Microcap Mantle Minerals hits large zones of lower-mid grade nickel

Fri 20 Jan 23, 2:45pm (AEST)
In-situ nickel mineralisation
Source: iStock

Key Points

  • Mantle Minerals has hit lower-mid nickel grades at its Pardoo Nickel Sulphide Project in WA
  • While grades fail to meet “high grade” classifications, the company has hit thick mineralised zones up to 111m
  • The current drilling campaign is a resource campaign to form an initial mineral resource estimate, enhancing project bankability

ASX-listed penny stock and microcap Mantle Minerals (ASX:MTL) reported thick zones of mid-tier nickel grades in stage 2 Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling at its WA-based Pardoo Nickel Sulphide Project on Friday.

RC drilling collects rock chips from underground and is different from Diamond-tipped Drilling (DD) which returns whole cylindrical cores to the surface. 

The company’s project is chasing after nickel sulphide, the more preferable type of nickel mineralisation for inclusion into EV battery metal supply chains. 

Sulphide mineralisation is differentiated from laterite mineralisation. For a thorough overview of all things nickel, you can read Market Index’s Nickel Guide for 2023 here

What grades are we talking? 

Investor information provider Undervalued Equity (UE) classifies high-grade nickel as that in concentrations over 2%. 

Compare that to the following results from Mantle today: 

  • 68m @ 0.44% nickel from 57m depth 

  • 111m @ 0.37% nickel from 159m depth 

  • 81m @ 0.39% nickel from 102m depth 

  • 24m @ 0.43% nickel from 138 depth 

  • 24m @ 0.41% nickel from 176m depth 

While the grades definitely fail to meet the high-grade cut off as published by UE, it’s worth noting the relatively mammoth intersections on display (relative to some results from other smallcap junior explorers). 

At core lengths up to 111m, the nickel needn’t necessarily be a high-grade. Large spanning deposits of mid-grade metals can often be more profitable than smaller projects containing relatively limited clusters of high-grade mineralisation. 

But one would be wise to note the issue of depth. 

With the first highlighted result below 50m, future operations would have a lot of earth to get through first. 

Drilling towards resource estimate

The drilling campaign is technically a resource drilling campaign, which describes an explorative drill run specifically for the purposes of forming a JORC-compliant Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE). 

JORC stands for the Australasian Joint Ore Reserve Committee, the semi-private semi-government body responsible for authorising MREs in Australia. 

All resource estimates must comply with JORC obligations to be bankable in Australia.

“Our recent drilling at the Highway nickel sulphide deposit has provided great results for us to get on with calculating a JORC (2012) resource and sets us up to explore for more nickel sulphides along strike and elsewhere on the tenement,” Mantle’s Executive Chairman Nick Poll said.

Want to know more? 

Free company data for Mantle Minerals available via Market Index provides data to form a number of early-stage considerations for potential investors including but not limited to: 

  • Share price of 0.2c* 

  • Market cap of $10.6m 

  • Ordinary shares on issue at 5.35bn 

  • Average 4 week volume of 4.59m (total shares on issue make this still a relatively illiquid stock) 

  • Ranked 680 of 943 materials sector companies 

  • Company had $2.6m at end of September quarter 2022

  • It spent $1.36m over the same period in opex 

  • It has not conducted a capital raise since 

*As at 1245 AEST Friday 20 January 2023 

MTL's one year charts show the impact of a turbulent 2022, as well as the hallmark "blockiness" of an illiquid stock
MTL's one year charts show the impact of a turbulent 2022, as well as the hallmark "blockiness" of an illiquid stock


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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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