Centaurus turns its dime on to a nickel play

Centaurus Metals boss Darren Gordon insists the company has not given up on its Brazilian iron ore project, but the explorer has firmly pivoted its attention to a new nickel sulphide play in the South American country
23rd January 2020
Resources Rising Stars

Centaurus Metals boss Darren Gordon insists the company has not given up on its Brazilian iron ore project, but the explorer has firmly pivoted its attention to a new nickel sulphide play in the South American country (reports The West Australian).

Centaurus struck a deal with Brazilian metals giant Vale in August last year to take control of its Jaguar project in exchange for a small upfront payment, prospective ground near the company’s Salabo copper mine, back-ended payments tied to production and a 0.75 per cent royalty.

Vale had drilled 55,000m of diamond core over 3.5km at Jaguar, amassing a non-JORC compliant resource of 40.4 million at 0.78 per cent nickel for 315,000 tonnes of contained metal.

But the mining giant considered the project to be of insufficient scale to warrant further attention.

When Centaurus approached Vale, it agreed to sell Jaguar largely on the back of the solid work the junior had done getting its Jambreiro iron ore project into a development-ready state and history of in-country experience in Brazil.

It’s a play reminiscent of Mincor, IGO and Panoramic Resources, which picked up discarded nickel projects around Kambalda from WMC 20 years ago, although Jaguar is undeveloped.

Centaurus is using electromagnetic surveying to target high-grade zones in the resource with diamond drilling.

It already has a good idea of the location of many of those zones courtesy of Vale’s historical drilling.

Vale was hoping for a large scaleable resource and a big mine, whereas Centaurus will hone in on the high-grade mineralisation for a smaller operation.

The strategy follows in the footsteps of the former Avanco Resources which developed an open-pit copper mine in the same Carajas province of Brazil before its takeover by OZ Minerals in 2018.

Centaurus is targeting a JORC-compliant resource at Jaguar by the middle of the year as it continues drilling with three diamond rigs over the region’s wet season.

It is also planning a pre-feasibility study before the end of the year, with nearly $10 million in the bank to pursue its plans.

As for Jambreiro, which Centaurus can’t progress further until it secures local offtake, Gordon is hopeful the company’s new relationship with Vale might be able to open doors.

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