Si6 Metals appears to have locked onto extensions of its Maibele nickel deposit in Botswana, with drilling 200 metres along strike from the known resource intersecting massive sulphide stringers that returned anomalous assays of both nickel and copper mineralisation. Diamond drilling is testing a new, recently identified hanging-wall sulphide lode, which lies around 200 metres to the south-east of the existing Maibele North deposit.
Previous drilling east of the Maibele nickel deposit jagged the hanging wall lode back in 2014, returning 6.82 metres at 0.75 per cent nickel and 0.25 per cent copper from around 200m below surface. Recent drilling by Si6 was designed to intersect the mineralised lode 50m along strike and confirm the continuity of the sulphide system.
One recent drill hole intersected a zone of disseminated to massive sulphide mineralisation between 440 and 450m down-hole. Assaying returned 0.42m at 0.12 per cent nickel and 0.08 per cent copper from 444m and 0.10m at 0.32 per cent nickel and 0.24 per cent copper from 445.05m, confirming the continuity of the mineralised zone along strike.
Geological logging and subsequent modelling indicates that the drill hole may have clipped the up-dip extensions to the sulphide lode, with Si6 now planning to undertake down-hole electromagnetics to allow better targeting of the sulphide discovery with future drilling.
The success of the recent drilling at Maibele shows the presence of sulphide mineralisation along more than 1.4 kilometres of strike, confirming the Maibele North resource and its extensions form part of larger mineralised system and the presence of a nickel camp in the region which includes the nearby Selebi Phikwe nickel-copper mine.
Si6 Metals Chairman, Patrick Holywell said:“The nearby Selebi Phikwe mining operation was placed on care and maintenance some 5 years ago due to low base metal prices and high operational costs. However, recent events indicate that the mine is one step closer to restarting. The Maibele North resource has a strike length of circa 800m and studies were undertaken on an open pit mine plan for Maibele North with the resource to feed the plant at Selebi Phikwe.”
Si6 Metals’ Maibele project is located on the revered Limpopo Mobile Belt in the east of Botswana and lies approximately 400km north-east of the capital of Gaborone, near where the borders of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana meet.
The project consists of seven leases which cover more than 1,500 square kilometres of the Limpopo Belt and Zimbabwean Craton. The company’s tenure stretches along more than 20km of strike and is prospective for a range of different styles of mineralisation including sediment-hosted copper, orogenic gold and intrusive hosted nickel-copper-PGE mineralisation, similar to the Julimar and Nova-Bollinger discoveries in WA.
Si6 already boasts a sizeable resource at its Maibele North prospect of 2.38 million tonnes at 0.72 per cent nickel and 0.63 g/t 5PGE. The last serious drilling over Maibele North was completed in 2015, with Si6 now probing the nickel mineralisation below the current resource and along strike from the prospect.
Mr Holywell said:“The nickel sulphide intersections from the last hole drilled some 5 years ago (MARD0094) as well as this current hole (MADD0153) are located some 200 vertical metres below the bottom of the Maibele North resource and demonstrate the significant potential for further discovery at depth beneath the entire 1.4km strike of the Maibele North nickel sulphide body.”
The company is now planning to expand its exploration program at Maibele North with geophysical surveys, including down-hole electromagnetics and regional audio-magnetotellurics being designed to better tie down the all-important geological contacts on which the sulphide bodies appear to sit.
Future drilling will target anomalies produced from both geochemical modelling and geophysical surveying. Exploration will also include extensional drilling to continue building the resource inventory over the deposit.
Whilst the company’s drilling at the Monument gold discovery in Western Australia continues to produce the goods, exploration in Botswana is also expanding the footprint of the Maibele nickel deposit and with Si6 hinting that the neighbouring Selebi Phikwe mine may begin pumping out base-metals again in the not-too-distant future, the company may look to move into production sooner than some may expect.
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