RareX’s (ASX: REE) flagship Cummins Range rare earth elements project has continued to generate positive news with assays revealing the presence of critical mineral niobium.
The company received niobium, phosphate and scandium assays from the first three infill holes, with results confirming niobium in “significant concentrations”, with a peak result of 1.39% niobium.
These returned 41m at 4% total rare earth oxide (TREO) and 21% niobium from 29m, including 29m at 5.2% TREO and 0.25% niobium; 12m at 1.7% TREO and 0.25% niobium from 3m, including 3m at 4.8% TREO and 0.57% niobium.
Another hole intercepted 36m at 4.6% TREO and 0.32% niobium from surface, including 3m at 25.1% TREO and 0.45% niobium from 15m.
RareX noted it has now received the full suite of elements from the first batch of assays from the recently completed infill and extensional drilling program that generated the “exceptional” thick and high-grade results reported last month.
Niobium enhances project economics
RareX managing director Jeremy Robinson said niobium commands a much higher price to REO and could enhance the project’s economics.
“With niobium trading fairly consistently at about US$40 per kilogram for much of the last decade, compared to an expected rare earth oxide price of US$15/kg, this could represent a significant by-product for the project,” Mr Robinson explained.
“Niobium is one of the 35 critical minerals identified by both the US and Australian governments as a mineral of strategic weakness due to their concentrated supply source – Brazil in the case of niobium,” he added.
RareX will now evaluate niobium as a possible by-product in any future operations. Assays also confirmed the presence of appreciable phosphate and scandium, which will also be assessed going forward.
Cummins Range REE project
Latest drilling at Cummins Range was designed to upgrade the current resource to indicated category as well as better-define the high-grade component within the deposit.
Cummins Range has an inferred resource of 13Mt at 1.13% TREO.
Today’s results are part of a 6,143m program with the remaining assays anticipated over the next month.