EXPERIENCED PNG minerals explorer Highlands Pacific Limited and two international partners are to undertake a new nickel exploration campaign in Sewa Bay in Milne Bay Provine.

Highlands with be joined by Japanese  trading house the Sojitz Group and Japanese company Pacific Metals Co. Ltd.,to advance to the next stage of exploration at Highland’s Sewa Bay where significant nickel mineralisation previously has been identified.

The exploration activity will include an airborne laser and imagery (LIDAR) survey over the 200 sq km tenement area, to provide detailed topographical mapping.

The exploration programme will be funded by Sojitz and Pacific Metals, and follows an extensive augur drilling programme carried out in 2015, which encountered intercepts including:

  • 1.1 metres at 1.61% Ni from surface;
  • 1 metre at 1.43% Ni from surface;
  • 2.4 metres at 1.42% Ni from surface;
  • 1 metre at 1.41% Ni from surface; and
  • 1.9 metres at 1.4% Ni from surface Highlands Pacific managing director John Gooding said that two main areas of mineralisation above one per cent nickel were identified covering an area of seven square kilometres. as a result of the auger drilling programme.

Mr Gooding said the ongoing commitment of Sojitz and Pacific Metals provide the opportunity to press on with further work to investigate the exciting prospectivity of the Normanby Island tenements.

“We are delighted to be working with Sojitz and Pacific Metals to continue exploration at Sewa Bay, as we remain optimistic that the area has the potential to host a significant nickel laterite deposit,” he said.

Highlands Pacific’s Exploration Licence EL-1761 is located on Normanby Island near Esa’ala and Sewa Bay in the Milne Bay Province. Highlands Pacific has held the licence since March 2012.

Highlands currently has an exploration tenement covering the western portion of Normanby Island in the D’Entrecasteaux group of Islands in Milne Bay Province.

The ground was taken up to explore the potential of known nickeliferous laterite that has developed over exposures of Cretaceous Ultramatic rocks.

A scout soil auger programme undertaken in July 2013 confirmed the extent of the ultramafic bedrock (dunites and pyroxenites) and the wide spread development of laterite soil over these rocks.

Thickness of the laterite soil varied from 0 metres on the slopes to +3 metres over the low relief benches and hilltops.