Krakatoa Resources Limited (ASX: KTA) has further expanded its Dalgaranga critical metals project in Western Australia with new acreage additions.
The company was granted an additional exploration license E 59/2389 in June and was recently first drawn in a ballot over numerous graticular blocks within the application of exploration license 59/2503.
CEO, Mark Major, said both areas significantly expand the exploration potential around the historic Dalgaranga tantalum mine including the known (previously mapped) pegmatite swarms to the south.
Our resolve in the potential of the Dalgaranga project has been strengthened with rising demand, prediction of further demand and price increases of critical and strategic metals,” Mr Major said.
“This demand is stemming from the rapid evolution of the world’s advancements in technologies of vehicles, telecommunications, and renewable energy. Add to this, the recent federal governments initiation to establish a $2 billion loan facility for domestic critical minerals projects, we are well positioned to tap into this market.
“The company recognised the projects potential back in 2016 when it acquired the initial Dalgaranga asset which is known to have significant remnant material outside the historical shallow pit and discovered the presence of other critical metals. Since then, we have been securing additional ground which is all prospective.
“We now have a perfect storm. The Rubidium market is currently selling at around $1.4 million per tonne; tin, lithium and niobium have all increased significantly in price over the last five years and tantalum is still holding strong.
“Mix this with the Dalgaranga pegmatites having some of the highest, if not highest rubidium grade material in Australia, shareholders are set to be substantially rewarded.”
Dalgaranga was discovered around 1961 and subsequently underwent small scale mining, including alluvial mining, over many years, producing tantalum, beryl, tin and tungsten. Lithium and Niobium were not considered as metals of importance until the 2000’s, when mechanised mining was undertaken.
Rubidium has never been considered until Krakatoa identified large zones of high-grade rubidium enrichment in rock chip samples and drilling during the 2016-2017 field activities. Historically the mine area exploration was focused on selective elements.
Back in 2016 Krakatoa identified that other speciality metals elements were present in high concentrations, which may prove viable for mining In 1999 Australasian Gold Mines (renamed Tantalum Australia Pty Ltd in 2002) carried out close-spaced shallow resource drilling, determining that the tantalum bearing pegmatites are stacked vertically to a depth of at least 100m.
Mining of the Dalgaranga open pit for Ta occurred from 2001 to 2002, processing via a pilot plant finished in 2003. The mine was placed on care and maintenance in 2005 and infrastructure has been partially removed. The Dalgaranga open pit is approximately 200m long, 40m wide and up to 15m deep.
Krakatoa has commenced a comprehensive review of historical exploration data in and around the historical mining areas by past operations and explorers. The extensive drill hole database of around 400 holes is now being interpreted and modelled to determine the near mine potential of the known pegmatites.
A comprehensive announcement will be made once this work is completed. High-grade Rubidium Krakatoa completed 11 vertical RC drill holes (1,066 meters) along strike and down plunge extensions of the historical mineralised zone (near mine), confirming the existence of the body extension. This work returned large zones of high-grade rubidium enrichment with a peak value of 4943.3ppm, and the existence of Tin, Tantalum and Niobium within the mineralised pegmatite, which is the extension of that previously mined within the historical open pit. Widespread Pegmatite Swarms Locally at the Dalgaranga mine area, mapped pegmatites occur over an area spanning at least 2 x 0.4 kilometres.
To the southeast, an outcropping pegmatite swarm continues south of P59/2082 onto P59/2142 and E59/2503. They crop out over a NE-SW strike length of roughly 500 metres by up to 250 metres wide and consist of numerous thick bodies up to 50 metres wide. Some feature shallow workings and none have been drilled to date.
The presence of critical metal minerals such as tapiolite, tantalite, columbite, zinnwaldite and lepidolite (lithium-bearing micas) were recognised during field mapping and confirmed anomalous critical metals during the rock chip sampling programmes completed in late 2016 to mid-2017. Opportunistic rock sampling over this period was previously reported in June and August 2017 revealed the presence of anomalous rubidium (peak values of >5,000ppm (sample AD004) and 3463.9ppm Rb (sample 17D022)) Tantalum (1,854ppm Ta2O5 (sample 16D016), and Niobium (725ppm NbO in sample 16D005) within the mine and southern pegmatite area.
The extension of the southern pegmatite swarm and mapping of the systems to the south is ongoing part of the exploration program for the Company. Other areas of interest identified using geophysical and Aster imagery have identified priority target areas.
The Dalgaranga area is considered prospective for tantalum, lithium, niobium, tungsten, tin, and rubidium. Historical mechanised mining produced tantalum, beryl, tin and tungsten from a shallow open pit during 2001 and 2002.
The rise in demand and prices of the currently identified speciality metals has risen over the last few years, to level which may provide opportunities for the company to investigate potential for extraction.
The expansion of Krakatoa’s land holding has also brought the Company closer to this ambition. The company is encouraged by the recent reconnaissance visits over the new tenement as well as the results of the company’s 2017 maiden drill campaign and sparce mapping and rock sampling.
The company is reviewing the project and its understanding of the LCT (Lithium-Cesium-Tantalum) Pegmatite and associated distal pegmatites at Dalgaranga, including the geochemical zonation patterns associated within the areas to advance exploration on the property to target further rubidium, tantalum, lithium, tin and niobium mineralisation. All regional targets will be defined, and further mapping and geochemical exploration will be carried out over the granted tenure.
Right now, the vompany is completing modelling of the drilling data within the historically drilled areas to develop a drill program to potentially delineate a critical metals resource.