Long awaited details have been released of a high-grade native nickel – believed to have never been documented before anywhere in the world – made by a private Australian company in an isolated area of West Africa.
Described as an “improbable” kind of nickel, the discovery has the resources industry in Australia – and indeed the world – in somewhat of a spin.
Speaking on the first day today of the three day Paydirt 2016 Africa Down Under mining conference in Perth, respected mining industry veteran – and former Chief Executive of Western Mining Corporation – Mr Hugh Morgan, unveiled publicly for the first time details of the “mystery” Titan Nickel Project in West Africa.
Mr Morgan heads a private company that has made a potentially world class, and highly unusual, nickel discovery in the heart of Nigeria.
The Titan Nickel Project – located to the north-east of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria – has the potential to be developed into a world class deposit of a new style of lucrative nickel.
“What makes this nickel so unique is its genesis- it is a different genesis than we believe has ever been documented previously,” Mr Morgan said.
“There is no other deposit like it in the world – it is that significant in style,” he said. “We don’t know the extent of what we are working with yet. The geological setting is very encouraging.
“The initial assays immediately raised suspicion that what we had was very special.” What makes the deposit so rare/unusual is that the nickel metal is formed in small balls (0.1-5.0 mm in diameter) as opposed to more traditional nickel found in soil and needing to be filtered/refined to extract the material.
Mr Morgan said the balls are hard and weakly ferromagnetic, and range in colour from bright silver and golden, to dark metallic grey. Further work to understand the genesis of the balls is ongoing.
Mr Morgan said exploration of the deposit commenced in 2015 after being initially identified some years previously.
He said while the deposit had not yet been tested at depth, the wide distribution of abundant nickel metal balls and other factors indicates a large highly endowed primary mineralised system.
The Company is working closely with the Nigerian Government to ensure the project reaches its full potential for all its related stakeholders.
“To our knowledge, this style of high-grade native nickel metal deposit has not been previously documented,” Mr Morgan said.
“This could be very significant – in other places, such discoveries have changed countries,” he said. “We are being as transparent as we can with the Nigerian Government.
“We met with the Minister today at the Paydirt African Down Under conference and he understands the potential perfectly…..we were very impressed with him.
“The community is number one for us – making sure they are fully engaged.
“We have employed local people to do all our exploration work – we are not using machinery – so it provides employment opportunities for a number of locals.
“The project will be a big learning curve for everyone.”