URANIUM developer and explorer Toro Energy has entered into a Heads of Agreement (HoA) with OZ Minerals to explore for nickel on two tenements near Toro’s Lake Maitland uranium deposit in Western Australia. OZ can spend Aus$5 million to earn up to a 70% interest in the non-uranium rights of the two tenements.

OZ will spend an initial Aus$500,000 on exploration within 12 months of the satisfaction of conditions precedent under the HoA. OZ will be the operator under the agreement allowing Toro to remain focused on the development of its uranium assets.

The primary focus for OZ will be nickel exploration on the Yandal One nickel prospect within the Yandal Greenstone Belt in a Toro exploration licence. Australia’s largest nickel deposit, BHP Billiton’s Mount Keith, is less than 60km west of Yandal One.

Toro’s managing director Dr Vanessa Guthrie said the HoA would enable the company to maintain its focus and spending commitments on the continued development of the Wiluna Uranium Project, including Lake Maitland deposit.

“Toro is a uranium focused developer and explorer, however we welcome the interest and support shown by OZ Minerals in exploring this exciting non-uranium opportunity. Given the location of the Yandal One prospect relative to Mount Keith it makes good commercial sense to explore its potential with a strong and capable partner such as OZ Minerals.

Toro identified the exploration opportunity during a review of prospectivity of its Wiluna exploration tenements. Nickel grades of up to 0.45% average over 5 metres were returned from end of hole shallow rotary air blast (RAB) drilling in the 1990s by prior tenement holders. However further follow-up exploration has not been conducted.

The drilling penetrated through 30-40 metres of cover before ending within relatively fresh ultramafic rock with Komatiite indicative mineral textures. Komatiites are the host rock to most of Australia’s nickel, and Mount Keith is the world’s largest Komatiite hosted nickel deposit.

The historical RAB drilling crossed just to the south of a small anomalous lozenge shaped magnetic anomaly, similar to a ‘classic’ Komatiite hosted nickel geophysical target. The highest grade intersected was closest to this target. A total of three lines of 100 metre spaced drill holes, 1km apart, were drilled by the previous company while exploring for gold. Wherever drill lines crossed the magnetic trend the associated drill holes ended in ultramafic rock anomalous in nickel.

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