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Everest Metals spins drill bit as maiden rubidium resource looms

Updated: May 13

Everest Metals Corporation drilling at Mt Edon in WA’s Mid West. Credit: File

Resource definition drilling is underway at Everest Metals Corporation (ASX: EMC)'s Mt Edon critical mineral project in Western Australia’s Mid West region in a bid to firm up the existing rubidium exploration target to mineral resource status.

The target is between 3.2 and 4.5 million tonnes with a grade of 0.23 to 0.35 per cent rubidium – numbers the company hopes to swell in its looming maiden mineral resource estimate.

Management says its reverse-circulation (RC) drilling will comprise two phases, with the first kicking off immediately and the second slated to get underway in August or September.

Phase one will consist of 12 RC holes for 1400m of drilling at a 40m-by-20m spacing along strike of the orebody to feed a subsurface model that will spit out the maiden mineral resource for Mt Edon. Phase two will see 1600m of RC holes drilled at a tighter spacing, designed to support the classification of a high-confidence indicated resource that is planned for publication in this year’s December quarter.

The more we dig into the growing global Rubidium market the more excited we are to have this potential world-class deposit at the Mt Edon project, on a granted mining lease, just a few kilometres south of Paynes Find. Everest Metals Corporation chief executive officer and executive chairman Mark Caruso.

The Mt Edon project sits on the southern portion of the heavily-mineralised Paynes Find greenstone belt in WA’s southern Murchison region. The area contains rubidium and lithium mineralisation hosted within mafic country rock and within intrusive pegmatites.

During earlier RC drilling at the project, one hole came back with assays confirming more than 80m of rubidium oxide enrichment at 0.32 per cent and lithium oxide going 0.11 per cent from just 25m. It included a 9m-thick intersection grading a solid 0.47 per cent rubidium oxide from 87m.

And that head-turning hit was not on its own, with other intersections going as high as 40m grading 0.26 per cent rubidium oxide from 49m including 19m at 0.33 per cent, in addition to three higher-grade 2m zones grading 0.53 per cent rubidium oxide, plus lithium oxide.

Management argues that Mt Edon has the potential to be classified as a world-class rubidium-lithium project as its grades are in line with the best global rubidium occurrences. It says results seen in drilling to date are comparable with those from the Karibib pegmatite deposit in Namibia, which boasts a mineral resource of 8.9 million tonnes grading 0.23 per cent and the Guobaoshan deposit in China that has 234 million tonnes at 0.12 per cent.

Everest says its existing exploration target is defined by wide-spaced drilling that is insufficient to support either indicated or inferred resource classification. It also does not include any untested targets along strike or at depth.

The target also encompasses only a small portion in the north-eastern corner of the Mt Edon mining lease, measuring a mere 450m by 100m laterally and to 100m depth.

Encouragingly, the company says the exploration potential of the operation is excellent because pegmatite zones, which are the principal control on mineralisation, are mapped throughout the entire project area.

Rubidium is classified as an alkali metal and is designated as a critical mineral by the United States and Australian Governments due to its widespread application across biomedical research, electronics, specialty glass, pyrotechnics and military industrial applications. It is usually sold as a carbonate and goes for about $1800 per kilogram.

ASX punters jumped on the Everest buy side during today’s intraday trading, giving the company’s share price a boost of more than 18 per cent from yesterday’s close to hit a high of 11c on the back of its latest news. And with a maiden mineral resource on the horizon, it is an exciting time for management and shareholders, alike.

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