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Krucible Metals bumps up heavy rare earth inferred resource at Korella in Queensland to 7.03Mt

Krucible Metals bumps up heavy rare earth inferred resource at Korella in Queensland to 7.03Mt

Krucible Metals’ (ASX:KRB) recent reverse circulation percussion drilling program at its Korella Yttrium Deposit in Queensland has returned a 65% increase to its JORC inferred resource to 7.03 million tonnes (Mt) at 0.96 kilograms per tonne of yttrium oxide.

A total of 47 holes were drilled for 2101 metres, comprising 1999 metres of reverse circulation percussion drilling and 102 metres of aircore.

A number of Yttrium enriched zones were returned from the recent drilling as well as from former holes that were not previously assayed for rare earths.

At lower cut-offs of plus-300 parts per million yttrium and 20% phosphate, the combined inferred resources equal about 22Mt, comprising 9.6Mt at 0.72 kilograms per tonne yttrium oxide and 8.3Mt at 27.3% phosphate.

At higher cut-offs of plus-500 parts per million yttrium and 25% phosphate, the combined inferred resources equal about 12Mt.

Modelling and interpretation of the drilling information has shown that there are two separate north-south zones of yttrium enrichment – the Eastern Zone and the Western Zone.

In the Eastern Zone, the enriched yttrium layer sits immediately above the high grade phosphate (plus-20% phosphate) layer or immediately to the west where the yttrium overlaps lower grade phosphate (usually less than 15% phosphate).

In the Western Zone, the yttrium zone is associated with clays/low grade phosphate at a low level that has been up faulted.

Krucible said there was also a third possible zone of yttrium enrichment, east of the Mehaffey Fault, where the mobile yttrium enrichment zones had not yet been adequately drill tested.

Anomalous Neodymium and Scandium values were also returned, one metre intervals up to 831 parts per million of Neodymium and 336 parts per million Scandium, from hole CBRC 161 which is open to the north.

In the Western Zone only about 1.8 kilometres of the 5 kilometre possible strike length has been drill tested to date.

Preliminary mineralogical test work has shown that the yttrium is contained in XENOTIME – this mineral occurs in a number of heavy rare earth elements deposits around the world and is usually amenable to hydro-metallurgical extraction.

Over the next six months Krucible will begin metallurgical test work from recent drill samples to determine likely value adding options, including beneficiation upgrades and acid digest – solvent extraction processes, as well as possible direct shipping ore.

Krucible said as long as the metallurgy could be solved, the shallow (20 to 40 metres) flat lying nature of the yttrium layers in relatively soft rocks should facilitate cost effective mining.

Geological/geochemical modelling of available data suggests that more zones of yttrium enrichment are likely to be delineated, both at Korella and in surrounding areas.

Korella is 150 kilometres south-east of Mt Isa, and located just 5 kilometres from the Phosphate Hill mine, owned and operated by Incitec Pivot (ASX: IPL).

Yttrium is critical to the production of super-alloys, super-magnets and super-conductors that are being increasingly used in high tech industries such as mobile phones, computers, laser communications and hybrid cars.

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