It’s more than an oddity, and quite like a hint but the suspicion that the recent solid assays from one hole Galileo Mining drilled at its Norseman prospect in WA has been confirmed as showing the presence of the rare metal, rhodium.
The company has suspected rhodium might be present at Norseman as the results from assays on what it calls its ‘discovery hole’ contained a selection of metals similar to that in South Africa which is the world’s leading miner of the metal.
Not that there’s a huge amount produced each year – an estimated 30 tonnes with South Africa accounting for most of that, followed by Russia.
Naturally, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, rhodium has joined other metals like palladium, platinum, nickel, cobalt, gold and copper – the so-called renewable metals – on every explorer’s hit list.
A series of three statements this month from Galileo have charted the discovery and the emergence of rhodium.
In a statement to the ASX on May 11, Galileo revealed that the single drill hole had struck 33 metres containing what seemed to be high readings of palladium and platinum (so-called 3E) plus some nickel and copper.
The company said the intersection was 33metres @2.00g/t 3E (1.64 grams to the tonne (g/t) Palladium, 0.28g/t platinum and 0.09g/t gold – Au), 0.32% Copper (Cu) & 0.30% nickel – Ni – from 144 metres.
“33 metre assayed intersection occurs within a wider 55 metre disseminated sulphide zone (126 – 181m) indicating the potential for a large mineralised system,” the company told the ASX.
Galileo said there were “geological similarities to South Africa’s extensive Platreef palladium-platinum-gold-rhodium-copper-nickel deposits.”
The company said further assays were awaited from five more drill holes and the “discovery hole samples are currently being assayed for rhodium and all other platinum group elements at the prospect now called ‘Callisto”.
On Thursday Galileo issued a further statement that said “All drill holes at the Callisto discovery return significant sulphide mineralisation with RC drill assays confirming palladium- platinum-gold-copper-nickel intercepts over wide intervals;
There was “Strong geological continuity between all drill holes with sulphides occurring at the base of an ultramafic sill” and the reported assays all occur within wider disseminated sulphide zones indicating the potential for a large mineralised system.”
All five holes mentioned in the May 26 statement had solid intersections ranging from a minimum of 12 metres to 28 metres, all with different grades but similar to the May 11 hole, NRC266.
Friday morning the company issued a third statement confirming that rhodium had been found: “Assays from discovery hole NRC 266 show rhodium values up to 0.094 g/t with average values across the 33m interval of 0.05 g/t.”
“Occurrence of rhodium is consistent with the interpreted mineralisation style at Callisto, Rhodium to be added to the assay suite for higher sulphide intersections in the upcoming drill program,” Galileo said.
Galileo’s CEO Director Brad Underwood said in Friday’s statement “The rhodium assays confirm the presence of this valuable metal within the Callisto mineralised system. With step out drilling expected to commence next week we will now be including rhodium in the assay suite for any further sulphide rich intersections.
“Based on the six drill holes completed so far at Callisto we anticipate more sulphide intersections in the next drill program and are hopeful that an increase in sulphide content will be matched by an increase in metal content.
“We are excited to be starting drilling again so soon after the recent discovery announcement and look forward to updating the market with results as they become available.”
The new (RC or Reverse Circulation) drill campaign is due to start Thursday, June 2 and will see a total of 20 new holes totalling around 4,000 metres with the priority area east of the discovery hole.