Bulong, Goongarrie, Siberia, Kalpini, Ghost Rocks

Western Australia, WA, Australia

Main commodities: Ni Co
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The Goongarrie, Siberia/Canegrass, Bulong and Kalpini lateritic nickel resources are located within the Kalgoorlie area of Western Australia. The individual deposits are located as follows, relative to Kalgoorlie: Goongarrie, 80 km NNW, Siberia/Canegrass, 75 km NW (and 25 km SW of Goongarrie), Bulong, 35 km east, and Kalpini, 65 km NE (and 90 km ESE of Goongarrie). Additional resources at Highway and Ghost Rocks, 20 and 40 km NNW of Goongarrie respectively, are included in the Goongarrie Project.
(#Location: Goongarrie - 30° 0' 46"S, 121° 8' 55"E; Siberia/Canegrass - 30° 13' 41"S, 120° 57' 49"E; Bulong - 30° 41' 18"S, 121° 49' 24"E)

The nickel laterites in these four areas has been formed from weathering of olivine rich ultramafic/komatiite of the Archaean basal Walter Williams Formation (WWF) flow unit. The WWF covers an area of some 150 x 35 km, and is up to 600m thick. The weathered WWF typically assays 0.5% Ni as a background, and forms siliceous ore. In zones of more intense lateritic weathering, related to faulting and bedrock alteration, ore grades exceeding 1% Ni are generated. The ultramafic lithotype strongly influences the lateritic ore style.

In the Goongarrie, Siberia, Bulong areas (to the north of Kalgooglie), the protolith is an olivine adcumulate of the WWF ultramafic flow, interpretted to have been emplaced in proximity to the lava flow vent or within a major flow feeder channel. It is intensely magnetic witha distinctive aeromagnetic signature. The adcumulate characteristically weathers to siliceous laterite, which dependent upon the intensity of weathering processes (silica leaching), develops high grade goethite ore within the upper laterite profile.

In contrast, in the Bulong or Hampton area (to the east of Kalgooglie), the protolith is an olivine meso to orthocumulate distal lateral flow equivalent of the WWF, characterised by more linear and discontinuous ultramafic flow units. The dominant ore style is nontronitic, with a goethitic overprint in the upper laterite profile. Where discrete lava channels occur, olivine adcumulate is present, forming discrete mesas of siliceous ore.

The >1% Ni mineralisation at Goongarrie ranges from 12 to 45 m in thickness over a width of 1 to 2 km, sandwiched by 5 to 10 m of 0.5 to 1% Ni material above and below, and 10 to 50 m of waste on top.

The total inferred mineral resource is in the four areas is 890 Mt @ 0.7% Ni and 0.05% Co using a 0.5% Ni cut-off grade for 6.23 Mt of contained nickel.

The more siliceous resource in the Goongarrie-Siberia-Ghost Rocks deposits north of Kalgoorlie contain a resource of 505 Mt @ 0.71% Ni, 0.07% Co. Following screening of the siliceous ore type in the immediate Goongarrie-Siberia-Ghost Rocks deposits that would feed a central Goongarrie pressure leach plant, the potential resource is estimated to be 130 Mt @ 1.5% Ni and 0.1% Co, for 2 million tonnes of contained nickel metal.

In 2006 the Goongarrie project was quoted as having a resource of 903 Mt @ 0.74% Ni, 0.05% Co.

Treatment of the Goongarrie-Siberia-Ghost Rocks resource is planned to produce a nickel-in-intermediate product, using premium metallurgical quality goethite and siliceous ore leached by conventional high Pressure Acid Leach (PAL) technology, while nontronite and saprolite ores at Hampton-Bulong would be leached by Atmospheric Acid Leach (AAL) as a secondary leaching and neutralisation stage.

These projects have been tested in detail by Heron Resources who are currently (2004) investigating the feasibility of commencing a mining and processing operation based on the resources.

Bulong was initially developed and operated by Resolute Resources between about 1999 and 2001 using a high temperature acid pressure leaching followed by solvent extraction and electrowinning process, based on reserves of 140 Mt of ore.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2004.    
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
© Copyright Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.   Unauthorised copying, reproduction, storage or dissemination prohibited.




  References & Additional Information

Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd (PorterGeo) provides access to this database at no charge.   It is largely based on scientific papers and reports in the public domain, and was current when the sources consulted were published.   While PorterGeo endeavour to ensure the information was accurate at the time of compilation and subsequent updating, PorterGeo takes no responsibility what-so-ever for inaccurate or out of date data, information or interpretations.

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