Lycaon land access agreement green lights niobium, rare earths exploration in red-hot West Arunta
Exploration can now commence at Lycaon’s highly intriguing Stansmore project in the emerging West Arunta critical minerals province after a land access agreement was signed with the traditional owners.
Interest in West Arunta as a critical minerals province was ignited by WA1 Resources’ (ASX:WA1) exciting niobium-rare earths discoveries at West Arunta, which transformed the stocks from a 14c/sh junior explorer into a $5.50/sh mine finder in less than 12 months.
It unleashed a mad scramble from other explorers and miners to peg ground in the region.
This interest is simple. While rare earths (REEs) are well-known for their uses in modern technology – particularly magnet REEs for permanent rare earths magnets found in EVs — niobium is also seeing growing use in lithium-ion batteries, intelligent glass, solar panels, 5G tech, and nuclear energy in addition to its traditional use in making steel lighter and stronger.
Ferroniobium – the primary form in which niobium is sold – currently commands a price of about US$29,000/t.
Lycaon Resources’s (ASX:LYN) Stansmore tenement package covers 173km2 at the juncture of two major regional faults and offset from the major North Australian Craton Boundary, which is conducive for the emplacement of deep-seated intrusions like REE carbonatites and IOCG mineral systems.
It includes a 700m long magnetic feature, which the company’s describes as the most interesting magnetic anomalies outside of those present at the nearby project.
Previous aircore drilling by BHP Minerals in 1982 recorded shallow cover of between 5m and 10m.
Besides niobium and REEs, there is also potential for the project to host iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) mineralisation as indicated by geochronology completed by the Geological Survey of Western Australia at Encounter Resources’ (ASX:ENR) Worsley prospect.
With the land access agreements in place, Lycaon can now proceed with exploration of its ground.
The company has contracted Southern Geoscience to complete a geophysical inversion of the gravity and magnetic data to assist with targeting of drillholes ahead of a maiden drill program.
“We are extremely pleased to have finalised the land access agreement with the Parna Ngururrpa traditional owners at our West Arunta Stansmore project,” technical director Thomas Langley said.
“The formalising of the agreement is a key milestone for the company and could not have been done without the strong support of the Traditional owner board of directors, local community and Central Desert Native Title Services.
“The positive relationship built to date will all stakeholders bodes well for our future exploration efforts at Stansmore.”
Langley added that West Arunta is one of the last frontiers for major discoveries in Australia with the nearby identification of niobium and REE mineralisation associated with carbonatite intrusions signifying the extremely prospective and underexplored nature of the province.
This article was developed in collaboration with Lycaon Resources, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.