WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1) has announced promising results from its exploration at its West Arunta Project in Western Australia, with assay results indicating a significant extension of high-grade mineralisation across the western portion of Luni and the best niobium intersections obtained to date.
Figure 1: Luni plan view with drill collar locations and new significant intersections
WA1 West Arunta Project Drilling Highlights
The drilling campaign entailed 12 reverse circulation (RC) drillholes completed across the Luni Carbonatite, also referred to as the Sambhar Prospect Area.
The Company now reports a total of 165 RC and 21 diamond drillholes have been completed at the Luni, with assays returned from 59 holes.
Of significance, the results reported today include the best niobium intersections to date at the Project, obtained through broad step-out drilling located 400 metres from previously reported results.
The Company has outlined the following highlights:
- LURC23-002 from 61 metres: 31 metres at 4.6% Nb2O5
- LURC23-066 from 72 metres: 41 metres at 2.8% Nb2O5
- LURC23-062 from 46 metres: 37 metres at 2.5% Nb2O5
- LURC23-062 from 96 metres to EOH: 18 metres at 1.4% Nb2O5
- LURC23-005 from 124 metres: 20 metres at 2.5% Nb2O5
- LURC23-003 from 81 metres: 44 metres at 1.9% Nb2O5
Analysing the Results
The results from this drilling substantially increase the extent of the high-grade footprint interpreted at the West Arunta Project with the surrounding assays (LURC23-062, 005, 003) supporting a new broad zone of mineralisation.
They also indicate the potential for a continuation of extension 400 metres west of previously reported intersections of 42 metres @ 2.7% Nb2O5, ascertained through the promising results returned by Hole LURC23-066.
This increases the potential size of the mineralisation found at the Project presenting further exploration opportunities for the Company.
The drillholes continue to support the interpretation of a high-grade blanket of niobium mineralisation across a large area of the Luni carbonatite.
Figure 2: Luni carbonatite plan view of completed and planned drilling with significant intersections to date
The Luni Carbonatite
The campaign results played a crucial role in delineating the extension of high-grade niobium mineralisation in the western section of the Luni Carbonatite.
The recently defined high-grade mineralisation in drillholes LURC23-002, 003, 005, 006, 057, 062, and 066 consistently coincides with the transition zone between upper and lower saprolite. This alignment is a typical feature of the oxide mineralisation observed throughout the enriched horizon at Luni.
The Company is currently awaiting assay results for two key areas: the 100-metre infill region in the east and the 200-metre step-out area in the western part of the inferred carbonatite. These results are expected to be reported in the upcoming month.
WA1 provides an update on the ongoing progress of RC and diamond drilling at the Luni Carbonatite, with the goal of completing all necessary drilling by year-end for inclusion in a Maiden Mineral Resource Estimate. The remaining drilling in this campaign is focused on refining and restricting the extent of the mineralisation.
Additionally, infill RC drilling will be completed within the southwestern zone highlighted by the results reported to test the shorter-range continuity of the identified high-grade mineralisation.
Niobium & Growth Opportunities
Niobium, a crucial metal with distinctive properties, plays an essential role as the world moves towards a low-carbon economy. Yet, the global supply is heavily centralised in Brazil, where approximately 90 percent of the world’s production takes place.
The demand for niobium products spans across various industries and applications, indicating a growing need in a world transitioning towards sustainability.
Niobium pentoxide (Nb2O5) represents a significant key growth market, especially given the recent developments in lithium-ion battery technology to utilise niobium to substantially reduce charge times and enhancing battery life.
WA1 recognises the potential this market offers as it continues on its mission to discover Tier 1 deposits in Western Australia.
WA1 Comments on the Campaign
WA1 Resources’ Managing Director Paul Savich said the latest round of assay results, which includes a number of its highest-grade niobium intercepts to date, further expands the mineralised footprint and continues to establish the potential global significance of Luni.
“Our understanding of the geological model at Luni continues to evolve and these results suggest thickening of the high-grade and flat-lying blanket of enriched mineralisation along the interpreted southern margin of the carbonatite complex,” he said.
“Upcoming drilling will focus on both assessing the internal continuity of mineralisation in this zone and additional drilling in the southeast to test the potential for additional high-grade mineralisation in that position. This work will add to the Mineral Resource estimation process and geological domaining at Luni.”
WA1’s Australian Stock Exchange-listed share price has risen 14.464% and is currently trading at $6.410(10.30am UTC+ 8 hours).