Regency Mines (LON:RGM) said Mambare in Papua New Guinea has the potential to be one the world’s largest single Nickel laterite deposits, after it announced the maiden JORC compliant resource estimate for the project.
Mambare is being explored through a 50:50 joint venture with Sydney-based firm Direct Nickel.
The estimate was produced by CSA Global and gives Mambare an indicated and inferred resource of 95.1 million tonnes grading 0.96 per cent Nickel and 0.08 per cent cobalt, for 912,595 tonnes of contained Nickel, using a 0.60 per cent Nickel cut-off grade.
The estimate is based on the results of the 2011 exploration campaign and only those holes from the 2008 exploration campaign located within the 2011 drilling area, 162 drill holes and 5 test pits in all.
The maiden resource was calculated across a combined area of 9 square kilometres, with only 2 square kilometres in the primary target, the 80 square kilometre plateau. The remainder of the resource is on the southern slopes below the plateau.
Mambare project manager Ian Warden said: “This resource estimate of 95 million tonnes is three times the size of our initial target for this campaign.
“We found better thicknesses and grades than we anticipated. Within the total JORC compliant resource there appear to be significant tonnages of higher-grade material, which bodes well for future project economics.
“We have drill tested less than 3 per cent of the plateau surface, with mineralisation open across the plateau to the north and west of the current drilling. This indicates the very significant potential upside of this project.
“These results reinforce our belief that the combined potential of the Mambare Nickel laterite project and the revolutionary Direct Nickel process for extracting Nickel from laterites will allow us to create a truly outstanding project,” warden said.
An expanded estimate incorporating all the results from the 2008 exploration campaign and ground penetrating radar surveys as well as the abovementioned results will be released in the coming weeks in the form of a second report with a further increase in tonnage expected.
The partners will now move their attention to resource definition work, metallurgical testing and scoping studies.
The Mambare joint venture also has two exploration licences covering 1,473 square kilometres to explore the region for geothermal heat, which could provide cheap, renewable energy for process heat and electrical energy for use in any future mine and DNi process plant.
Exploration will also assess the potential of any other minerals discovered within the application area.