Tambourah to test historic mining region for new critical metal opportunities

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By Colin Hay - 
Tambourah Metals ASX TMB Shaw River lithium tin tantalum rock chips

Tambourah Metals (ASX: TMB) has wasted no time in identifying the potential for a number of minerals critical to the global clean energy race.

The company has already identified lithium potential in pegmatite swarms and registered elevated tin in samples taken from dumps located at the Shaw River lithium-tin-tantalum project in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

Tambourah only recently purchased Shaw River and several other lithium exploration projects from Minrex Resources (ASX: MRR) in July and the company is moving quickly to gain a better understanding of an area known to host significant multi-element mineral riches.

To date the company has already successfully produced lithium readings of up to 180 parts per million and elevated tin results from 18 rock chips from a first pass examination of multiple pegmatites and historic tin mining dumps in the project area.

Multiple pegmatite swarms

Located 180km southeast of Port Hedland and 20km due east of the Tambourah gold and lithium project, the Shaw River project is part of the historic Shaw River tin field, which in 1975 produced 6,585 tonnes of tin and 548 tonnes of tantalite concentrates (containing 20.2 tonnes of tantalum oxide), with the greatest production from alluvial placer deposits.

Historical heavy stream sediment sampling outlined very high-grade tin-tantalum mineralised zones (up to 42.2% tin and 3.41% tantalum) within extensive pegmatite occurrences.

While there has been no historic lithium exploration activities in the project area, Shaw River is noted for containing abundant late-stage pegmatite swarms.

The current reconnaissance sampling and mapping program is examining a number of outcropping pegmatite swarms in the lead-up to a proposed drill program.

A critical metal triumvirate

Lithium is one of the hottest commodities on the global critical minerals markets at present, with the demand for electric vehicles and the lithium-ion batteries that power them surging.

The global lithium-ion EV market is forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 22.23% between 2022 and 2027.

Tin, one of the oldest metals mined by man, is now considered a base metal to follow thanks to its growing use in new technologies.

It is considered a “critical mineral” in domestic metallurgical applications and according to the International Tin Association (ITA) it will have a crucial role in enabling a sustainable global energy transition.

Tantalum, often found in association with lithium, is considered a critical and strategic metal based on the potential risks to its supply (because current production is restricted to only a few countries) and the significant effects that a restriction in supply would have on the defence, energy, high-tech industrial, and medical sectors.

Tantalum’s unique attributes make it suitable for several specific purposes. It has an exceedingly high melting point (about 3,000° C), is highly corrosion-resistant, alloys well with other metals, is superconductive for electricity and, most importantly, has an excellent capacity to store and release an electrical charge.

Tambourah gold drilling

Meanwhile, Tambourah, which is progressing exploration programs on multiple fronts, recently kicked off a reverse circulation (RC) drilling program at the nearby Tambourah gold project.

The company is testing a number of historic gold prospects as a follow up to a previous drill program in 2022.

Tambourah is focussed on assessing the potential of underexplored areas within the project that may host new zones of gold mineralisation.

A total of 20 RC holes are planned to be drilled for approximately 2,000m with plans to test for extensions of the gold mineralisation at several prospects.

First pass targets have been identified following an EM Loupe survey at the World’s Fair prospect.