Santa Fe Minerals encounters high-grade vanadium at Watson’s Well

Santa Fe Minerals ASX SFM vanadium Watson's Well
Outcrop of magnetite banding at Watson’s Well prospect.

Relisted West Australian explorer Santa Fe Minerals (ASX: SFM) has encountered vanadium pentoxide grading between 0.56% and 1.23% in samples from 5km of strike at the Watson’s Well prospect it picked up this year, which had historically been explored by BHP Billiton successor WMC Resources in 2004-05.

The Nedlands-based gold and base metals explorer also turned up one peak rock-chip at Watson’s Well which assayed at 1.64% vanadium.

In light of the rock-chip highlight’s grading, Santa Fe Minerals is now investigating the potential for Windimurra-style vanadium-magnetite-titanium mineralisation at the prospect.

The average grade of the 21 mag-lag samples it collected from the prospect was 0.96% vanadium.

Santa Fe Minerals said it had been able to replicate the WMC mag-lag sampling program and infilled it with nickel results in the 100 to 499 parts per million range.

Rock chips also delivered nickel in the same range, with two additional samples in the 500-999ppm range.

Santa Fe Minerals reported its efforts had confirmed vanadium potential at Watson’s Well and it would now prioritise the target.

“Near-term programs will involve infill soil/rock chip sampling and detailed geophysics, prior to drilling,” Santa Fe Minerals said in today’s statement.

The company added it would share a more detailed exploration program for Watson’s Well in the near future.

Re-debut

Santa Fe Minerals was established in 2000 and returned to the bourse in November 2017, with its closing price during the past seven months fluctuating between A$0.11 and A$0.19 on a generally upwards trend.

Since relisting, the A$13.47 million company has focused its efforts on mapping and sampling across its four main prospects, including Watson’s Well, to better refine drilling and geophysics targets.

Fenceline gold prospect

The company revealed today a new drilling program was imminent for its Fenceline gold prospect, part of its wider Challa North project, after mapping confirmed historic drilling conducted by the delisted company Apex Minerals (formerly ASX: AXM) “was ineffective”.

“During a recent mapping program, [Santa Fe Minerals] concluded that the main Fenceline vein dips 76 degrees towards 171 degrees, and historic drilling by Apex Minerals NL would have missed the structure,” the company reported. “Santa Fe Minerals plans to test the vein in the coming weeks by drilling up to six slimline (reverse circulation) holes from the southern side of the vein.”

A 9 ounce gold nugget was found at the Paynesville gold trend site, reported in August 2017, which is surrounded by the large historic gold mines Mount Magnet/Hill 50, Sandstone and Youanmi.

Santa Fe’s 1700m drilling campaign will take in both the prospect and its associated north-south fault zones over the coming weeks.

Yarrambie target

Santa Fe Minerals also reported it was planning an electromagnetic survey at its Yarrambie magmatic nickel sulphide target, where it had completed extra soil sampling and mapping.

The exact start date for the survey of the Challa South project’s nickel-copper-cobalt prospect will be revealed at a later date.

Mitchelton prospect

Santa Fe’s fourth prospect, Mitchelton, has delivered up to 13 parts per billion gold in rock chip samples taken along strike from the main workings.

The company said recent mapping around historic workings at the site had identified a shear structure outcropping along strike that could extend beyond the old shaft and drive for more than 500m.

Santa Fe added 8.11% to reach A$0.20 by late morning.

Amanda Ellis is a writer and business journalist with more than 20 years experience. She has been a staff writer for The West Australian and a journalist at numerous industry publications over the years, including a role as editor of BioTechnologyNews.