The future is within Reach after huge 14.3% niobium hit at Wabli Creek
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In its bid to help alleviate the shortage of critical minerals in the world, Reach Resources has hit a consistent 2.5km strike of rare element pegmatite containing super high-grade niobium.
Eluvial samples from the explorer’s Wabli Creek project in the Yinnetharra mining precinct unsurfaced an astonishing 14.3% niobium pentoxide (Nb2O5) 6.7% tantalum (Ta2O5) 3689 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides (TREO) with 70.3% heavy rare earth oxides (HREO).
Niobium is a highly sought-after critical mineral thanks to its superb superconductivity, high melting point, corrosion resistance and wear resistance. It’s widely used in aerospace, superconductors, atomic energy and electronics.
Prices for niobium at the moment – especially niobium pentoxide – can fetch upwards of US$50/kg.
The new findings build upon past high-grade results Reach Resources (ASX:RR1) produced from Wabli Creek in December last year that showed 6.78% Nb2O5, 3.71% Ta2O5 and 2.57% TREO with 88% HREO.
Contracted independent geologists from RSC advised the company on the high-grade niobium and heavy rare earth oxides (HREO) results:
“The enrichment of heavy rare earth elements relative to the more incompatible light rare earth elements at Wabli Creek is significant,” the firm said.
“Such an enrichment is not typical for carbonatite, alkaline intrusions or clay-hosted REE mineralisation and is more commonly found in rare-element pegmatites such as (niobium–yttrium–fluorine – NYF) pegmatites.”
RR1 CEO Jeremy Bower said the outstanding results validated previous high-grade niobium and heavy rare earth element (HREE) results at Wabli Creek.
“Confirmation that the source of the mineralisation is a rare element pegmatite system presents a previously unrecognised opportunity, as NYF pegmatites occur within a granitic matrix as opposed to the established process of exploring for LCT pegmatites in the so-called ‘Goldilocks zone”.
“Whilst there is evidence of small-scale mining of niobium-rich eluvials at Wabli Creek, it appears there was no understanding of the source nor of the significance of a potential NYF pegmatite affinity in terms of HREEs.
“Consequently, to our knowledge, there has been no systematic exploration for this type of REE mineralisation in the region.
“What is exciting to our geological team is how we can take these lessons learned and apply them to further identified target areas within this tenement and our larger Camel Hill project.
“When we add the Wabli Creek niobium/HREE prospect together with our Morrissey Hill lithium project, the Yinnetharra region of the Gascoyne is proving to be an amazing and potentially mineral-rich area for the company and we are going at it full steam ahead.
RR1 is currently in the middle of a field program that includes detailed surface geochemical soil surveys, mapping the pits at Wabli Creek and following the HREE mineralisation along strike.
Geophysical work is also planned to follow the subsurface extent of the HREE mineralised body and a petrography study will characterise the mineralogy of the samples and determine the deportation of the HREE.
The company once regulatory approvals are received it will get the drills spinning around key targets during Q3 this year.
This article was developed in collaboration with Reach 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.