The first reported regional exploration which covered the project tenement was undertaken by Westfield Minerals NL and Whim Creek Consolidated NL (Whim Creek), who were actively exploring from 1964 to the late 1970s. Several nickel-copper and base metal deposits and prospects were found but apart from some limited copper oxide open pit mining at Whundo in 1976, none of their prospects was developed into a mining operation.
From the early 1980s to 1992, Agip Australia Pty Ltd (Agip) took over from Whim Creek as the principal regional explorer. Their field activities included detailed mapping; soil geochemistry; aerial, ground and down hole geophysical surveys; and follow-up drilling. In 1988, an extensive aerial magnetic survey was flown at a line spacing of 100 metres which covered the project tenement. This contributed to the discovery of the Radio Hill nickel-copper deposit in 1984 and high grade silver deposit at Elizabeth Hill in 1987.
In 1993, Dragon Resources Ltd (Dragon) acquired some of Agip’s old ground, which included the area of the current project tenement. Dragon completed programs which included an airborne magnetic survey at 200 metres line spacing flown in 1994. Numerous targets were outlined for gold, nickel-copper, PGE and VMS mineralisation. Despite this, little detailed follow-up work was undertaken.
Dragon eased back on its West Pilbara exploration exposure in early 1998 with most of their relinquished ground subsequently picked up by Legend Mining Limited (Legend) in the early to mid-nineties. After 2005, Legend undertook a desktop aeromagnetic modelling study over the Cleaverville Formation BIF aimed at evaluating the magnetite potential of its entire Pilbara Project. The study was focussed on a 20 kilometre strike length of BIF within the Cleaverville Formation where 11 kilometres of which lies within the Osborne JV project area.
Further regional work by Legend was limited to carrying out several airborne VTEM surveys followed up by 12 ground EM surveys and some limited geochemical sampling. This work generated 10 priority targets requiring drill testing. Three targets, Paton, Hickmott and Osborne, lie within the Osborne JV project area.