WA1 Resources discovers ‘substantial’ niobium extensions at Luni prospect, also titanium
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WA1 Resources discovers ‘substantial’ niobium extensions at Luni prospect, also titanium

Jun 01, 2023

Remote region explorer WA1 Resources (ASX: WA1) says its Luni prospect is now demonstrating that it has a large and "extremely" high-grade niobium footprint.

Drilling has also led to substantial extensions of niobium mineralisation.

Luni is part of the company's West Arunta iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) project located in a remote region of Western Australia, 490km south of Halls Creek.

In the latest batch of assays, WA1 has received the highest-grade niobium intersection to date at West Arunta with a hole returning 42m at 2.7%, including a significant interval of 10m at 8.3% niobium oxide.

That hole was drilled 500m southwest of previously reported intersections.

Another hole assayed over 40m at 1.1%, including 8.0m at 3.0% niobium.

The company states there also further evidence of the high-grade, multi-commodity potential that exists at Luni with "significant" titanium mineralisation intersected in multiple holes.

These hits include 144m at 2.9% titanium dioxide, including a 67m interval assaying at 4.8%

Diamond drilling has now begun and, initially is focused on infill work for the maiden resource estimate which is expected to be released in the December quarter.

The new drilling program will also produce core samples for test work.

Managing director Paul Savich says 51 reverse circulation holes have now been completed at Luni.

"These latest assay results demonstrate that Luni now has a large and extremely high-grade niobium footprint which we are working to extend further," he said.

"We are also very pleased to have received initial mineralogy results reporting high purity primary niobium-bearing minerals."

These have strong liberation characteristics which Mr Savich says is a positive first step.

WA1 is planning a detailed metallurgical test work program that will use drill core samples.

This work will test a conventional flow sheet design similar to that method currently used by the existing three global major niobium mines (in Brazil and Canada).

Test work will also investigate the potential for scandium and tantalum and phosphate.

Previous work in the entire project area had been limited to exploration for gold and copper largely in the form of reconnaissance airborne geophysics, limited ground surveys and surface sampling.

Niobium is considered critical for technology and is primarily used in metallurgy as an alloy with steel to improve strength and resistance to corrosion.

This steel is particularly favoured for use in transportation infrastructure and gas pipelines.

It is also considered critical because of potential supply side risks.