Desert Metals hits nickel, platinum group elements at Innouendy polymetal project

Fri 11 Nov 22, 3:09pm (AEST)
Nickel rocks with little miner figurines
Source: iStock

Key Points

  • Desert Metals has found a new zone bearing platinum group elements (PGEs) at its Innouendy play
  • The project, principally exploring for Nickel, sits on the northwestern margins of the prolific Yilgarn Craton in WA
  • Aircore and RC drilling slated for near future at PGE target, while nickel sulphide recovery tests ongoing

Desert Metals (ASX:DM1) has unveiled new assay results confirming the presence of platinum group elements (PGEs), along with nickel, at its WA Innouendy polymetals project located in WA overlying the Narryer Terrane. 

The Narryer Terrane forms the northwest margin of the larger onshore Yilgarn Craton, a well-known minerals province in WA home to no shortage of projects. 

Other players active in the Yilgarn Craton include Krakatoa Resources (ASX:KTA), SensOre (ASX:S3N), Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) and Venture Minerals (ASX:VMS)

The Innouendy project is described as a nickel prospect by Desert Metals on its website, but investors may recall that back in September the company unveiled clay hosted REE results on-site, too. 

The Yilgarn Craton is home to multiple projects sniffing out copper, nickel, and REEs, as well as other commercial materials. 

What is Desert reporting? 

Let’s start with nickel. 

Investor information provider Undervalued Equity classifies high-grade nickel as that in concentrations over 2% in assayed samples. 

Compare that to today’s nickel assays from Desert: 

  • 52m @ 0.29% nickel from surface

  • 64m @ 0.27% nickel from 24m depth, including: 

    • 05m @ 0.57% nickel 

  • 44m @ 0.33% nickel from 20m depth, including: 

    • 12m @ 0.51% nickel 

  • 88m @ 0.19% nickel from 16m

  • 21m. @ 0.44% nickel from 12m depth, including: 

    • 12m @ 0.53% nickel  

Today’s results don’t come close to satisfying UE’s classification for a high-grade nickel result.

But it’s good to note the mineralisation starts at depths of less than 30m, which could potentially lend itself to an open mine operation, less expensive to set up than an underground. 

What about PGE?

Evidence towards this speculative conclusion is supported by the company hitting a 52m thick section from surface. Nickel is also present in sulphides, a more desirable form of the material for use in EV batteries. 

While grades are only at 0.29%, a broadly mineralised (and easy-to-get-to) system is often worth more than a high grade project deep underground, as far as junior explorers go. 

Significant PGEs, meanwhile, were found at 40m depth. Desert reports: 

  • 32m @ 0.46g/t platinum, palladium, and gold (PGE3) including: 

  • 04m @ 1.19g/t PGE3 at 40m depth

Desert Metals uses the term “potentially economic grade” to discuss its PGE assay results.

Drilling up next 

Mafic and ultramafic intrusive rocks have been confirmed to extend over a 20km strike length by drilling already conducted; the rock type can be coincident with mineralisation of commercial metals. 

The newly identified zone from which today’s PGE results are borne is, in turn, interpreted to extend for at least 2km. 

That new zone will become the target of both aircore and RC drilling “as soon as is practicable.” 

Also pending is laboratory analysis testing the extent to which sulphide nickels will be recoverable. 

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Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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