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Everest Metals builds to rubidium benchmark at WA play

Samples at Everest Metals’ Mt Eden project ready for bagging. Credit: File

Everest Metals (ASX: EMC) has unveiled rubidium grades as high as 0.54 per cent in intersections stretching up to 103m from its Mt Eden critical metals project in Western Australia’s Mid West region, setting what it says is a new benchmark in the sector.

The company says the resource drilling assay results from near-surface position the project in Payne’s Find as arguably the highest-grade rubidium operation in the world.

The 14-hole drilling program, conducted at 40m spacing, aimed to define a mineralised wireframe and establish a maiden JORC 2012 mineral resource. The results show 12 holes with grades exceeding 0.2 per cent, with holes 45 and 35 recording exceptional grades between 0.3 per cent and the high of 0.54 per cent.

The figures sit favourably among the average resource grades of between 0.12 per cent and to 0.22 per cent found in other existing rubidium orebodies. Most striking, however, are the reported widths of the intersections, which include 90m from hole 45, 103m from hole 35 and widths ranging from 33m to 40m in three other holes – all from or near to the surface.

The resource drilling results solidify EMC’s Mt Edon project as one of, if not the highest-grade rubidium projects in the world. The project’s location at Paynes Find, directly adjacent to the Great Northern Highway and on a granted mining lease, further enhances its potential.
Everest Metals CEO and Executive Chairman Mark Caruso

Caruso said the company was on track to deliver an initial JORC resource for Mt Eden in the coming weeks on the back of it confirming last December an exploration target of 3.2 to 4.5 million tonnes grading at 0.23 to 0.35 per cent rubidium oxide.

It would appear the latest assay results have gone a long way towards firming up the company’s stated target, with mineralisation remaining open through a 550m strike length from south-west to north-east and within a 1.2km pegmatite corridor.

A total of 715 samples, with duplicates, were sent to both ALS laboratory in Perth and Certified Registered Material (CRM). Additionally, more than 160 samples have been submitted to ALS for quantitative determination of mineral abundance using Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, with results pending.

Everest is continuing its geometallurgical testing and mineralogical studies in a bid to characterise the mineral assemblage of rubidium-bearing minerals within the deposit. It includes extraction metallurgical testing at Edith Cowan University’s Mineral Recovery Research Centre (MRRC) using the direct rubidium extraction method.

With all results now received from the phase one program, the company has started planning a phase two infill and step-out resource definition campaign that is slated to kick off in late September.

Given the latest results, it would appear likely that once Everest has posted its maiden resource, it is likely to attract the attention of rubidium end-users, primarily from a defence industry keen to find an alternative source to China, which currently supplies 85 per cent of the market.

Everest is also busy with a bulk sampling program at its high-grade Revere gold project north of Meekatharra where it is building a 36,000-tonne stockpile ahead of processing. Additionally, it is spinning out its uranium assets in exchange for shares in a new float, Cobold Metals.

With so much going on at the Everest camp, management appears to have given itself a red-hot crack at kicking goals on multiple fronts in the near future.

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