A goldmine made of nickel

They say there is no such thing as a sure thing.

But when you talk to Auroch Minerals Managing Director, Aidan Platel, about the Saints Nickel Project 65 kilometres northwest of Kalgoorlie, you start to doubt the substance of that saying.


Because in nickel terms, Aidan, reckons he’s sitting on a goldmine.


Auroch Minerals (ASX: AOU), which began life as a gold prospecting company in Mozambique, before moving to copper and zinc, is now all Australian and nickel focused. And it is pouring heart and soul into a celestially named project called, Saints.


“We’ve got an existing high grade 20,000 tonne nickel resource and yet the main feeder channel to the whole system is still yet to be found,” said Aidan.


“These channels can typically run to levels of about 30,000 tonnes. It’s like a river, an underground river flow, and we just have to follow the flow. It won’t take much before we start seeing multiples for shareholders.”


Highly credentialed


How can he be so sure? The team are the best, he says.


“Our non-executive chairman Edward Mason has spent 20 years working in global investment with banks such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch and HSBC, and non-executive director.


Chris Hansen, is a multidisciplinary global metals and mining expert with a pedigree spanning Barrick Gold, Fortescue Metals and private equity fund, Appian Capital Advisory.


“Additionally, we’ve brought on Peter Muccilli, one of the best exploration consultants in the business. Mincor’s massive Cassini nickel reserve (discovered near Kalgoorlie in 2014) was his baby. With Peter’s experience and IP, we know there’s heaps of nickel sulphide there.”


Aidan’s confidence is supported by maiden drilling at the site which has already tested a strong DHEM (Drillhole Electromagnetic data) conductor.


Editor’s note: In mining parlance, DHEM tests are highly accurate in the direct detection of massive nickel sulphide accumulations.


Premier location


Saints also sits in what is considered one of the world’s premier nickel locations where the neighbours include BHP, Poseidon Nickel and St George Mining (amongst others). The word around town is that everyone is watching this project very closely.


But to coin another age old adage, the proof is in the pudding, so Auroch is using a recent (oversubscribed) $2 million investor placement to drill 4-6 drill holes at the site. Drilling started last week.


“Now that we have that investment and the targets, we can work quickly and really get stuck in.”


Other opportunities


However positive Saints is looking, it is not Auroch’s only commercial opportunity. It has other projects near Leinster, the Horn and Valdez, both of which are showing similarly optimistic outcomes.


“They haven’t had much done to them but what we are seeing is incredible – the rights rocks and plates that line up perfectly. It bodes well.”


Additionally, Auroch has three projects in South Australia: Ardern (zinc and copper), Torrens East (copper and gold) and Bonaventura (zinc and copper). It is testament to the Company’s long-term belief in Australian exploration.


Australia the brave


Aidan, who has worked as a geologist in London, Turkey, Tanzania and Brazil, the latter for 12 years, says Australia remains the best place in the world to explore.


“Australia has a lot of rules in place but it’s transparent, the government is stable, and there’s lots to be found. It’s just about getting critical mass and then pressing the button.”


And he says not even the coronavirus has slowed things down.


“It’s been an amazing time, gold has gone through the roof, nickel’s stayed solid and the whole WA region is back on the rails. It seems like everyone’s having a punt.”


He stresses, however, that the Saints Project is definitely no punt:


“If I put my hand on my heart, we know there must be a large feeder channel of high-grade nickel sulphide at Saints, and all we need to do is find it. And that’s just so exciting.”