Shares in Chalice Mining jumped more than 7% on Thursday after the company revealed it had started a low-key drilling campaign at a second target area within the Julimar nickel-copper-platinum group elements (PGE) prospect north east of Perth.
The campaign in an environmentally sensitive state forest started just three weeks after the Western Australian government gave the greenlight to initial low-impact drilling at the Hartog and Baudin targets.
In previous presentations Chalice has described Hartog as a 6.5-kilometre long AEM (aerial electromagnetic) anomaly with “with coincident ground EM and Ni-Cu-soil anomalies comparable to Gonneville.”
Baudin was described more modestly as having “Large AEM and Ni-Cu-PGE soil anomalies”.
Chalice shares rose 7.4% to $8.79 on the news – a sign of the high level of interest in what is the most exciting mineral discovery in this country for decades.
Chalice has determined that both are prime targets for a modest drilling campaign after its breakthrough discovery at the Gonneville prospect in 2021.
Investors have been awaiting news of the start on the new round of drilling since approval from the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) was granted in late December.
In November 2021, Chalice issued the first reserves estimate for Gonneville – the largest discovery of PGE minerals in Australian history, containing 10 million ounces of palladium, platinum and gold; as well as the largest nickel sulphide discovery globally in more than 20 years as part of a 330-million-tonne mineral resource boasting 530,000 tonnes of nickel, 330,000 tonnes of copper and 53,000 tonnes of cobalt.
It is thought four other areas along a 26-kilometre strike length at Julimar (two of which are Hartog and Baudin) could contain vastly more reserves of these minerals.
Chalice plans around 70 drill sites across 10 kilometres of strike length as part of the foundational drilling at the Hartog prospect which is considered to be the next best area for exploration after the discoveries and expansion of the Gonneville finds.
“The initial drill locations at Hartog have been selected based on their ease of access and will be drilled using track-mounted diamond drill rigs that will operate wholly within the footprint of the existing tracks, with no disturbance or clearing of vegetation required,” Chalice explained in a statement to the ASX on Thursday.
“The drill rigs have fully contained above-ground drilling fluids systems, which means that no excavation of drilling sumps is required and all waste will be disposed of outside the forest.”
Chalice has conducted extensive flora and fauna surveys covering an area of approximately 5,700 hectares to inform the drilling program.
A key condition of the Stage 2 conservation management plan (CMP) includes monitoring by qualified fauna observers throughout the program to ensure there is no direct impact to wildlife, Chalice explained in Thursday’s statement.