Impact Minerals (ASX: IPT) has reported high grades of the rare platinum group metals rhodium, iridium, osmium and ruthenium at its Red Hill prospect near Broken Hill.
This comes at a time of near record prices for the platinum group elements (PGEs) with rhodium now commanding US$6,700 (A$10,000) per ounce and iridium US$1,575/oz (A$2,444).
Seven drill hole results that had previously assayed only for palladium and platinum were subjected to new evaluation that returned the rare PGEs.
The seven holes were part of a previous 13-hole drilling program in which 12 holes returned “robust” widths and grades for palladium and platinum, together with significant gold, copper, nickel, cobalt and silver credits, within 100m from surface.
Impact said the tenor of Red Hill had been significantly upgraded due to the latest results.
A follow-up drill program is now being designed.
Rare elements vital for key technologies
The rare PGEs are used in many specialist hard-wearing alloys, electronics and in catalytic converters.
“Given the recent increase in the demand and price for many of the platinum group elements, palladium and rhodium in particular, the new assays upgrade the overall tenor of mineralisation,” Impact’s release stated.
The upgrade may also have a positive impact on any future development of the project.
The full-suite re-assays covered seven elements: rhodium, iridium, osmium, ruthenium, palladium, platinum and gold.
Results of bulk-mineable intercepts included 29m at 10.9 grams per tonne of the seven elements (7PGE), 2.3% copper and 0.4% nickel; 25m at 5.7g/t 7PGE, 0.9% copper and 0.6% nickel; and 32m at 5.2g/t 7PGE, 1% copper and 0.5% nickel.
Mineralisation “exceptional” on a global scale
Impact said these new PGE results again confirmed that the mineralisation at Red Hill and other prospects in the Broken Hill area, such as Platinum Springs and Little Darling Creek, were “exceptional even on a global scale”.
“This is because it is unusual to get such high grades of all the PGEs together, and in additional it also contains gold.”
The mineralisation extends over a strike length of at least 100m and to a depth of about 60m and is also open along trend to the north and south, as well as at depth.
This type of formation was created during the break-up of the supercontinent Rodinia about 800 million years ago.
At this time, explained Impact, what is now known as Broken Hill was close to what is now Jinchuan in China, one of the world’s major nickel-copper-PGE deposits, with its 500 million tonne resource base.
Current prices for other PGEs are US$400/oz (A$637) for osmium, US$270/oz (A$420) for ruthenium, US$1,750/oz (A$2,720) for palladium, US$780/oz (A$1,210) for platinum and US$1,700/oz (A$2,642) for gold.