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Chalice Gold Mines

Chalice Gold Mines’ recent application for 10 new exploration licences covering 2300sq/km in the Shire of Toodyay easily eclipses Yankuang’s bauxite tenements in our area.

The May edition of The Toodyay Herald ran a front page story (see below) outlining Chalice’s move to blanket peg the shire for nickel, cobalt, copper and palladium and provides an overview of the company’s aspirations to explore in environmentally sensitive areas including Julimar State forest which is close to Chalice’s 180sq/km live tenements in the West Toodyay area.

While the Julimar Project is in the early stages of exploration, the company told The Toodyay Herald that it would take from 4-8 months to gain State Government approval to drill in the forest and two to three years to establish if the resource is commercially viable for large-scale mining.

Toodyay environmental scientist Doug Blandford has advised AHMAG that:

“If the early work identified that the ‘resource’ would support a mine, and that markets were out there, then environmental investigations would be started. If done properly, this would take at least a couple of years and should, as a pre-mining minimum include:

  • Vegetation and flora
  • Fauna
  • Soil landscapes
  • Air quality
  • Local and regional light emission
  • Current climate and weather patterns
  • Surface hydrology
  • Surface water quality
  • Ground water resources
  • Groundwater quality
  • Transport infrastructure
  • Socioeconomic demographics
  • Land use for pastoral pursuits
  • Land use for national parks, reserves etc.
  • Pre-mining/disturbance noise environment
  • Air quality modelling associated with plume dispersion of pollutants, including stack emissions such as sulphur dioxide, dust and particulate matter

In coming months the negative impact of Covid-19 on the WA economy means the State government is more than likely to favourably view Chalice’s applications to explore in environmentally sensitive areas and we should all be concerned.

TOODYAY townsite and most of the shire has been blanket pegged for nickel after “spectacular” results from test drilling on a Julimar cattle farm two months ago. Chalice Gold Mines shares have 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 are “very important” metals for making batteries for Tesla and other electric cars, and palladium which is used in hydrogen fuel cells and to control vehicle pollution – all highly valuable commodities on world markets.

Chalice currently holds 180sq/km of active exploration tenements in the western part of the shire from Keating Road to Dewars Pool and has pegged a further 2300sq/km across covering most of the rest of the shire from Hoddys Well to Wattening, and Nunile to Lower Chittering and the border of Morangup. Chalice 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 about 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 Dorschas “a once in 10 years discovery”.

“If this turns out to be what we think it is, it will be pretty substantial find of strategic interest for Western Australia,” 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 for the same minerals near the Keating Road discovery.

“It’s what miners do,” he said.

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 new area being sought includes part of the Avon Valley National Park and several conservation reserves which would require special State permission for further exploration drilling.

Mr Dorsch said the location was unique because it was near an existing heavy freight rail link to a coastal port and close enough to the city for miners to sleep in their own beds at home and commute to work instead of having to work Fly In-Fly Out at a remote minesite.

The Julimar location was valuable also because Australia was a more stable and safer country in which to operate 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 could be worked by underground mining or open cut.

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 big enough to be commercially viable for large-scale mining.


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