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Akelikongo Nickel

Akelikongo is a nickel-copper discovery made by Sipa in Uganda. During 2015 and 2016, geochemistry, drilling and geophysics defined a sizeable body of nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation with strong similarities to other intrusive-related magmatic nickel copper sulphide systems such as Nova-Bollinger (14Mt @ 2.3% Ni and 0.9% Cu), Voisey's Bay (141Mt @ 1.6% Ni and 0.8% Cu) and Raglan (30Mt @ 3.4% Ni and 0.9% Cu).

The key elements of these systems are a plunging magma channel or conduit with a high magma fluid flux which then interacts with the country rock during emplacement to form a mixing zone, triggering sulphur saturation and the formation of nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation. 

At Akelikongo, the conduit sub-crops with an intense nickel and copper soil anomaly over an area of about 300m by 300m. This anomaly has been followed up by drilling which intersected a shallowly plunging intrusive complex with both disseminated and massive sulphide mineralisation. The mineralisation remains open down plunge (Figure 1).

Akelikongo Schematic Long SectionFigure 1: Akelikongo Schematic Long Section.

The discovery at Akelikongo West of a second mineralised intrusive body with a different geological and geochemical character, demonstrates the Akelikongo field contains multiple mineralised intrusive systems indicative of a mineral field with a complex history enhancing its economic potential.

Drilling in late 2016 resulted in significant sulphide zones being intersected with results such as:

Matrix to semi-massive zones:

  • 5.2m @ 0.98% Ni and 0.41% Cu from 213.1m to 218.3m; and
  • 0.8m @ 0.99% Ni and 1.59% Cu from 221.1m (AKD017)
  • 7m @ 1.04% Ni and 0.35% Cu from 223m to 230m, including
  • 0.4m @ 2.47% Ni and 0.2% Cu from 228 (AKCD006)

Continuous disseminated and semi-massive intercepts:

  • 84.5m @ 0.42% Ni and 0.17% Cu from 138m to 222.5m (AKD017)
  • 38m @ 0.51% Ni and 0.17% Cu from 194m to 232m (AKCD006)

Rio Tinto joint ventured into the project in May 2018 and spent a total of US$4.2M of on exploration activities prior to withdrawing on 30 April 2020. This work included over 7,000m of diamond drilling, extensive programs of ground gravity and ground magnetics, geological mapping, soil and rock chip sampling. Much of this expenditure was focused at Akelikongo. The results indicated further nickel and copper sulphide mineralisation at Akelikongo Main and also at the emerging “Eastern zone” towards the base of the intrusive complex (see Figure 2)

Plan  of current drilling at AkelikongoFigure 2: Plan of current drilling at Akelokongo, (purple dotted outline marks outline of intrusion)
showing results from AKD018-22 and new eastern mineralised zone (schematic), shown in yellow.

Sipa believes significant potential remains to expand the known mineralisation footprint at Akelikongo and making additional discoveries across its 100% owned tenement package in Uganda, and is seeking a new partner to assist in progressing the project. The down-plunge potential of the nickel-copper sulphide system at Akelikongo remains largely untested, and is a logical next step for the project, while the belt scale potential for further nickel-copper discoveries remains.