Lycaon locks in heritage survey near hot niobium property

Headshot of Michael Philipps
Lycaon Resources has booked a heritage survey for next month at its Stansmore project in WA’s West Arunta region.
Camera IconLycaon Resources has booked a heritage survey for next month at its Stansmore project in WA’s West Arunta region. Credit: File

With a niobium discovery again rattling the ASX market this week, Lycaon Resources is getting closer to launching its hunt for the lustrous metal in Western Australia’s West Arunta region after scheduling heritage surveys for next month.

Recent discoveries by WA1 Resources and Encounter Resources have demonstrated the potential for the West Arunta region to host significant niobium and rare earths mineral systems. WA1’s share price, in particular, went gangbusters on the back of the company’s niobium discoveries, jumping as much as a giddying 19,233 per cent.

And just yesterday, WA1 shares again jumped more than 27 per cent after it recorded positive metallurgical results from initial flotation testwork on assays from its Luni target to produce a high-grade concentrate up to 61 per cent niobium oxide, in addition to recovery levels of up to 62 per cent.

So, there is little doubt Lycaon will be keen to explore its nearby ground at its Stansmore project and management says it has now booked its heritage survey with Central Desert Native Title Services. The survey is set to begin on July 11 as the company aims to clear targets for ground-based geophysics and drilling next quarter.

Lycaon has previously received crucial approvals allowing it to plan exploration activities from WA Mines Minister David Michael and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti. The heritage survey will now focus on priority drill sites, ground-based gravity geophysical surveys and proposed access tracks to the project area.

We would like to thank the Central Desert Native Title Services and Parna Ngururrpa traditional owners for their efforts and cooperation to schedule this survey as soon as possible. We look forward to completing this survey with the Parna Ngururrpa people with the intent to clear targets for ground-based geophysics and drilling within Q3 this year.

Lycaon Resources technical director Thomas Langley

The company controls two exploration licences stretching more than 173 square kilometres in West Arunta, with historic work completed within the Stansmore project area and the broader region limited to exploration focussed on gold, copper and diamonds.

Just last month, management successfully raised $2.5 million in capital and also secured a $180,000 State Government grant to drill two holes to test the centre peak of two different magnetic anomalies at its Stansmore and Volt prospects. Lycaon says it was awarded the maximum grant under the State’s co-funded exploration incentive scheme (EIS) to test the deposits.

The co-funded holes will be drilled beneath cover that is obscuring radiometric responses and will test for iron-oxide alteration, copper, gold, niobium and rare earths mineralisation.

The Stansmore target is a prominent 700m-long magnetic feature, while Volt is a bigger magnetic anomaly about 3km in width. In addition to the co-funded program, Lycaon also has its sights set on sinking a further five drillholes to test a magnetic gradient of anomalies identified from a recent aeromagnetics survey.

Niobium is a ductile refractory metal that is highly-resistant to heat and wear. About 90 per cent of its use is within the steel industry, primarily as a micro alloy with iron to make steel lighter and stronger.

WA1 has recorded some outstanding hits in recent months at Luni including 7m at a mammoth 10 per cent total rare earth oxides (TREO) from 58m. Recent niobium hits are as high as 3m at 4 per cent from 28m, 73m at 0.8 per cent from 57m and 7m at 3.6 per cent from 58m.

Sitting next door to WA1’s holdings, previous drilling by Encounter has returned 12m at 2.3 per cent niobium pentoxide at its Emily prospect and a broad 282m going 0.54 per cent niobium pentoxide from its Crean prospect.

With the recent success of those companies and their niobium results, the market will be keeping a close eye on what Lycaon can uncover when its upcoming heritage survey is completed and exploration can begin in earnest.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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