Mining Company News Reviews

NioCorp’s Nebraska Niobium: First Results from New Drilling

NioCorp has raised $5.5 million, performed a project review and developed an exploration plan to advance the project. The market has responded kindly and NioCorp’s stock is trading near all-time highs.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – June 26, 2014) – NioCorp Developments Ltd. (“NioCorp” or the “Company“) (TSX VENTURE:NB)(OTCQX:NIOBF)(FRANKFURT:BR3) is pleased to announce initial results from the first phase drilling program currently underway at the Elk Creek Carbonatite project, located in southeast Nebraska.

Carbonatites a rare type of type of igneous rock composed of more than 50% carbonate minerals. They form from low silica magmas which are high in calcium, sodium and carbon dioxide. They may also be enriched in rare earth elements and other commodities such as  phosphorus, uranium, copper, iron and niobium.

Niobium (Nb) is a metal that is primarily alloyed with iron to produce a stronger and lighter steel with improved corrosion resistance. This steel is used in the automotive industry to reduce the weight of vehicles and increase fuel efficiency. It is also widely used in oil and gas pipelines and in the construction industry. The price of Niobium has been relatively stable since 2007, trading above $30 per kilogram.

Currently Brazil and Canada are the primary producers of Niobium. Brazil operates two mines that produce 75% of the worlds Niobium. Canada’s Niobec Mine near Chicoutimi, Quebec produces 7%.

This release contains the first results from a 3 three phase drill program designed to improve and update the inferred and indicated resources for NioCorp’s carbonatite-hosted niobium deposit at Elk Creek, Nebraska.

A total of 752 samples from hole NEC14-006 were delivered to Activation Laboratories Ltd. (Act Labs), Ancaster, Ontario Canada, from which Nb2O5 analytical results from the first 230 samples have been received by the Company.

Highlights of these results include:

  • 309 to 382 m (73 m interval) 0.68% Nb2O5 weighted averaged
  • Including 343 – 371 m (28 m interval) 0.789% Nb2O5
    • Including:
    • 343 – 358 m (15 m interval) 0.937% Nb2O5
    • 343 – 364 m (21 m interval) 0.864% Nb2O5
    • 352 – 359 m (7 m interval) greater than 1% Nb2O5

“We are extremely pleased with the progress of drilling and the results to date, as they are directly in line with our expectations and goals to enhance the classification of this resource in line with our corporate objectives,” stated Mark Smith, CEO of NioCorp.

The highlights contain a few higher grade intervals but the overall results are generally consistent with their previously published resource grades. For comparison, niobium grades at IAMGOLD’s Niobec mine in Canada average 0.41% Nb2O5

Drilling continues on the site with two drill rigs, and the Company anticipates receiving and disseminating results from further drilling activities to be received on a steady basis over the next couple of months. Results from analytical analysis for the final 390 m of hole NEC14-006 are expected shortly.

Sampling was continuously collected from the base of the limestone-carbonatite contact to the end of the drillhole (230 m to 772.67 m). The Carbonatite continued at depth and remains open in that direction. HQ diameter core was sawn into half-core samples, and control samples were inserted into each batch. NEC14-006 was oriented at an azimuth of 030 (NE) degrees, with a -70 degree dip.

The QA/QC statement above outlines sampling procedures includes the core size and use of control samples. Control samples are a set of standardized samples of a known grade. They are inserted into the assay sample batch to help monitor the accuracy of the lab’s results. Inaccurate results for the control samples can help the company spot problems with the lab assay. 

Qualified Persons: Mr. Brad Ulry, P.Geo is the qualified person responsible for the Elk Creek Carbonatite drilling operations and has read and approved the technical disclosure contained in this news release.

In early 2013 NioCorp changed its name from Quantum Rare Earth Developments and hired a new CEO, Mark Smith to help the company advance and focus on it’s Elk Creek Niobium project. Since then, the company has raised $5.5 million, performed a project review and developed an exploration plan to advance the project. The market has responded kindly and NioCorp’s stock is trading near all-time highs.

The process of bringing a discovery to feasibility is a long road that involves lots of money and lots of drilling. Still, every hole that improves confidence in the resource helps their cause. If the company’s current resource estimate proves to be accurate, they will have a similar sized deposit to Niobec, but with a 50% higher grade.

About the Company: NioCorp are developing the only primary niobium deposit known to be under development in the U.S., and the highest grade undeveloped niobium deposit in North America, located near Elk Creek, Nebraska. The Company has published an NI 43-101 resource of 19.3 Million tonnes grading 0.67% Indicated, containing over 129,182 tonnes of Nb2O5, and 83.3 Mt grading 0.63% Inferred, containing over 523,844 tonnes of Nb2O5). Niobium is mainly used in the form of Ferro-Niobium to produce HSLA (High Strength, Low Alloy) steel, to produce lighter, stronger steel for use in automotive, structural and pipeline industries. The U.S. imports 100% of its niobium needs.

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Staff @ Geology for Investors

Geology for Investors seeks to demystify mineral exploration and mining projects for mining company investors. All of our writers and contributors are experienced and educated in geology and the geosciences.

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2 Comments

  1. TYPO “In early 2013 Niobec changed its name from Quantum Rare Earth Developments and hired a new CEO, Mark Smith.” Niobec should be NioCorp.

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