Canadian company BlueBird Battery Metals has commenced initial exploration at its 100%-owned Ashburton cobalt project in Western Australia.
Located 315km south of Karratha and 950km north of Perth, the Ashburton project consists of four tenements (189km2), along the Talga Fault Zone (TFZ).
The tenements include more than 30km of strike length along the TFZ where previous surface sampling returned anomalous cobalt values greater than 0.10% Co associated with manganese mineralization for over 60km along the TFZ.
Under the first phase of exploration, ground reconnaissance mapping and sampling will be taken up, focusing on areas where historical surface sample results, collected by others, yielded anomalous cobalt values.
The company also intends to collect 15-30kg samples for analysis using acid leach analytical methods to evaluate the recoverability of the cobalt-manganese mineralization.
BlueBird president Gary Nassif said: “The company is eager to begin this initial phase of exploration at Ashburton. Emerging technological advancements in sulfuric acid leaching of manganese cobalt mineralization elsewhere in Australia is demonstrating considerable potential for robust recoveries producing a low cost, manganese-cobalt sulphate product.
“This initial exploration work, in addition to confirming and expanding the historical anomalous cobalt grades, will provide sufficient sample material to perform bench-scale metallurgical testing to confirm the viability of sulfuric leaching of the Ashburton mineralization.”
Cobalt and manganese mineralization occurs mainly within a 4km-thick sequence of sediments and dolomites paralleling the NW trend of the TFZ – a structural suture zone between the meta-sedimentary and meta-volcanic rocks of the Ashburton Basin with the meta-sedimentary and meta-igneous rocks of the Gascoyne Complex.
The initial exploration program will focus primarily on the Jessica Bore tenements, where historical sampling returned the highest number of anomalous cobalt values.
BlueBird expects results from the initial phase of exploration by the end of 2018.
BlueBird CEO Nav Dhaliwal said: “The commencement of field-based exploration across the Ashburton Cobalt-Manganese Project represents the first campaign undertaken across the property that specifically targets the cobalt potential.
“Cobalt results returned to date from the property are extremely encouraging and our goal with this initial phase of exploration work is to delineate the scale-potential of these targets.”