Chalice Mining's Kevin Frost & Morgan Frejabise
For the Julimar Nickel-Copper-PGE discovery under cover near Perth, Australia in 2020
The Julimar discovery is an extraordinary development given how close the nickel-copper-PGE deposit is to Perth (~70 km), the capital of Western Australia, a well-established mining jurisdictions that has been explored extensively.
Previous explorers were blind to the deposit because it underlies extensive regolith cover that obscures the region's geology. But when the Chalice Mining team of Kevin Frost and Morgan Frejabise studied publicly available airborne magnetic surveys supported by other regional geoscience datasets, they saw the hallmarks of an ultramafic-mafic intrusive complex hidden beneath the cover. By later applying electromagnetics on the ground and multi-element soil geochemistry, they were able to hone in on the rich deposit of metals now known as the Gonneville deposit.
The Chalice team spent a very modest ~A$50,000 at the project to define a drill-ready target and in early 2020, the maiden drill hole intersected a remarkable 19 metres grading 2.6% nickel, 1.0% copper, 0.14% cobalt, 8.4 grams per tonne (g/t) palladium and 1.1g/t platinum at a shallow depth of about 40 metres. The drill hole uncovered one of the most significant nickel sulphide discoveries in recent global history, and the largest PGE discovery ever in Australia.
The Gonneville deposit is particularly significant because of the range of valuable metals it contains, its scale and its shallow starting depth. Palladium, platinum, nickel, copper and cobalt are all critical to decarbonisation and green technologies. The discovery has established a new mineral province along the western edge of the Yilgarn Craton (the West Yilgarn Province) with over a thousand kilometres of unexplored potential.
In July 2022, Chalice released an updated Mineral Resource Estimate for Gonneville of 350 million tonnes grading 0.58% nickel equivalent (NiEq) or 1.8 g/t palladium equivalent (PdEq), containing 11 million ounces of PGEs and gold, 560 thousand tonnes of nickel, 360 thousand tonnes of copper and 54 thousand tonnes of cobalt. The deposit remains open beyond a depth of ~700m and open to the north along strike, which is quite remarkable when considering over 275km of drilling has been completed to date.