WA1 Resources hits more high-grade niobium at Arunta as nations scramble to find it

Tue 13 Dec 22, 12:10pm (AEST)
Spinifex bushes stand in the foreground of a large hill in the NT outback covered with scrub
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Key Points

  • Niobium is a transitional metal used in steelmaking, aerospace & defence, oil and gas, MRI machines, and more
  • The metal is listed as a critical mineral in the US, UK, Australia, India, and Japan
  • Seismic surveys are now underway at the Pachpadra prospect ahead of 2023 drilling at Arunta

WA1 Resources’ (ASX:WA1) critical mineral laden Artuna project continues to prove itself as a potential rare earths goldmine (excuse the pun) as the company’s exploration team unveil more high-grade niobium and tantalum hits on-site the Pachpadra prospect, a target within the larger Arunta envelope. 

The company found niobium for the first time back in October, which sent the company’s share price shooting up at the time. 

Now, new assays from that same drill target have confirmed early-stage evidence niobium may be broadly present on-site. 

WA1 first fired up the drills at Pachpadra back in August.

What has WA1 Resources found? 

Rare earths grades are difficult to apply to one blanket rule, given that the type of rock REEs are hosted in tend to be more important than how much of one material is contained within it.

Low grades in a host rock that allows for easy processing can often turn up more material than high-grade material in host rock that poses too many downstream costs. 

The REEs at Pachpadra are hosted in clays until 60m depth; deeper down, they are interpreted to be present within a larger carbonatite system. 

With that in mind, WA1 reports the following grades: 

  • 12m @ 0.66% niobium from 61m depth 

  • 05m @ 0.90% niobium from 65m depth 

The company’s October results included the following section: 

  • 54m @ 0.62% niobium from 162m depth, ending in: 

    • 01m @ 1.72% niobium 

While WA1’s latest batch of assays don’t replicate a 54m long thick section, the company continues to prove the acumen of its ability to identify mineralised areas. 

Still early days 

“The [acreage] hosts some very-high niobium grades, with the hole ending in the best grade yet we’ve seen at P2,” WA1 chief Paul Savich said, referencing the 1m section at 1.72% niobium. 

“Of particular interest is the substantial increase in tantalum and rare earth element anomalism…suggesting potential for both lateral and vertical mineralisation within the P2 carbonatite system.” 

Savich noted the company is currently planning ahead for its 2023 drilling program at the P2 target, where WA1 will continue to shore up confidence in its understanding of the niobium system present on-site the Arunta project.

A look at WA1's three month charts
A look at WA1's three month charts
Disclaimer: Market Index helps small-cap ASX listed companies connect with Australian investors through clear and concise articles on key developments. WA1 was a client at the time of publishing. All coverage contains factual information only and should not be interpreted as an opinion or financial advice.


Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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