes that rapid increase in cheap Indonesian nickel has coincided with lower-than-expected demand for battery minerals due to global electric vehicle sales falling 3 per cent short of forecasts in 2023.

Western Australian nickel producers are also facing growing cost pressures. This is primarily in the form of higher labour costs, which account for a significant portion of overall production costs.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA says the government’s measures are promising and will go a long way to sustaining the state’s nickel industry in particular.

CME Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Tomkinson says the Nickel Financial Assistance Program highlights an understanding of the importance of nickel to the critical minerals aspirations of downstream processing.

“CME has made it very clear that targeted and evidence-based government support such as temporary royalty relief makes sense for the nickel sector in the near-term, given the significance of the industry to local employment, the economy, and our national strategic interests.

Battery minerals represent a strategically important sector for the state and we need to ensure we have a solution for the short- and mid-term, as well as settings that ensure viability and sustainability in the longer term.”

Tomkinson says removing inefficient government processes and delivering competitive fiscal settings will be needed to attract investment in Australia’s battery and critical minerals industry and achieve 2030 and 2050 decarbonisation targets.

Nickel is a key material required in battery manufacturing, specifically cathode and cell production. Without a domestic nickel industry, there are fears Australia will miss out on significant opportunities in the global battery value chain.

Recent studies have estimated these opportunities could be worth up to $17 billion in economic activity and 61,400 jobs for the nation.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Managing Editor Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Adam has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.

Widgie posts another WA nickel resource update

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) has posted yet another resource update for its Western Australia project portfolio, this time from the Widgie Townsite zone within its Widgie South project.

It’s the fourth of 6 planned resource updates from within the wider Mt Edwards area, which is home to Widgie South, and precedes a planned Scoping Study for the region.

Widgie says with Widgie Townsite mineral resource estimate (MRE) now stands at 2.5 million tonnes @ 1.53% nickel for 38,260 tonnes of contained nickel, with 69% of the metal now classified in the ‘indicated’ category — an increase of 32% compared to the previous 2021 MRE update for the area.

However, Widgie’s new update represents a small dip in overall contained metal compared to the previous resource, which was reported in June 2021 at 2.47Mt @ 1.6% nickel for 39,300 tonnes of contained nickel.

Nevertheless, the Widgie Townsite MRE now includes platinum, palladium, and gold (3PGE), equating to 6,350 ounces of gold, 7,965 ounces of platinum, and 16,650 ounces of palladium. 

Widgie Nickel’s latest MRE update means that 71% of the total contained nickel at the Widgie South project area now sits in the ‘indicated’ category, and it brings the total Mt Edwards Nickel Resource to 190,300 tonnes of contained nickel.

Managing Director and CEO Steve Norregaard says while nickel grades have been ‘marginally reduced’ with this latest MRE update, the company is now ‘better armed with no surprises in store’ and an underlying mining rationale for its Scoping Study to accommodate ‘all possible scenarios’. 

A modest reduction in overall contained metal is evidence of the rigour and the drilling effort we have put into Widgie Townsite to get it right!

Alongside Gillett and WIdgie 3, over 90,000 tonnes of nickel metal is now defined, which will underpin a restart of mining at Mt Edwards.”

“A modest reduction in overall contained metal is evidence of the rigour and the drilling effort we have put into Widgie Townsite to get it right!”

Norregaard adds that Widgie’s 12 resources near to each other make for a ‘wonderful opportunity’ to build a long-life, low-risk mining operation in the medium term. 

Widgie Nickel is in the process of completing its Scoping Study for the Widgie South project, which will explore a multi-mine operation to support a standalone nickel concentrator. 

The company says while this MRE update will inform the pending study, additional drilling will be required to convert any areas of outstanding lower-confidence ‘inferred’ material into the indicated category.

This will subsequently allow for the conversion of this material into a mining reserve, and Widgie says further drilling at depth below existing mineralisation represents an ‘excellent’ high-confidence target to add additional resources. 

The Mt Edwards project comprises the Widgie South, Widgie North, Widgie West, and Lake Eaton-Mt Eaton regions. 

Widgie Nickel had around $6.1 million cash and cash equivalents at hand as of 30 September, according to its latest quarterly report. 

Write to Joshua Smith at Mining.com.au

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Joshua Smith has years of experience in the media sector, having worked as a markets reporter, features writer, and editor since completing a Communications and Journalism degree and a Creative Writing degree. Josh is an avid board game fan and a self-professed coffee snob.

Widgie Nickel assessing Mt Edwards pegmatite occurrences

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) is conducting an assessment of all pegmatite occurrences within its Mt Edwards Project in Western Australia, upon identifying multiple lithium targets on its tenure. 

The $31.28 million market capitalisation company is undertaking field inspections and sampling across all areas within the project to test the pegmatites for lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) affinity and lithium prospectivity. 

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Norregaard says the company has taken its lithium exploration up a notch this year, focusing on additional compelling targets across its tenement package. 

“Our expanded exploration focus for lithium will test potential extensions to our existing lithium resource, test all the known LCT pegmatite trends, and assess all our tenure for significant pegmatite occurrences.”

The company notes there is a long history of intensive gold and nickel exploration in the Widgiemooltha area, which has resulted in many thousands of drillholes and extensive surface mapping over the entire Mt Edwards project area. 

Much of the historical exploration logs and data relating to Mt Edwards are retained onsite. Widgie is conducting a search of all drill logs, sampling and mapping data to uncover pegmatite occurrences. 

At the Faraday and Trainline deposits, Widgie says no systematic exploration for LCT pegmatites has taken place over the covered trend, nor has deeper drilling assessed the down-dip extent of the Faraday-Trainline mineralisation. 

Widgie is currently planning drilling programs to test the covered northern trend and the down dip extension to the known mineralisation. Drilling will start once approvals are in place. 

At the Voyager deposit, Widgie’s existing drilling and field reconnaissance shows the pegmatites remain open to the north and at depth. Limited sampling and drilling have taken place. 

Field mapping and sampling of this area is underway, with the aim to establish the full extent of the mineralised LCT pegmatites leading to thorough drill testing of this area. 

Meanwhile, at the Spargoville pegmatite trend, the company had uncovered extensive pegmatite outcrops. Field teams are mapping and sampling the pegmatite to assess the lithium prospectivity over the entire prospect area. 

Norregaard adds: “The Widgiemooltha tenements lie in a fertile corridor with established lithium resources and mines nearby at Mt Marion, Bald Hill, and Pioneer Dome. The district is a hot target currently and is experiencing intense lithium exploration activity with the recent initial public offer of Kali Metals (ASX:KM1) and exploration by near neighbour Maximus Resources (ASX:MXR) amongst others.”

Widgie’s wholly owned Mt Edwards project covers a 240km-square area and is considered to be ‘highly prospective’ for nickel and new economy metal prospects. 

As of 30 September 2023, the company had $6.082 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au    

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Widgie Nickel improves grade ahead of Scoping Study

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) has updated its Widgie 3 nickel deposit’s Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) which is expected to inform a pending Scoping Study for a multi-mine operation to support a standalone nickel concentrator. 

The $31.28 million market capitalisation company reports the deposit’s MRE now stands at 734,000 tonnes @ 1.53% nickel for 11,200 nickel tonnes, representing 70% of the MRE classified as indicated. 

Further, the MRE represents a 14% increase in nickel grade, with a ‘significant’ reduction in constrained arsenic versus the 2018 MRE. 

Widgie notes that the latest MRE includes palladium (Pd) + platinum (Pt) + gold (Au) (3PGE), with 0.14 grams per tonne (g/t) Au, 0.19g/t Pt, and 0.45g/t Pd for 0.78g/t 3PGE. 

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Norregaard says the company now has 70% in the indicated category, which ‘greatly’ improves Widgie’s confidence as it feeds into the Scoping Study. 

“Importantly, we have also seen an improvement in nickel grade, a reduction in arsenic grade and inclusion of notable by-product credits. 

This is a great outcome with ample opportunities to increase the resource clearly evident. Widgie 3 is now another high-quality resource in the company’s portfolio, cementing the positive prospects for the upcoming Scoping Study. 

Widgie’s unique assemblage of 12 resources in close proximity make for a wonderful opportunity to build a long life, high confidence, low-risk mining operation in the medium term.”

Privately held company Cube Consulting completed the MRE, which has been reported above a cut-off grade of 0.7% nickel. 

The Widgie 3 deposit is part of the Mt Edwards Project in Western Australia.

Widgie Nickel’s total nickel mineral resource inventory now stands at 13.14Mt at 1.46% Ni for 191,340 tonnes of nickel. The Widgie South Project area (Widgie 3, Gillett and Widgie Townsite deposits) contains 6.35Mt at 1.44% Ni for 91,270t of nickel with 63% of resources at Widgie South classified as Indicated. 

All Mineral Resources except for Widgie 3, Gillett and Armstrong have been reported at a 1% Ni cut-off grade. The Mt Edwards Nickel Project Scoping Study currently underway supports a revised lower cut-off grade of 0.7% Ni which will be used for all forthcoming nickel resource estimate updates. 

 Mt Edwards’ total nickel resource is now 191,340 tonnes of contained nickel. 

Widgie Nickel is a critical and battery mineral explorer that holds a vast 240km-square package of granted mining leases inside the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. 

As of 30 September 2023, the company had $6.082 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au  

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Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Widgie Nickel uplifts Gillett MRE by 75%

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) has increased the Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for its Gillett nickel deposit in Western Australia by 75% in total contained nickel versus the 2023 MRE. 

The $26.51 million market capitalisation company reports the total resource for Gillett now stands at 3.14 million tonnes @ 1.30% nickel for 40,770 nickel tonnes, with 72% of the MRE now within the indicated resource category. 

Privately held company Cube Consulting completed the MRE which has been reported above a cut-off grade of 0.7% nickel. 

Widgie Nickel Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Norregaard says the Gillett deposit is now the ‘largest, highest confidence resource’ in the company’s asset portfolio.

“This substantial upgrade will feed into our Scoping Study, leading to increased mine life and will importantly defer capital requirements as we can now clearly see a longer life start up in the Widgie South area.”

According to Widgie, the latest MRE update is expected to inform the pending Scoping Study for a multi-mine operation to support a standalone nickel concentrator. 

The company says a ‘favourable’ outcome of the study will require further drilling to convert any areas of outstanding lower confidence inferred material to indicated. This allows for subsequent conversion of this material into a mining reserve upon confirming economic viability. 

The Mt Edwards Project’s total nickel resource has now grown to 189,300 tonnes of contained nickel. 

Widgie Nickel is a mineral explorer with a vast 240km-square package of granted mining leases that sit within the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. The company’s assets are considered prospective for critical minerals, lithium, and nickel. 

As of 30 September 2023, the company had $6.082 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au     

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Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Widgie delays Mt Edwards Scoping Study amid resource updates

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) has delayed a Scoping Study for its Mt Edwards Nickel Project to February 2024 as it updates the Mineral Resource Estimates (MREs) for its Widgie 3 and Gillett deposits. 

The $29.79 million market capitalisation company says the draft of the Scoping Study is essentially complete, but it plans to first update the MREs for the 2 to increase the proportion of indicated material in the early years of the mine plan.

The increased confidence Scoping Study is expected to provide the foundation for Widgie to move forward towards the completion of a Prefeasibility Study during 2024. 

Widgie Nickel Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Norregaard says the Scoping Study delay is frustrating yet necessary to increase the level of high-confidence material in the early years. 

“We knew during the process that a Widgie 3 and Gillett resource update would come soon after the Scoping Study release, with 3 further resource upgrades thereafter. Further, there are an additional 5 deposits at Mt Edwards that aren’t considered in the study. 

The work completed to date on the Scoping study is extremely comprehensive for this level of study and should demonstrate that Widgie is in a unique position, with its resource base able to support a standalone processing option — the envy of many of our peers.”

Further, Widgie says its recent 375% increase in lithium mineral resources underscores the potential for the company’s lithium endowment, and there remains ample further upside potential both at Faraday-Trainline and across its wider tenure. 

Norregaard says the company is still in active discussions with potential partners, although Widgie is ‘very cognisant’ of current conditions in the lithium market.

Widgie Nickel holds 240km-square of granted mining tenure across the ‘highly prolific’ Widgiemooltha Dome with exposure to nickel and lithium. 

As of 30 September 2023, the company had $6.082 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au   

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Widgie seeks to release updated MRE Q1 2024

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) is looking to release an updated Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) in early 2024 at the 132N nickel deposit, which forms part of its Mt Edwards Project in Western Australia.

The $47.67 million market capitalisation company has released results from a completed infill drilling program that demonstrate nickel grades of up to 25.95% and confirm ‘ultra high-grade’ pods defined within mineralised channel flows. 

Widgie Nickel reports mineralisation is open at depth and the structure’s lower channel flank remains unconstrained. 

The company notes that ‘favourable’ mineralogy with high nickel-to-sulphur ratios will complement its wider resource base.  

Widgie confirms geological modelling is underway alongside the updated MRE. This work is expected to be completed in early 2024. 

Widgie Nickel Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Norregaard says these ‘high grades’ highlight opportunities for future resource growth, which in turn could demonstrate a continuous and sustainable standalone mining operation is possible. 

The company’s 132N deposit sits 6km northwest of the township of Widgiemooltha and can be accessed via the Coolgardie-Esperance Highway. The deposit forms part of the company’s greater Mt Edwards Project, which covers a landholding of 240km-square. 

As of 30 September 2023, Widgie Nickel had $6.082 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

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Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.

Widgie Nickel set to begin Faraday works

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) is set to proceed mining following the finalisation of the botanical and cultural heritage surveys completed at the Faraday Lithium Project in Western Australia. 

The $56.60 million market capitalisation company has now satisfied the conditions necessary to begin mining works, with no issues of note affecting the planned development unearthed in either survey. 

Confirmatory QAQC testwork instigated by Widgie has demonstrated the assay method utilised for a program of drilling that previously informed the Mineral Resource Estimate (MR) has underestimated the grade by up to 29%. 

All samples from the program are now being re-assayed using the fusion assay method, with the results to feed into an updated MRE. 

Widgie expects an updated MRE, which will increase through a materially ‘higher grade’ at its Faraday project, alongside the addition of the Trainline prospect to the north. 

The Faraday Lithium Project is located near the Widgiemooltha townsite in Western Australia. 

Subsequent to this announcement, the company’s share price closed trade 7.84% higher yesterday (27 September). 

Commenting on the ongoing activities, Widgie Nickel Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Norregaard says: “The company has now concluded within 12 months all the components necessary to commence a new lithium mine in Western Australia, this despite delays and a series of unforeseen hurdles. 

With confirmed favourable metallurgy, an expected MRE increase and further potential growth at the Trainline prospect, we believe we have a successful foundation as we embark on our lithium journey

Whilst the assay methodology issue is unfortunate, I commend our team for identifying the issue and working diligently to rectify the situation. We will now progress the MRE revision that we expect will see the resource grade increase materially. 

With confirmed favourable metallurgy, an expected MRE increase and further potential growth at the Trainline prospect, we believe we have a successful foundation as we embark on our lithium journey.”

Widgie Nickel is a battery minerals focused company, which holds a ‘unique’ consolidation of a vast 240km-square package of ‘highly prospective’ nickel and new economy metal prospects within the prolific Eastern Goldfield nickel sulphide belt. 

As of 30 June 2023, the company had $11.8 million cash at hand, according to its latest quarterly report. 

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au     

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Widgie Nickel hits massive sulphide at 132N

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) has received assay results from a resource infill drill program that struck ‘exceptionally high-grade’ nickel mineralisation at the 132N deposit in Western Australia. 

The $58.01 million market capitalisation company reports drillhole 23MERCD112 intercepted 9.14m @ 10.44% nickel (Ni), 0.75% copper (Cu), 0.13% cobalt (Co), 1.93g/t platinum group elements (3PGE) from 330m, including 2.61m @ 18.88% Ni, 0.48% Cu, 0.23% Co, 0.65g/t 3PGE from 335.44m.

Commenting on the assays, Widgie Nickel Managing Director Steve Norregaard says: “Widgie attracted great interest with the core sample displayed at our Diggers booth this year for good reason. 

We are delighted to share the assay results for 23MERCD112 validating portable XRF readings announced on 11 August 2023. This hole drilled through the lower zone of the current 132N resource shape confirms the presence of exceptionally high-grade mineralisation.”

Widgie attracted great interest with the core sample displayed at our Diggers booth this year for good reason

The company notes the nickel sulphide mineralisation plunges to the north at the deposit. Generally, the massive sulphide mineralisation is found upon the basal contact where it grades into disseminated sulphides within the ultramafic hanging wall. 

According to Widgie, the results from drillhole 23MERCD112 show the potential of the deposit to deliver thick, ‘ultra high-grade’ nickel mineralisation. 

The remainder of the 132N resource definition drilling program assays are being processed, with results expected in October. 

132N is located 6km northwest of the Widgiemooltha township in Western Australia. 

Widgie Nickel is a nickel explorer with a ‘unique’ consolidation of a vast 240km-square package within the Eastern Goldfields nickel sulphide belt. 

As of 30 June 2023, the company had $11.845 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au  

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Widgie confirms ‘significant’ nickel at namesake project

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) has received ‘significant’ nickel mineralisation intercepts from a recent diamond drilling infill program conducted at the Widgie 3 system, within the Widgie South project in Western Australia.

The $58 million market capitalisation company reports the results confirmed thick intercepts of ‘high-grade’ nickel (Ni) sulphide and platinum group elements (PGE) mineralisation. 

Mineralisation remains open at depth with increasing grade interpreted down plunge. 

The drilling results received to date will facilitate a resource update with increased resource confidence. 

Widgie reports ‘notable’ nickel intercepts recorded include drillhole 23MERCD073 with 15.47m @ 3.17% Ni, 0.27% copper (Cu), 0.04% cobalt (Co), 1.51g/t 3PGE from 301m, including 6.81m @ 5.92% Ni, 0.50% Cu, 0.07% Co, 2.58g/t 3PGE from 309.66m.

Commenting on the drill results, Widgie Nickel Managing Director Steve Norregaard says: “These exceptional results from Widgie 3 resource definition drilling continue to point towards a robust Widgie 3 resource upgrade and in turn more favourable underlying economics. 

Considering the deepest drilling in this phase confirms mineralisation to only a very shallow 300m below surface we can look forward to the upcoming Widgie 3 resource update with further resource growth if warranted on the horizon

Considering the deepest drilling in this phase confirms mineralisation to only a very shallow 300m below surface we can look forward to the upcoming Widgie 3 resource update with further resource growth if warranted on the horizon. 

This all feeds into our plan to incorporate the Widgie South deposits into a Scoping Study with the aim of becoming a major sulphide nickel producer.”

Widgie adds that the resource infill results have increased the confidence within the Widgie 3 resource. Drill results returned this year will be included in the 2023 Widgie 3 Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) due to begin in October this year. 

The Widgie South Project comprises Widgie 3, Widgie Townsite, Gillett, and Gillett North, and is considered a ‘key’ mining centre within the company’s nickel portfolio. 

A Scoping Study is currently underway, incorporating the Widgie South deposits. 

Widgie Nickel is an ASX-listed explorer, with a unique consolidation of a vast 240km-square package of ‘highly prospective’ nickel and new economy metal prospects, within the prolific Eastern Goldfields nickel sulphide belt. 

As of 30 June 2023, the company had $11.8 million cash at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au    

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Widgie Nickel achieves 81% lithium recovery at Faraday Project in WA

Critical metals explorer Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) has achieved 81% lithium recovery to a 6.3% lithium oxide concentrate through flowsheet development testwork at its Faraday Lithium Project in Western Australia.

The $71.4 million market capitalisation company reports further metallurgical and process flowsheet development testwork was undertaken at ALS Metallurgy in Perth using a 1.01% lithium oxide composite sample prepared from a diamond drillcore. This drillcore is considered indicative of the ‘higher-grade’ sections of the known Faraday mineralisation.

Widgie says the program design was guided by testing methods to simulate potential treatment options at existing concentrators with the aim of developing a bespoke process.

A composite sample made up of 90kg of half PQ diamond core was used in the program, which included size by assay analysis, heavy liquid separation (HLS) testing, trials with a multi-gravity separator (MGS) and grinding, low-intensity magnetic separation (LIMS), and de-slime and flotation testwork.

The company says a feature of the preliminary testwork to date has been the ‘consistently good’ quality of lithium concentrate produced through HLS testing of size fractions between 1mm and 10mm. The results for HLSs at 2.9 and 3 SG demonstrate lithium grades of the sinks are expressed by lithium oxide grades ranging from 6.5% to 7.2%, with iron content consistently below 1.15% Fe2O3.

Total alkalis including sodium superoxide and potassium oxide have been assayed for only the ‘higher-grade’ composites and returned less than 1.1%. Coupled with the coarse size of the concentrates, Widgie says these outcomes are ‘desirable’ properties for potential offtakers.

Widgie now reports it intends to further develop its ‘promising’ flowsheet and test samples representing a range of lithium grades that are reflective of the overall mineralisation. Rubidium assays will be tracked in this work to consider the case for mineralogical assessment and concentration testwork.

The company also notes it is continuing to progress final offtake discussions for Faraday after lodging a mining proposal with the Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) in May 2023.

Commenting on the metallurgical testwork results, Widgie Nickel Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director Steve Norregaard says: “This excellent metallurgical response confirms the favourable mineralogy of Faraday mineralisation and is an important further step in the commercialisation of this valuable resource.

Grade is one thing, but the ability to easily liberate the desired lithium mineral from your ore is as important”

Grade is one thing, but the ability to easily liberate the desired lithium mineral from your ore is as important. Widgie is increasingly confident of generating significant value from Faraday.

Our eyes are currently fixed on the short-term DSO opportunity, and these results will verify our discussions with DSO offtake partners while also informing longer-term potential.”

Widgie Nickel is a Perth-based critical metals explorer focused on its Mt Edwards, Widgie South, Widgie North, Widgie West, Lake Eaton-Mt Eaton, and Faraday-Trainline projects in Western Australia. According to its latest quarterly report published on 31 July 2023, the company had $11.845 million cash and cash equivalents at hand as of 30 June 2023.

Write to Harry Mulholland at Mining.com.au

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Hailing from the Central Coast region of NSW, Harry is a passionate journalist with a background in print, radio and ESG news. When not bashing away on his keyboard, he can be found brewing a coffee or playing with his dog.

Widgie Nickel unearths new lithium prospect dubbed ‘Trainline’ in WA

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) has unearthed a new lithium prospect dubbed the Trainline through exploration drilling in Western Australia. 

Drilling conducted north of the historic Coolgardie-to-Esperance train line has delineated a barren dolerite intrusive that truncates the pegmatite body to the north and south. 

The company says the lithium-bearing pegmatite intersected north of the dolerite intrusive has given rise to the new Trainline lithium prospect, which returned ‘high-grade’ results including drillhole 23MERC118 with 4m @ 1.19% Li2O from 22m. 

Widgie Nickel adds that further work and infill drilling is required to fully comprehend the geometry and nature of the LCT pegmatite at Trainline. 

Additionally, the company has defined lithium mineralisation at depth at its Faraday deposit.

A reverse circulation (RC) drilling campaign was completed to the north of the Faraday deposit. The down-dip extensional drilling confirmed the continuity of the main Faraday westerly dipping lithium-bearing pegmatite. 

Further infill drilling down dip is required at Faraday to expand the boundaries of mineralisation and in turn inform an updated Mineral Resource Estimate, with the potential inclusion of further mineralisation at Trainline.

Commenting on this new discovery, Widgie Nickel Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director Steve Norregaard says: Widgie’s lithium endowment shows it has exceptional growth potential, with wide-spaced intercepts at Trainline showing excellent promise in addition to the expanding Faraday deposit. 

“Our next steps will be to infill Trainline and the Faraday down-dip extensions”

Our next steps will be to infill Trainline and the Faraday down-dip extensions. Ongoing evaluations of offtake partnership options are nearing a logical conclusion, with interest levels high. 

The Faraday-Trainline Lithium Project has all the hallmarks of a very low-cost development able to be commercialised in the very near term.”

Widgie says it is nearing the conclusion of offtake discussions and expects to announce a partnership structure in the near future. 

The Faraday-Trainline Lithium Project area is located on mining lease M15/102, 4km west-northwest of the Widgiemooltha townsite. The mineralisation at the project is hosted within lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatites associated with fractionated late-stage granitic intrusions. 

Faraday and Trainline are central to the company’s Mt Edwards Project, which covers a ‘significant’ landholding within the lithium corridor between Marion to the north and Pioneer Dome to the south. 

Widgie Nickel holds a ‘vast’ 240km-square package of ‘highly prospective’ nickel and new-economy metal prospects within the prolific Eastern Goldfield nickel sulphide belt. 

As of the end of March 2023, Widgie Nickel had $4.697 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au

Images: Widgie Nickel Ltd
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.

Widgie Nickel plans for updated MRE of Munda nickel deposit, WA

Widgie Nickel (ASX:WIN) is planning to update the Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of its Munda nickel deposit within the Mt Edwards Project in Western Australia.

The company reports drill data from the area will be compiled to complete the MRE update in the second half of 2023 to assist with future resource and further exploration drilling.

Munda’s current mineral resource stands at 320,000 tonnes @ 2.2% Ni for 7,040 tonnes of contained nickel. 

This news comes after the company reported assays from its recently completed drilling campaign at Munda. 

Some of the ‘high-grade’ nickel mineralisation intercepts include hole MEDD026 with 12.46m @ 2.05% Ni from 329.6m, including 6.06m @ 3.20% Ni from 336m; hole MERC163 with 1m @ 4.35% Ni from 59m; and hole MERC167 with 6.12m @ 4.39% Ni from 246.25m, including 2.55m @ 7.08% Ni from 249.45m. 

Commenting on the drill results, Widgie Nickel Managing Director Steve Norregaard says: “As one of the initial resources identified for upgrading in confidence, I am encouraged by these results.

Tightening up our understanding of the mineralisation removes uncertainty and in the case of these results has provided a new geological interpretation”

Tightening up our understanding of the mineralisation removes uncertainty and in the case of these results has provided a new geological interpretation, which alludes to the opportunity for resource growth.”

The company reports the Munda infill drilling will help increase its confidence in the future resource re-estimate, enhancing the proportion of indicated resources at the deposit for future economic studies.

Munda remains open at depth, and exploration ‘success’ in hole MERC259 200m to the east of the M4 mineralised shoot unlocks a ‘significant’ search space for further Munda-style mineralisation shoots to be uncovered. 

Additionally, the company notes further work is required to fully understand the context of hole MERC259 mineralisation and its extents.

Widgie Nickel sees the Munda deposit as a complementary satellite operation to the proposed Widgie South and Armstrong mining centres, which are both currently the subject of feasibility studies. 

Munda has ‘high-tenor’ mineralisation and ‘low’ contaminant levels, which have the potential to contribute to a ‘larger-scale’, and/or longer life operation. 

The Munda deposit is 1 of the 12 nickel deposits within the company’s flagship Mt Edwards Project, which is located 75km south of the major regional centre of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Widgie Nickel is an ASX-listed exploration company with a ‘unique’ consolidation of a vast 240km-square land package of ‘highly prospective’ nickel and new-economy metal prospects within the Eastern Goldfields nickel sulphide belt.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au

Images: Widgie Nickel Ltd
Author Image
Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.