Axiom Mining has mapped out a busy drilling program for the Isabel Nickel Project in the Solomon Islands that will target areas suitable for JORC resource definition and for early mining.
As Axiom CEO Ryan Mount said:
“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.”
Drilling will consist predominantly of diamond drilling and excavator pitting to twin and confirm previous test pits and drill holes.
Other work will test stratigraphy, bulk density, moisture, internal rock size and distribution and other mining factors within the limonite and saprolite zones.
Additional work will test metallurgical characteristics for potential customers and include geological mapping, soil and rock sampling by handheld XRF analyser, and pitting within historical excavations.
Baseline environmental surveys have commenced and include terrestrial and aquatic studies, which will meet Solomon Islands regulatory requirements for subsequent development of the deposit.
2015 Work Program at Isabel Nickel
In 2015, Axiom will focus on:
- geological evaluation, drilling and pitting of suitable mineralised 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 resource for the potential of on-site processing
- development of sales and mining specifications to match customer and market requirements
- preparing for mining and export of bulk samples
- assessment of on-site upgrading processes such as screening and drying.
Axiom is targeting an aggressive start of a Direct Shipping Ore operation within 12–18 months.
This would progressively ramp up to two million tonnes per annum.
Isabel Nickel Project
The project is 80% owned by Axiom KB, where KB or Kolosori and Bungusule are the two original customary landowning tribes, who collectively own the remaining 20% interest.
The Kolosori tenement covers 49 square kilometres on Isabel Island and is covered by Axiom’s leasehold and prospecting licence.
It has historic and non-JORC resources estimated at 159 million tonnes at 1.045% nickel and 0.07% cobalt.
Low cost open pit mining can very quickly generate a direct shipping ore that significantly reduces both operating cash cost and capital cost for plant, power requirements and infrastructure.
At current nickel prices, this is expected to generate significant cashflow to fund both the expansion of the mine and deliver a return to shareholders.