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CuFu delivers significant rare earth elements, 43.93% niobium, 15% tantalum and lithium results

The date of: 2023-08-23
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CuFe Ltd (ASX:CUF) has delivered significant initial rare earth elements, niobium and lithium rock chip samples during early-stage exploration at its North Dam Project in Western Australia. 

The project, which hosts numerous pegmatites ranging in thickness, is just 29 kilometres south of Mineral Resources’ Mt Marion Mine and 50 kilometres SSE of Coolgardie. 

First-pass investigations at North Dam have included general reconnaissance, outcrop mapping and rock chip sampling, with a significant area across the tenement yet to be covered.

Sampling and mapping

The company has investigated 40% of the outcrops within the tenement via rock chip sampling and geological mapping, confirming the presence of lithium caesium tantalum (LCT) type highly fractionated pegmatites. 

The broad rock chip sampling program has seen CuFu collect a total of 267 rock chips from North Dam across outcropping pegmatites and weathered regolith.

The sampling program, which included several field and reconnaissance trips, on the project’s E15/1495 tenement has produced sample results anomalous in rare earth elements of up to 1,770ppm total rare earth oxides (TREO), 43.93% niobium, 14.53% tantalum and up to 3,206ppm lithium oxide.

Management suggests that high niobium/tantalum columbite and tantalite chips that were collected from a shallow stream could indicate a nearby source location, a possibility that is under further investigation. 

A broad zone of weathered pegmatites has reported anomalous rare earth elements, with the critical rare earth oxides (CREO), neodymium and praseodymium oxide, making up to 37.8% of the TREO.

Tenement potential

CuFe executive director Mark Hancock said: “The results and speed at which our geology team have generated these results is very pleasing and while it's early days, show the potential of this tenement to host deposits of a variety of future-facing minerals.

'There is a lot of outcrop to cover across this tenement and the team is busy on the ground gathering information to help zone in on the more prospective areas, with the aim of planning subsequent drill programs and further works.”

The company will now continue exploration across North Dam with the aim to cover all the outcropping pegmatites. It will narrow in on target zones of anomalous lithium oxide that are supported by historical soils and auger work to define drill targets for the next level of exploration. 

With depositions of this nature in this area known to be depleted in lithium at surface, drilling is required early in the exploration process.

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