AEX 0.00% 1.1¢ acclaim exploration nl


  1. 501 Posts.

    HOMEX - Perth


    Acclaim Exploration NL announced in its June 2002 Quarterly Report
    that the mineral resource for the nickel oxide mineralisation at
    Wingellina had been upgraded to 226 million tonnes at 1.0 percent
    nickel, using a cutoff of 0.5 percent nickel. This places Wingellina
    in the top 20 nickeloxide laterite resources in the world. Should
    the Wingellina resource and project be categorised as similar to the
    Western Australian laterite projects?


    The geochemistry of Wingellina's nickel oxide mineralisation differs
    significantly from that of its Western Australian neighbours.
    Testwork has identified that Wingellina's chemistry attributes
    several processing advantages.

    Limonitic nickel oxide mineralisation occurs in the top 100 metres at
    Wingellina and represents 55 percent of the 226 million tonne
    resource. This limonitic mineralisation is chemically different to
    the lateritic mineralisation of the Western Australian laterite
    deposits - with a much lower MgO content and lower clay (and
    therefore silica) content. As a result, processing of Wingellina
    mineralisation consumes significantly lower volumes of acid and, due
    to its low viscosity, it can be processed more rapidly.

    High pressure acid leach (HPAL) processing is the method used by
    Western Australian laterite projects. Acclaim's HPAL testwork
    indicates that acid consumption rates for Wingellina are in the range
    of 290 to 360 kg/t. Murrin Murrin and Bulong have acid consumption
    rates in excess of 400 kg/t and Cawse is at 350 to 400 kg/t, so it's
    clear that processing at Wingellina has the potential to be
    significantly more cost efficient.

    Structurally, Wingellina also has advantages its neighbours do not
    share in that, although it has an average grade of 1 percent, there
    are several areas with much higher grades. Furthermore, drilling
    during the last quarter confirmed that mineralisation extends much
    deeper than originally thought to depths of 200 metres. However,
    higher grade zones will be a focus of the next phase of drilling,
    commencing during September.

    Greater thickness will allow lower mining costs than expansive,
    shallow deposits. Our geological modelling indicates that Wingellina
    has the potential to increase by a further 100 million tonnes,
    placing it then among the worlds top ten nickel oxide laterite


    The mineral resource includes 86 million tonnes at 1.22 percent
    nickel and 0.08 percent cobalt, using a cutoff of 1.0 percent nickel.
    What potential is there for a mineable higher grade zone?


    The Wingellina mineral resource contains 21 million tonnes at 1.52
    percent nickel using 1.3 percent nickel lower cut off grade, which
    compares favourably with the size and grade of other nickel oxide
    laterite developments such as Inco's New Caledonian Goro deposits.
    Goro has reported reserves of 54 million tonnes grading 1.5 percent

    Drilling has intersected up to 26 metres at 3.1 percent nickel at a
    shallow depth of 20 metres and the next round of drilling will focus
    on extending the higher grade zones along strike and at depth.

    Higher grade zones were identified by Inco's shallow drilling
    programs during the 1950s and 60s with many holes ending in greater
    than 1.5 percent nickel and included intersections of 82 metres at
    2.12 percent and 64 metres at 2.03 percent nickel from the surface.

    The pre-feasibility study will analyse the potential for selective
    mining of the high grade zones.


    The current resource contains 2.3 million tonnes of nickel metal.
    You're still to define a reserve but what size operation do you
    currently envisage at Wingellina?


    The pre-feasibility study will investigate operations at the scale of
    50,000 to 100,000 tonnes of nickel metal per annum. This level of
    output would require a mining and processing operation of 5 to 10
    million tonnes per annum with a focus on higher grades in the early

    The current resource estimate of 226 million tonnes at 1 percent
    nickel already provides a potential mine life of 20 to 40 years,
    depending on processing throughput rates.


    The independent analyst World Nickel Market Study has nearly
    completed a study placing Wingellina in a global context. Why did you
    commission the study and can you comment on the results of the review
    so far?


    As one of the world's largest undeveloped nickel oxide resources,
    with the potential to impact global supply of nickel, Wingellina
    needs to be studied in a global context. The World Nickel Market
    Study was commissioned tohelp us better understand the activities of
    nickel mining companies, the major operations producing the majority
    of world supply, the major consumers of nickel and nickel price

    The study will assist us in achieving our strategic objectives.


    One of your priorities at Wingellina has been to explore for nickel
    sulphides. What progress have you made?


    Finely disseminated nickel sulphides have been identified in deeper
    drilling. The marked depletion of copper platinum group metals and
    gold in the deepest rock further supports the concept that nickel
    sulphides formed during formation of the Wingellina layered complex.
    The most likely location for massive nickel sulphide mineralisation,
    as identified in other deposits elsewhere in the world, is at the
    basal contact or in feeder pipes and dykes.

    Drilling to target the basal contact has been undertaken at two
    locations approximately 5km apart which were identified in airborne
    electromagnetic surveys. Further drilling of the 10km long basal
    contact is planned after detailed analysis of airborne magnetic
    survey data is completed.

    Airborne magnetics suggest there are feeder pipes or dykes within the
    basement gneiss to the northeast of Wingellina and work is underway
    to define drilling targets.

    Acclaim has also completed a study of the WMC Babel & Nebo nickel
    sulphides discovery, 100km to the west of Wingellina. Analysis of all
    public data, including drill holes, has enabled a robust
    interpretation of the region and our enhanced understanding will be
    applied in exploring for nickel sulphides within the basement gneiss.


    Why is finding a mineable resource of nickel sulphide ore one of your


    Discovery of nickel sulphides is a priority of our exploration
    activities because earlier drilling has established that the
    Wingellina area is prospective for sulphide mineralisation and there
    are clear benefits to shareholders resulting from discovery of nickel

    Sulphuric acid, which is a by-product of nickel sulphide processing,
    is necessary for processing nickel oxide mineralisation. Therefore, a
    nickel sulphide discovery would enhance the value of Wingellina
    because of the potential cost savings achieved.


    During the quarter, high pressure acid leach (HPAL) testwork achieved
    recoveries ofup to 95 percent nickel with acid consumption of 288
    kilograms per tonne. You've been undertaking process testwork from
    early in the year. What test results are you aiming for before you
    can be confident of commercially processing Wingellina oxides?


    Nickel extraction testwork performed during the quarter included high
    pressure acid leach simulations and produced excellent results.
    Testing will continue to analyse the variability of the nickel oxide
    mineralisation and will include larger, laboratory-scale samples. The
    pre-feasibility study, which will look at capital versus operating
    costs of possible processing options, will assist in directing future

    The processing technology currently being applied to Wingellina
    mineralisation has been refined by engineers and metallurgists during
    the commissioning and operation of the Western Australian nickel
    laterite deposits since 1995.


    You've conducted tests using several process methods. What process
    route do you currently favour to process Wingellina oxide ore?


    It's an early call, but testing indicates that a combination of
    processing methods may be most appropriate.

    HPAL is most effective for processing limonite mineralisation and
    atmospheric slurry leach is most effective for saprolite. This
    strategy is currently being tested.


    Platinum group metals exploration intersected 9metres at 1.1 g/t in
    fresh rock at a depth of 102 metres. What's the significance of that
    result, what priority do you give to exploring for platinum group
    metals (PGMs) at Wingellina and how will you progress it?


    The layered complexes of the Musgrave Block, of which Wingellina is
    one of the largest examples, are similar to layered complexes
    elsewhere in the world. Those complexes also host PGMs.

    To date, exploration for PGMs at Wingellina has been based on our
    understanding of the geology. The prospective strike length is at
    least 10km long and our geological modelling infers that there are at
    least two prospective horizons within the complex. Thus, the
    potential for economic tonnage is clear and exploration must now
    focus on discovering higher grades of greater than 5 g/t Pt + Pd.

    Exploration drilling will progress along-strike from intercepts
    achieved to date, particularly where structural complexity may
    increase the grade and thickness.


    Acclaim recently announced an equity capital raising program. Where
    will the new capital be directed?


    Capital will be directed toward drilling to further define and extend
    the higher grade nickel oxide zones, drilling for nickel sulphides
    and platinum group metals and a pre-feasibility study.


    What are the next project milestones for Wingellina?


    Acclaim's strategy for Wingellina includes six objectives:

    To increase the size and grade of the higher grade nickel oxide

    To explore vigorously for nickel sulphides;

    To determine optimum processing methods by conducting additional
    nickel extraction testwork;

    To conduct a pre-feasibility study;

    To introduce a partner;

    Maximize the value of Wingellina.

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