A resources upgrade could be on the cards for Rafaella Resources with the first hole at its recently acquired tungsten project in Spain returning some tasty hits.

The company’s first hole at the Santa Comba project intersected disseminated wolframite – the most important tungsten ore mineral – about 60m along strike to the east from historical drill intersections.

Importantly for Rafaella Resources (ASX:RFR), the results come from outside the existing near-surface resource of 5.1 million tonnes at 0.203 per cent tungsten oxide and 0.014 per cent tin.

Assays returned an intersection of 3m at 0.359 per cent tungsten oxide from 43m, within a broader intersection of 7m at 0.221 per cent tungsten oxide from 39m; and a deeper hit of 3m at 0.305 per cent tungsten oxide from 64m, within a 18m intersection grading 0.12 per cent tungsten oxide from a depth of 64m.

Tungsten is a strategic metal that has the highest melting point of all metals and has major applications in machine tools (drill bits and cutting tools), as a toughener in steel alloys and for military purposes.

This result is certainly encouraging for the company, which had aimed the drill program squarely towards increasing both the size and confidence of the current resource.

Drilling will also provide detailed information it requires for proposed mining optimisation and the project feasibility studies.

The company has already completed 15 holes to date and is accelerating drilling by bringing in a third drill rig.

“The drilling is progressing rapidly with over 1,600 metres drilled since drilling commenced on the 16th of August. This initial hole has provided further confidence around our aspirations to expand the mineral resource estimate,” managing director Steven Turner said.

“We remain on schedule to complete our initial drill programme and deliver an updated JORC Resource by the end of Q1 2020.”

The lowdown on Santa Comba

Rafaella completed the acquisition of Galicia Tin and Tungsten, which owned 100 per cent of the Santa Comba project, in August this year.

The project appears to tick all the relevant boxes.

To start off, there is little need for any pre-stripping to get to the valuable tungsten ore in the near-surface resource while the underground mine has an existing high-grade resource of 234,000 tonnes at 0.95 per cent tungsten oxide and 0.28 per cent tin.

In addition, both the open pit and underground mine are fully permitted out to 2068.

Logistics is unchallenging as the project is located just 60km from a deepwater port and enjoys established infrastructure in place.

As the icing on the cake, there is already a buyer waiting in the wings with Geneva-based Transamine Trading – the oldest private independent commodities trading house globally – having already signed up to take up any and all production for three years.

READ MORE: This is how Rafaella landed itself a pretty lucrative tungsten mine

>> Now watch: 90 Seconds With… Steve Turner, Rafaella Resources.