The Ardea WA tenure represents a large strategic land holding in one of Australia’s premier nickel sulphide and gold provinces. Ardea has several additional project mineralisation styles outside of the GNCP goethite. In addition to the other laterite hosted nickel-cobalt opportunities, Ardea’s tenure also hosts significant “greenfields” nickel sulphide and/or gold mineralisation.
Perrinvale nickel sulphide and gold prospect
Perrinvale is located approximately 100km west of Leonora. The Ardea exploration model is based on recent nickel sulphide discoveries immediately west of Perrinvale made by St George Mining. Regional magnetic data highlights that the feature which hosts the St George Mining nickel sulphide discoveries within the Cathedrals Belt, has an east-northeast strike and extends into Perrinvale. At Perrinvale, this prospective trend is overlain by transported cover, requiring geophysical methods such as moving loop Electro Magnetic (MLEM) surveys for exploration targeting.
MLEM surveys have been completed by Ardea over three separate zones at Perrinvale with a consultant’s field report received during the December 2019 Quarter which recommended follow-up exploration including shallow aircore drilling beneath transported cover to determine basement geology and the geochemical signature associated with the EM anomalies defined. Surface EM surveys were recommended over the areas not covered by the initial trial survey.
A gold targeting review was completed by Ardea and reaffirmed that the eastern part of the tenure overlies poorly exposed greenstones along the northern extension of the Zuleika Shear system, which is a known gold-bearing structure at Kundana, south of Ardea’s tenure. The fact that there are no gazetted gold occurrences over the greenstone belt within Ardea’s tenure is believed to be a function of the surface cover hiding the prospective basement rocks.
An internal review of geophysical datasets, focused predominantly on the interpretation of aeromagnetic data, has defined a number of gold exploration targets which have been ranked and added to Ardea’s ranking system and represent regional targets that would be best explored with wide spaced RAB or Aircore drilling through the surface cover for geological logging and geochemical sampling. This data would then be used to help vector in on any bedrock gold anomalism defined, targeting a greenfields discovery.
Bulong and Taurus gold prospect
Ardea’s Bulong tenements are located approximately 30km east of the City of Kalgoorlie Boulder. The regionally significant crustal scale gold-controlling structure, the Goddard Fault, trends north-south and passes through Ardea’s Bulong tenure. This structure represents a northern splay of the regionally significant Mount Monger Fault, which hosts gold mineralisation to the south, with the best-known operating mine in the area at Daisy Milano.
Historically, the focus on the Bulong tenements has been on high grade laterite hosted nickel-cobalt mineralisation (54.1Mt at 0.88% Ni and 0.05% Co, for contained metal of 476.1kt nickel and 28.8kt cobalt) as part of the KNP resource base, with minimal historical gold exploration.
Ardea commenced systematic gold exploration with a detailed mapping and sampling program around the historic Taurus underlay shaft and multiple workings in the area. Fifty four rock chip samples were collected during the mapping program with 22 samples (40%) 1g/t Au or greater and the average grade for all samples collected in this program was 4.86g/t Au. This program has refined the controls on gold mineralisation in the project area.
Mapping has identified several other possible Taurus lode repeats as well as providing orientation and shear sense indicators. This information will be used to complement historic drill data, which is presently being compiled in detail, and other historic datasets. 3D models will be constructed from these datasets to enable definition of drill targets.
Ardea works with Kalgoorlie-Boulder prospectors who have been recovering alluvial, eluvial and primary gold in the area which is assisting with Ardea target generation and furthering the understanding of the controls on Bulong gold mineralisation.
In addition to the significant nickel-cobalt resources hosted at Bulong, 36 exploration targets have been defined. These range from gold, PGEs and base metals (nickel, copper, lead and zinc).
Limited historic nickel-cobalt laterite drill holes have been located over some of the gold targets and a search for the historic pulps within Ardea’s West Kalgoorlie sample archive facilities has been completed and samples submitted for multi-element assay, including gold for the first time. This is a low impact and much cheaper form of exploration, as it removes the need to redrill holes.
Laverton Tectonic Zone – Pinjin gold
The Laverton Tectonic Zone (LTZ) hosts some of the largest gold camps in Western Australia, including Sunrise Dam and Granny Smith. The LTZ also hosts several recent gold discoveries such as Rebecca and Duchess. Additionally, the Mount Weld REE deposit is associated with the LTZ.
Ardea continues to evaluate other mineral exploration opportunities that can complement its existing project portfolio and has applied for a number of exploration licences and acquired another in the LTZ, in the Pinjin area.
With the regolith obscuring the prospective basement rocks, Ardea can apply the same exploration methodology that has been successful in making gold discoveries under cover at Goongarrie, to the Pinjin leases to help ensure the best chance of exploration success. This area covered by Ardea’s tenement applications is considered highly prospective for gold and Critical Mineral mineralisation and is under-explored. The recently acquired tenure is suited to the proposed gold spin-out IPO, as well as REE targets for the GNCP.
Mt Zephyr-Darlot East Red 5 Joint Venture
In November 2020, Ardea executed a Farm-in Joint Venture Agreement with ASX-listed gold producer Red 5 Limited (ASX: RED, Red 5). Red 5 can earn up to an 80% interest in Ardea’s Mt Zephyr and Darlot East Gold Projects, both located in close proximity to the Red 5 Darlot Gold Mine. Under the terms of the Agreement, Red 5, through its 100%-owned subsidiary, Darlot Mining Company Pty Ltd (Darlot), has executed a Farm-in Joint Venture Agreement (Agreement) with Ardea Exploration Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ardea Resources Ltd, over the Mt Zephyr and Darlot East Gold Projects in Western Australia. (ASX Announcement, 19 November 2020)
Mt Zephyr contains both primary gold and nickel mineralisation and encapsulates more than two thirds of an underexplored greenstone belt called Celia Lineament. The area east of the Celia Lineament is considered highly prospective for the following reasons:
- All historic gold workings east of lineament
- Mt Windarra nickel sulphide stratigraphy
- Jupiter, Wallaby granitoid-hosted gold to the east of the lineament further south
- Along structure from Mt Morgans, Lake Roe gold deposits
- Ardea are the first to test the new geological setting concepts
- First pass drill programs completed
- Gold at Gale, Dunn’s North, Dunn’s Line and Paul’s Find
- Ni-Cu sulphides (+ gold) at Jones Area A
- First-pass, wide-spaced (160mx160m) drilling confirms granite hosted gold mineralisation, at Gale