WA1’s Niobium Discovery in West Arunta

WA1’s niobium boom – Australian Mining

WA1 Resources has announced significant high-grade intercepts from the Luni carbonatite within its West Arunta project in Western Australia.

Luni, situated 490km south of Halls Creek, was discovered in November 2022 during WA1’s initial drilling program in West Arunta. Drilling at Luni has so far revealed a shallow layer of high-grade niobium mineralization.

Assays from eight broad-spaced reverse circulation drill holes and 23 diamond drill holes have provided WA1 with a further definition of the niobium mineralization at Luni. This data is in preparation for the initial mineral resource estimate, which is expected to be released later this month.

“Today’s results provide the final assays for input into an initial mineral resource estimate, which will provide further insight into the immense niobium endowment discovered at Luni,” said WA1 managing director Paul Savich.

Currently, two drill rigs are operating at Luni, concentrating on extensional and infill drilling and metallurgical sample recovery rather than expanding the resource’s size.

“Drilling is ongoing at Luni and we are still undertaking broad 200m-spaced grid drilling which is better defining and extending the bounds of Luni’s mineralization,” Savich stated. “Samples are also being collected for future metallurgical test work. Drilling will then move to infill activities to increase the resource confidence level and support mine planning and economic evaluation.”

Niobium is one of 31 minerals listed on Australia’s critical minerals list, which highlights minerals essential to low-emission technology, the economy, and national security, and whose supply chains are susceptible to disruption.

According to Geoscience Australia, approximately 90 percent of niobium is used in the steel industry, primarily as a micro alloy with iron for construction and automotive industries. It is also a key mineral in advanced lithium-ion batteries, known for its fast charging capabilities, stable high energy densities, and enhanced safety in longer durability.