AOU is Drilling a High Priority Nickel Target Now
Auroch Minerals (ASX:AOU) is exploring for nickel underneath a historically producing nickel mine in WA.
We invested in AOU as we think the world is going to need more nickel over the coming decade, and we think AOU is well positioned to grow a large nickel resource inventory close to existing infrastructure.
AOU owns 80% of a historical nickel mine that used to directly supply BHP’s nickel smelter in Kambalda ... and we know that BHP is planning to re-start this smelter with feed from " third parties ".
Today AOU confirmed it has identified a high priority nickel target just 1km south of its historic nickel mine, and is starting diamond drilling immediately.
It is an exciting time for any nickel explorer when it’s time to drill a high priority target - a strong nickel intercept could re-rate the company’s share price.
Our take on today’s news:
AOU started a ground electro magnetic (EM) survey last week.
The goal with EM surveys is to locate conductive bodies that may represent significant nickel sulphide mineralisation - once located, the idea is to drill down to where the conductor is modelled, and confirm the presence or otherwise of nickel.
AOU just identified a strong EM conductor, only 1km south of the historic Nepean Nickel Mine, and 250m below the surface.
The conductor response is typical of semi-massive to massive sulphides.
A historic drill-hole 50m north of the modelled conductor hit nickel sulphides.
These are all encouraging signs, and explain why AOU has immediately moved to drill test this target, with a rig having just arrived on site.
Drill testing will start immediately.
The hole will be a 350-400m drill hole designed to intercept the modelled conductive plate at a down-hole depth of ~290 - 300m.
Why we invested in AOU
✅ Nickel shortage to be driven by electric vehicle batteries demand. A global nickel shortage is expected this decade. BHP is predicting nickel demand to surge in the mid-late 2020s and is preparing for this.
✅ Many years ago, AOU’s nickel mine used to feed a local smelter owned by mining giant BHP. It was shut down when the nickel price plunged. The nickel price is now up – a lot.
✅ BHP wants to ramp up nickel production. In the same region as AOU’s historical mine... with a view to sell to battery makers like Tesla. So BHP is going to need a lot more nickel from nearby, and wants to get it from third parties.
Here is why we like AOU:
✅ Unlocking a much larger nickel resource. Successful exploration below/along strike to an old nickel mine has happened before in WA – Western Areas is the case study here, and shareholders were hugely rewarded.
✅ AOU continues to deliver impressive drill results. Confirming thick, high grade nickel at shallow depths at its historical nickel mine.
✅ AOU has a number of options that exercise at 10c that have been converting into shares over recent months. This is good in that it brings funds into the company without having to tap the broader market, however it is worth noting that this can also soften upward momentum in the share price. The company had $4.39M at March 31st 2021.
✅ AOU is aiming to build over 100kt of nickel resources. AOU has multiple nickel exploration projects – we like the scale of the company’s goal.
✅ Drilling a high priority target right now. Lots of newflow is expected over the coming weeks, in addition to the current drilling.
What’s next for AOU at its historic nickel mine:
- High-powered ground MLEM survey to test critical areas of the 10km of prospective strike of the Nepean ultramafics – ongoing
- Diamond drill programme testing high-priority EM targets – ongoing
- Second phase of RC drilling to test geochemical and geophysical targets along the historic mine strike – starts late May/June.
What’s next for AOU at its other projects:
AOU is also actively exploring other nickel projects in the same region, with:
- a diamond drill programme - ongoing ,
- DHEM surveys of completed drilling holes - ongoing ,
- a RC drill programme - starts mid-May .
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