22 March 2024
by Sarah Morgan

AI helps find platinum in Australia

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been instrumental in finding platinum group elements (PGE) in Australia.

AI has aided the discovery of a platinum find in Australia. © RHJPhtotos/Shutterstock

In a partnership between Earth AI and Legacy Minerals (LGM), the first igneous PGE-nickel-copper mineralisation has been found in the Lachlan Fold Belt, New South Wales, Australia. They used Earth AI’s deposit targeting system.

The discovery has been made within LGM’s Fontenoy project.

The subsequent diamond drilling has made returns of a 34m intersection grading 0.5g/t PGE, with a high grade of 10m at 1.2g/t 3E PGE.

LGM entered into an exploration alliance agreement with Earth AI in May 2022, which will see Earth AI spend up to $4.5mln over two years on exploration at the Fontenoy and Mulholland projects in New South Wales.

The Fontenoy site has historically been drilled by other companies looking for shallow nickel laterite deposits but has not reportedly been tested for either PGEs or igneous-related mineralisation.

Earth AI’s exploration programme at the Fontenoy project discovered nickel sulphides in and around the Ordovician Moonbilleen gabbro – occurring in the centre of the tenement – in June 2023, leading to rock chip sampling, which returned a sample of pentlandite (nickel-iron sulphide). This returned an assay of 12ppb platinum, 11ppb palladium, 286ppm copper and 662ppm nickel.

Other rock chips returned up to 0.8% nickel, 8.3% copper, 585ppm cobalt, 0.21g/t platinum, 0.34g/t palladium and 0.28g/t gold.

This led to Earth AI launching a diamond drilling programme in September 2023 to test the nickel sulphide targets, as well as historical copper-gold intersections at Fontenoy.

LGM notes the strong nickel-copper-PGE surface anomalism encountered south of the discovery intersection is now a priority area for follow up.

LGM Managing Director Christopher Byrne says, ‘The key driver of this discovery is the implementation of AI through our alliance partner Earth AI. In their search for magmatic-related, nickel-copper sulphides and PGEs in an area previously known for its scandium-nickel-cobalt laterite deposits, this is genuine frontier exploration.

‘What is also impressive is that this is the first confirmed discovery of magmatic-related, nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation in the 700km long ultramafic belt that hosts the Fontenoy Project…While the Earth AI team is at an early stage in the discovery, the grades, width and extensive prospective strike length mean this discovery is wide open for further exciting news to come.’

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