CuFe (ASX:CUF) samples more tantalising North Dam niobium

CuFe (ASX:CUF) samples more tantalising North Dam niobium

June 18, 2024 Off By Jack Baker

CuFe has returned another intriguing taste of niobium and tantalum rocks from its North Dam lithium-niobium-rare earth-focused tenure in the Yilgarn lithium belt southeast of Coolgardie in Western Australia.

Columbite rock chip samples from pegmatite returned up to 47.1 per cent niobium and 9.01% of tantalum, building on earlier stream bed samples of 43.93% Nb and 14.53% Ta.

The anomalous niobium is in accord with outcropping pegmatites in a central area set to be tested with the drill as soon as next month.

CuFe Executive Director Mark Hancock said the recent work done by its team at North Dam had further illustrated the tenement’s potential.

“And although the results are from a columbite chip it shows the potential of the pegmatites across the tenement to host critical minerals other than lithium,” he said.

“We are eager to start our maiden drilling program to further understand the potential of the region.”

While a shared location in the lithium belt with Mineral Resources‘ (ASX:MIN) Bald Hill and Mt Marion assets provides an obvious focus, an early taste of niobium is nonetheless intriguing.

Niobium and tantalum share properties and are commonly found together, with pegmatites currently providing a minor part of Australia’s inventory as a byproduct of tantalum mineralisation.

While pegmatites tend to have lower reported grades than peralkaline-hosted deposits, niobium usually appears similar or lower to the associated tantalum, making for an interesting disparity in CuFe’s early sampling.

The recorded ratios at mines like Greenbushes have indicated a lower niobium-tantalum component for Yilgarn pegmatite, but data on the Australian subject still appears to be in relative infancy.

WA1 Resources and its pre-resource march from minnow to billion-dollar company has proven the value of new niobium frontiers and given others the impetus to see what the drill can unearth in their own territory.

CuFe has now completed soil sampling over targeted zones at its North Dam ground and the preliminary heritage survey is in ahead of its own first proper look into the Yilgarn.

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