Axiom Mining announces the start of a drilling program at the Isabel Nickel Project with the program to consist predominantly of diamond drilling and excavator pitting to twin and confirm previous test pits and drill holes.
The exploratory work in the remainder of 2014 will also involve test stratigraphy, bulk density, moisture, internal rock size and distribution, and other mining factors within the limonite and saprolite zones. It will include geological mapping, soil and rock sampling by handheld XRF analyser, and pitting within historical excavations. Axiom will also test metallurgical characteristics for potential customers.
Axiom’s CEO Ryan Mount says, “This program will focus on area suitable for early JORC-compliant resource definition and subsequent mining. We aim to confirm the historical data at this world-class asset collected by global nickel producer INCO and Kaiser Engineers.
“Additionally, we see significant potential to increase both the grade and tonnage of the deposit as we extend drilling below the depth of previous sampling into the higher grade saprolite zone.”
Baseline environmental surveys have commenced and include terrestrial and aquatic studies, which will meet Solomon Islands regulatory requirements for subsequent development of the deposit.
Next year Axiom will focus on geological evaluation, drilling and pitting of suitable mineralized zones to current JORC standards to achieve short-term development of a proposed direct shipping of ore (DSO) operation and long-term development of the total laterite resources for the potential of on-site processing.
Axiom is targeting the establishment of a DSO operation within 12-18 months, which will progressively ramp up to 2 million tonnes per annum. At current nickel prices this is expected to generate significant cashflow to fund both the expansion of the mines and deliver a return to shareholders.