Legend Mining Limited (ASX:LEG) completed a year of extensive exploration in 2017 in preparation for an intensive drilling program at its Rockford project in the Fraser Range.
Legend’s ground in the Fraser Range area of Western Australia is highly prospective for an ore body similar to Independence Group’s (ASX:IGO) Nova-Bollinger project.
The company has commenced an extensive follow-up 100-hole, 8,000-metre aircore drilling program at its Area D prospect.
Exploration activities completed during 2017 at Area D comprised a broad-spaced aircore drill program aimed at testing a range of aeromagnetic and gravity features interpreted as possible mafic/ultramafic intrusions.
2017 suggested postcode was right
The program comprised 41 holes over about 3,500 metres with drilling undertaken at 400-metre intervals along a 7.6-kilometre east-west baseline.
Highly anomalous nickel, copper and cobalt returns were recorded.
From a geological perspective, petrological examination of the bottom of hole sample from one drill hole (RKAC151) provided some insightful information.
The host rock was identified as a weathered olivine-rich gabbronorite orthocumulate, the host rock for nickel-copper mineralisation at the Nova deposit.
More than just a ‘nearology’ story
Consequently, this isn’t just a ‘nearology’ story, there is geological evidence to draw parallels between the mineralisation being targeted by Legend and that present at Nova Bollinger.
But evidence of this has strengthened even further in 2018.
Infill aircore drilling was planned adjacent to drill hole RKAC151 and another drill hole (RKAC167) to determine the extent of the anomalous nickel-copper-cobalt footprint.
Same address, same shareholder
Not only is Legend sharing a similar address to Nova-Bollinger, but the very man who was behind Sirius Resources when it struck the jackpot has a substantial interest in Rockford.
A doyen of the Australian mining industry, particularly in terms of finding new deposits, Mark Creasy, had a 35% stake in Sirius Resources, the developer of Nova-Bollinger.
Creasy is Legend’s joint venture partner in the project with a stake of 30%.
Creasy sees long-term value in Nova-Bollinger type discoveries
Of course, Sirius Resources was subsequently taken over by Independence Group in a cash and shares acquisition valued at $1.8 billion.
This saw Creasy transform his 35% stake in Sirius to an 18.6% shareholding in Independence Group at the time of the takeover.
This not only made him the largest single shareholder in Independence Group but in doing so, it demonstrated a show of confidence in the long-term future of Nova-Bollinger.
Similarly, Creasy has demonstrated his confidence in Legend’s assets and its management team.
Creasy himself, and through a range of indirect interests, has a 28% stake in Legend Mining, as well as having a 30% stake in the Rockford joint venture.
Early drilling results trigger share price rerating
Setting aside Legend’s high-profile territory and its well-credentialled personnel and stakeholders, 2018 couldn’t have started better for the group.
Outstanding results have been returned from Area D, serving to validate earlier comments made by managing director Mark Wilson who said: “We feel we have found the haystack and are now working our way to the needle.”
Promising aircore assays, along with information regarding petrology that fits the mould has provided additional confidence.
A feature of the first three drill holes of the current Area D aircore drilling program was hole RKAC183, assaying 14 metres at 0.37% nickel, 0.43% copper and 0.03% cobalt from 72 metres to end of hole.
A watershed moment for Legend
Commenting on this, Wilson said: “The results from hole RKAC183 are a watershed moment for Legend at its Rockford project and for exploration in the Fraser Range in general.
“The tenor of the nickel, copper and cobalt assays along with the presence of sulphides, make this hole appreciably better than RKAC151, 200 metres to the south.”
Remember, it was RKAC151 that caused a considerable amount of excitement in 2017, so much so that the company’s shares nearly doubled from 1.6 cents to hit a 12-month high of 3 cents.
The news was released on December 11, 2017, and you can see the share price response below.
The April share price spike was triggered by the release of results from RKAC183.
The geological features of the host rock, once again, are favourable for the presence of nickel and copper mineralisation, similar to the Nova-Bollinger deposit.
Wilson sees parallels with Nova
Wilson said that this was potentially the most significant published result since the Nova discovery hole in the Fraser Range.
The weathered sulphide supported by the anomalous nickel and copper assays in RKAC167 support Legend’s belief that the greater Area D has the potential of containing a number of mineralised intrusions.
While there have been many companies claiming to have stumbled on the next Nova-Bollinger, Proactive Investors has sifted through the history books to see how close the comparisons are for Legend shareholders.
Making a like-for-like comparison with Nova-Bollinger
Firstly, it is essential to draw like-for-like comparisons with the type of drilling - the latest results from Legend are from aircore drilling.
When the then owner of the Nova-Bollinger deposit, Sirius Resources (at that stage referred to as ‘The Eye’ prospect) released its aircore results in May 2012, the best return was 8 metres at 1% nickel and 0.1% copper (see SFRA0468).
The other two prominent results were 7 metres at 0.49% nickel and 0.1% copper (SFRA0450), and 3 metres at 0.45% nickel and 0.1% copper (SFRA0457).
Nickel up there while copper streets ahead
In comparing these results with RKAC183, the first aspect to bear in mind is that the width of Legend’s intersection is almost twice the size of the best two results from Nova-Bollinger.
While the nickel from the Nova-Bollinger 8-metre intersection was very high at 1.06%, the 0.37% nickel at RKAC183 was still not far shy of the two other intersections.
A standout feature for Legend is the much higher copper grades.
The best of the Nova-Bollinger copper grades featured in the top three results were 0.12% compared with 0.43% copper at RKAC183.
Sirius responds aggressively
However, harking back to Sirius’ response to these results, the company moved quickly to reverse circulation drilling.
What Sirius deemed as the reverse circulation ‘discovery hole’ (SFRC0024) was drilled only 200 metres from aircore hole SFRA0494 which graded 2 metres at 0.58% nickel and 0.01% copper.
The discovery hole returned 4 metres at 3.8% nickel and 1.42% copper.
It was this result that sent the company’s shares from 5.7 cents on the previous trading day to 45 cents when the news was announced on July 26, 2012.
In the ensuing three weeks, its shares increased three-fold to $1.49, and in the next three months more than doubled again to $3.20, effectively a gain of 5,500% in just over four months.
Future drilling programs
As Legend strives to follow in the footsteps of Sirius, it will be undertaking further infill drilling to define the extent of the anomalous nickel-copper-cobalt footprint around holes RKAC183 and RKAC167.
The company will also be conducting additional drilling to assess other aeromagnetic and gravity features at Area D, particularly targeting mafic and ultramafic bodies.
Wilson said: “The results of this drilling program, which will take several months to complete, will assist in the selection of priority locations for Legend’s innovative moving loop electromagnetic surveys (MLTEM).
“The MLTEM surveys will identify the deeper targets for RC/Diamond drilling later this year.
“The deeper drilling is the potential discovery phase for Legend.”