The search for critical minerals on the Labrador Trough’s Quebec side continues as Saville Resources TSXV:SRE puts a rig to work on the Niobium Claim Group property this week. A Phase I program of at least four holes totalling a minimum 700 metres will target an area that—despite encouraging historic assays—hasn’t been drilled since 2010.
Saville currently works on a 75% earn-in on the 1,223-hectare property from Commerce Resources TSXV:CCE, whose Ashram rare earths deposit a few kilometres away advances towards pre-feasibility.
Saville’s focus will be the Mallard target, previously known as the Southeast target. Location of the most extensive work so far, Mallard underwent nine holes totalling 2,490 metres, with EC10-033 featuring impressive, near-surface intervals in these historic, non-43-101 results:
- - 0.82% Nb2O5 over 21.89 metres, starting at 58.93 metres in downhole depth
- - 0.72% over 21.35 metres, starting at 4.22 metres
- - (including 0.9% over 4.78 metres)
True widths were unknown.
The current program will test the hole’s southeastern extension. “Strong mineralization has been returned at this target historically and confirming and extending this trend is a logical next step as we advance towards an initial mineral resource estimate,” said president Mike Hodge.
A Phase II campaign would continue at Mallard as well as other targets including Miranna, an undrilled area where boulder samples reached as high as 2.75%, 4.24% and 4.3% Nb2O5, along with an outstanding 5.93% Nb2O5. Miranna’s tantalum samples graded up to 1,040, 1,060 and 1,220 Ta2O5.
The company expects Phase I to wrap up in about a month.
Both niobium and tantalum have been classified as critical minerals by the U.S. government. Used in steel and superalloy production, 88% of world niobium supply comes from Brazil, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Sixty-six percent of global tantalum supply, necessary for automotive electronics, cellphones and computers, came from the strife-torn countries of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the USGS reported. Additional concerns involve opaque supply lines that can mask conflict sources in those countries.
In late December Saville closed a private placement first tranche of $311,919. Earlier this month the company optioned its James Bay-region Covette nickel-copper-cobalt property to Astorius Resources TSXV:ASQ . A 100% fulfillment would bring Saville $1.25 million over three years, while Astoriuswould spend another $300,000 on the project within two years. Saville retains a 2% NSR.