Chalice Gold Mines has agreed to acquire North West Nickel (NWN), which holds a portfolio of nickel exploration projects, including the Ruins nickel sulphide project in the west Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Under the deal, Chalice will acquire all the outstanding shares in NWN by issuing 7.5 million fully paid ordinary shares to NWN, which effectively reimburses NWN for costs incurred to date.

The acquisition opens up new district-scale nickel exploration opportunity for Chalice alongside the company’s existing high-profile gold projects in Victoria and Quebec.

Chalice will amalgamate the Ruins project into its new district-scale 1,800km² King Leopold nickel project.

The Ruins project is considered highly prospective for high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation, with various late-time airborne EM targets already identified and associated with Ruins Dolerite.

It is located adjacent to Buxton Resources’ Merlin project, where high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation (up to 8% Ni) has been intersected in Ruins Dolerite.

Airborne and ground EM work will start immediately, with drilling expected in the third quarter of 2019.

Chalice managing director Alex Dorsch said the outlook for nickel is exceptionally strong and there are very few advanced nickel sulphide projects out there to satisfy rapidly growing class-1 nickel demand.

Dorsch added: “The Ruins project is an ideal, drill-ready entry point into the King Leopold Orogen, which hosts new high-grade nickel sulphide discoveries. The presence of outcropping Ruins dolerite and co-incident EM targets along strike from Merlin immediately drew our attention, and we intend to commence drill testing these targets as soon as possible.”

The Merlin prospect of Buxton was discovered in 2015 and exploration activities have since then showed that Ruins Dolerite is a favourable host rock for high-grade nickel sulphides.

Apart from the King Leopold nickel project, Chalice’s two key gold projects are the 100% owned Pyramid Hill project situated in the high-grade Bendigo gold district of Victoria, as well as the East Cadillac project in the significant Val-d’Or gold district of Quebec.