Whole shire pegged as Julimar find sends shares skyrocketing
By Ieva Tomsons and Michael Sinclair-Jones
TOODYAY townsite and most of the shire has been blanket pegged for nickel after “spectacular” results from test drilling on a Julimar cattle farm (marked with red dot on map, left) 30km west of the town.
Chalice Gold Mines shares skyrocketed 700 per cent last month amid claims that Julimar could become a major new nickel province of significant strategic importance for Australia.
The Julimar find includes high-grade nickel, cobalt and copper which Chalice said were “very important” in batteries for Tesla and other electric cars, and palladium which is used to manufacture hydrogen fuel cells and control vehicle pollution – all highly valuable metals on world markets.
The map shows that Chalice currently holds 180sq/km of active exploration tenements (marked green) in the western part of the shire from Keating Road to Dewars Pool and has pegged a further 2300sq/km (blue) covering most of the rest of the shire from Hoddys Well to Wattening, and Nunile to Lower Chittering and the border of Morangup.
The company is chaired by mining entrepreneur Tim Goyder, brother of AFL Chair and former Wesfarmers, Qantas and Woodside chair Richard Goyder who owns Glendearg Farm on the Bindi-Bindi-Toodyay Road.
Initial results from about a dozen Chalice test holes drilled 500m south of Julimar Road to a depth of 250m on an 800-acre Keating Road cattle farm were described this month by Chalice Managing Director Alex Dorsch as “a once in 10 years discovery”.
“If this turns out to be what we think it is, it will be a pretty substantial find of strategic interest for Western Australia,” Mr Dorsch said in an exclusive interview with The Herald.
“It looks like it could be a sizeable deposit of hundreds of millions of tonnes.”
Lower Chittering residents say they are concerned about increased traffic on Julimar Road if mining proceeds.
The Avon and Hills Mining Awareness Group (AHMAG) says it also has concerns about the Julimar project and is keeping a close watch on developments.
Mr Dorsch said his company had pegged most of the shire as a precaution to prevent rival companies pegging nearby for the same minerals.
Mining Monthly and Stockhead magazines quoted Mr Dorsch recently as decribing the results of exploration drilling at the Julimar site (pictured above) as “spectacular”.
He said main ore body was thought to lie in the shire’s west and extend into Julimar State Forest, where Chalice conducted preliminary electromagnetic aerial surveys before seeking permits to start test drilling.
The expanded exploration area being sought includes part of the Avon Valley National Park and several conservation reserves which would require special State permission for further drilling.
Mr Dorsch said Julimar was unique because it was near an existing heavy freight rail link to a nearby port and close enough to Perth for miners to sleep at home in their own beds and commute to work instead of having to work Fly In-Fly Out at a remote minesite.
It was valuable also because Australia was a more stable country than Africa’s Democratic Republic of Congo, where most of the world’s cobalt is currently mined.
Further drilling would determine whether the Julimar ore body suited underground or open cut mining.
Chalice currently has $25 million to fund further exploration.
Mr Dorsch said it would take 4-8 months to gain State Government approval to drill in Julimar State Forest, and two or three years to know whether the ore deposit was commercially viable to mine.