Platinum group metals explorer Podium Minerals (ASX: POD) has identified a consistent concentration of rhodium from the re-assay of drill hole samples at its Parks Reef project in Western Australia.
According to the company, samples from seven drill holes from the western and eastern sectors of the project were re-assayed and returned grades of up to 0.16 grams per tonne of rhodium.
The drill holes were initially assayed for platinum, palladium and gold, with the results incorporated into Podium’s recently expanded inferred mineral resource for Parks Reef.
The resource estimate increased by 54% to now total 1.14 million ounces of combined platinum, palladium and gold, plus base metal credits with 37,300 tonnes of copper.
The rhodium market
Prices for rhodium, a platinum group metal used to clean nitrogen oxides from the exhausts of petrol and hybrid electric vehicles, have been on a continuous upward trend since 2016.
According to Podium, demand for the metal rose by 10% during 2019 as more stringent vehicle emission regulations were adopted in most major automotive markets.
At the same time, the rhodium market has suffered from declining mine supply, thus pushing prices up from US$2,460 per ounce at the start of 2019 to the current price of US$12,700/oz.
Production is dominated by South Africa, which produces about 83% of the world’s supply, followed by Russia and Zimbabwe.
Future rhodium resource
Podium said the rhodium results cannot be included in the Parks Reef mineral resources based on the limited testing completed to date.
However, the company has stored samples from all of its completed drilling campaigns to allow future testing to be conducted when required.
“The company will likely complete this work when it proceeds with in-fill drilling to upgrade the resource confidence to indicated category, at which time it would look to release a 4E PGM (platinum, palladium, gold and rhodium) mineral resource estimate,” Podium stated.
By afternoon trade, Podium shares were up 18.92% at $0.044.