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Since Rio commenced funding the joint venture in August 2018, the program has included diamond drilling, gravity and ground magnetic surveying and mapping over selected prospects. In addition further regional soil sampling has also been conducted.
A total of 10 diamond holes have been drilled to date for a total of 4,082.2m covering the Goma and Lawiye Adul regional targets, with five holes for 1,993.5m completed at the Akelikongo discovery.
Drilling at the regional targets intersected ultramafic intrusions as envisaged, however no magmatic sulphide has yet been identified. Integration of the geochemical and litho-geochemical analyses is currently underway in order to relate these intrusions to the Akelikongo suite.
Since early 2013, ongoing soil sampling has been conducted on 1 to 2 km spaced lines and 100m spacing between the lines.
Since then, over 70000 samples have been collected with various phases of infill sampling down to 25m by 25m just prior to drilling. Unlike in Western Australia the soils represent residual insitu primary geology and multi-element geochemical signatures strongly represent their fresh host rocks beneath.
Figure 1: Regional nickel in soil image showing the location of the key nickel prospects.
Regional Drilling and Geochemical Studies
An extensive litho-geochemical database has been compiled using results from rock chips and drill core at Akelikongo, Goma, and Lawiye Adul. Ongoing detailed analysis of this high-quality dataset is revealing that all the intrusions are magma conduits that display significant internal complexity.
The Goma and Lawiye Adul intrusions have similar metallogenic characteristics to Akelikongo, within pristine mantle-derived intrusions. Akelikongo shows a greater degree of crustal contamination that has triggered sulphur saturation. The data confirm that the region is fertile and prospective for economic nickel sulphide mineralisation.
This study, which was undertaken in conjunction with ground gravity and ground magnetics, is ongoing with further rock chip sampling continuing.
A new ultramafic intrusive complex known as Togoro has been identified through soil sampling and follow-up mapping. The intrusion is similar in style to Goma, 75km to the south-east.
Rock chip sampling has also been conducted to determine its relationship to the other prospective intrusions (see Figure 2 below).
Figure 2: Kitgum-Pader Project areas showing nickel-in-soil anomalies and interpreted prospective ultramafic intrusions as named prospects.