LCL Resources Ltd (ASX: LCL) continues to refine its 100% owned PNG Nickel Project in southern Papua New Guinea.
LCL’s 3,400 sq. km portfolio of licences and applications, that form the PNG Nickel Project, are prospective for high grade nickel sulphide mineralisation. To date three prospects (Veri Veri, Iyewe and Doriri) have been identified within a 10km strike proximal to a major structure, the Keveri Fault.
A technical review of previous exploration, dating back to as far as the 1960s, in consultation with leading nickel expert Dr Martin Gole, has now been completed, resulting in the development of a distinct exploration model for high grade hydrothermal nickel sulphide mineralisation.
The model explains how nickel sulphides and associated gold and other metals, are mobilised into structural zones, such as faults and shears. The nickel is likely sourced from ultramafic host rock sequence which contain Ni-rich olivine (dunites), and as hydrothermal fluids interact with these host rocks, it leaches the Ni into the fluid. The likely heat source for the circulating hydrothermal fluids could be provided by proximal intermediate/felsic intrusions which also likely provide the source for the gold and molybdenum.
These intermediate/felsic intrusives are younger than the host sequence, with some manifesting as magnetic lows in regional geophysical data sets. At Iyewe, previous explorers have mapped intermediate/felsic intrusives associated with prominent magnetic lows, and additional unexplained magnetic lows occur along the Keveri Fault east of Doriri and within the Veri Veri prospect area.
The nearest analogy to this style of mineralisation with a similar geological setting is the Avebury nickel deposit in Tasmania. Globally, hydrothermal nickel deposits are rare, Centaurus’ Jaguar deposit in Brazil and First Quantum’s Enterprise deposit in Zambia are examples. However, LCL’s Veri Veri and Iyewe prospects are unusual due to the ultra-high nickel grades (up to 49% Ni)1 with associated gold (up to 13.7g/t Au) and molybdenum (up to 0.46% Mo).
Review of historical exploration over the large nickel stream anomalies at Wedei and Safia has not established if the nickel anomalism is related to nickel laterite or nickel sulphide mineralisation.
A work programme of field mapping and geophysics ahead of drilling, with drilling is anticipated in Q1’24. Ahead of that and armed with the benefit of the hydrothermal nickel model, the Company is planning for three lines of activity to define and extend its drill targets.
1. Mapping and trenching at the Iyewe and Veri Veri prospects.
2. Re-evaluation and re-interpretation of historical geophysics data.
3. Acquiring tight-spaced new generation geophysics over priority targets.
H1’24 reconnaissance field work will also investigate the large Wedei and Safia stream sediment anomalies.
Our evolving nickel sulphide story is showing great promise. Results and the input of nickel experts are giving us confidence that we could be onto something of global interest,” LCL Managing Director, Jason Stirbinskis, said.