Resource Mining Corporation (RMC) has established a Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) exploration target for the Wowo Gap Nickel Laterite Project of 40 to 60 million tonnes at 1.6% to 1.8% nickel. Additional metal credits have also been established, including 0.07% to 0.15% cobalt, 0.8% to 1.2% manganese, 2% to 3% chromium oxide and 25% to 35% iron oxide.
This target has been identified following a comprehensive review of the existing exploration and drill hole data, which demonstrated that elevated nickel grades tend to occur at the base of the auger core drill holes, which were drilled to test the softer limonite zone overlying the rocky saprolite layer beneath. This suggests the nickel grade of the underlying saprolite ore is likely to be higher in grade than the overlying limonite ore.
Testing of this exploration target is planned to commence in August, focusing on an assessment of the geological and geochemical continuity of the saprolite horizon. Initial ground penetrating radar (GPR) will assist in definition of the limonite/rocky saprolite contact and the lower rocky saprolite/bedrock contact, with this information used to inform the detailed planning of a subsequent diamond drilling program over these areas with holes spaced 50 metres apart along 200 metre spaced lines.
The exploration target has been estimated in order to provide the market with an assessment of the DSO potential for the Wowo Gap Nickel Laterite Project. There are 1.6% to 1.8% of nickel laterite ores currently trading at in excess of US$100 per tonne cfr China ports. The reconfiguration of the Wowo Gap project to provide a new source of supply for the nickel laterite ore market has the potential to provide a rapid, low risk, low cost development path for the project in comparison to previous development configurations.
In recent months, the nickel market has undergone significant change in response to the implementation by the Indonesian Government on January 12, 2014 of a ban on the export of direct shipped nickel laterite ore from Indonesia. Prior to the ban, Indonesia supplied approximately 60% of all laterite ore, both limonite and saprolite, imported by China.
End users are now seeking alternative sources of supply and there has been a significant increase in the price of spot nickel ore prices in China. This fundamental change in market conditions has prompted RMC to undertake a detailed assessment of direct shipping ore development opportunities for the Wowo Gap project.
The project is 200km east of the PNG capital of Port Moresby and about 35km from the coastal village of Wanigela, situated on Collingwood Bay. www.resmin.com.au