• Summit Minerals is getting boots on the ground and fast in bid to make niobium and rare earths discovery at newly acquired ground in Brazil’s Paraiba State
  • In country geology team appointed to lead ground and drone survey and sampling program at the Ecuador Niobium and REE project, where niobium pentoxide grades upwards of 30% have been assayed in previous surface sampling
  • Summit announced the acquisition of tenements in Brazil’s critical mineral rich Paraiba and Minas Gerais less than one week ago


Special Report: Summit Minerals is ready to put boots on the ground in its quest to make the next major niobium discovery in Brazil’s Paraiba State, kicking off exploration at its Ecuador niobium and rare earths project.

Due diligence has been completed by Summit (ASX:SUM) over the ground, where extraordinarily high niobium concentrations have been found in surface sampling.

They include assays at Juazerinho of 355,400ppm or 35.54% niobium pentoxide and 14,080ppm rare earths oxides for 1.408% PREO, and 107,100ppm or 10.7% Nb2O5 and 142,080ppm pREO (14.208% pREO).

At Ecuador a standout sample contained 303,400ppm Nb2O5 (30.34%) and 15,130ppm pREO (1.513%).

A locally based geological team in Brazil is expected to start on-site exploration activities and start drill permitting processes immediately.

Early exploration techniques will include geological mapping, outcrop and sub crop channel sampling, trenching and pitting, with a high resolution drone survey also planned to define geological signatures that will help along with ground mapping and geochemistry to identify initial priority drill targets.


Fast off the mark 

Summit has wasted little time getting off the mark with activities in Paraiba, having only announced the ‘transformational’ acquisition of the niobium projects alongside the Hercules lithium, Aratapira REE and T1-T2 REE projects in Minas Gerais last week.

Just nine of the 17 rare earth elements were analysed at Ecuador and Juazerinho by previous owners, suggesting actual concentrations could be higher.

Meanwhile, numerous LCT pegmatites have already been observed, demonstrating their potential to host not just niobium but other critical minerals like tantalum and lithium.

“Over the last few months, we have assessed many options for project acquisition and have chosen these highly prospective and large-scale projects within the established mining-friendly jurisdiction of Brazil,” Summit MD Gower He said after announcing the acquisitions last week.

“Additionally, Brazil, being a relatively geopolitically neutral jurisdiction, should provide us with unrestricted access to global off-take and funding options, giving our projects the best chance of success within the macro environment.

“In addition to some of the strong historical grades, we received great observational reports from our recently completed on-site DD, from which we await rock chip and soil assay results.

“Expansive exploration programs are already being planned as we look to rapidly develop our projects, giving ourselves the highest chance of success.”

Historical near surface mining operations have already been undertaken in Paraiba, notably at the Ecuador tenements.

Brazil hosts an incredible 98% of the world’s active niobium reserves, with local firm CBMM producing the vast bulk of the world’s supply from its headquarters in Araxa, Minas Gerais.

A refractory metal that is highly corrosion resistant, niobium is largely used as a micro alloy to harden steel, but is also used in superconducting magnets in MRI scanners, nuclear magnetic resonance equipment and the Large Hadron Collider.

It trades at around US$40/kg in ferroniobium metal form in China including taxes and over US$60/kg for niobium pentoxide.



This article was developed in collaboration with Summit Minerals, 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.