EDITOR: | February 23rd, 2015

NioCorp Updates Elk Creek Niobium Mineral Resource to Include Titanium and Scandium

| February 23, 2015 | No Comments
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NioCorp-Developments-200x150February 23, 2015 (Source: Marketwired) — – Scandium content is World Class

NioCorp Developments Ltd. (“NioCorp” or the “Company“) (TSX VENTURE:NB) (OTCQX:NIOBF) (FRANKFURT:BR3) On behalf of our shareholders, NioCorp is pleased to announce an updated NI43-101 resource estimate for the Elk Creek niobium deposit (the “Deposit“). This announcement supplements our announcement of February 9, 2015.

Commencing in May 2014 and finishing in December 2014, the Company completed an 18-hole, three-phase infill drilling program. In those 18 holes, 15,381 meters of drilling was completed. This drilling program has provided data to support the updated resource estimate for the Deposit presented below, and has also provided important information on the hydrology, metallurgy, geochemistry and geotechnical properties of the Elk Creek resource. The drilling has also established that the Deposit remains open at depth, as well as to the northwest and southeast.

SRK Consulting (“SRK“) of Lakewood, Colorado and Cardiff, UK has completed an updated Mineral Resource estimate according to CIM Standards. As a result of positive indications from the company’s ongoing metallurgical testing and development program, titanium (TiO2) and scandium (Sc) have been added to the Mineral Resource Statement. Both of these metals can be recovered with simple additions to the existing process flowsheet, and would provide additional revenue streams that would compliment the planned production of ferroniobium. The company is currently assessing these prospective revenue contributions, and plans to announce the results of a Preliminary Economic Assessment for the project shortly.

The updated Mineral Resource statement for the Elk Creek Deposit is summarized in Table 1 below. Note that a small change to the density modeling methodology has also resulted in slight tonnage change (< 1%) when compared to the Company’s February 9, 2015 announcement.

Table 1 – SRK Mineral Resource Statement Effective Date 20th February 2015

Classification Cut-off
(Nb
2O5 %)
Tonnage Grade
(Nb
2O5 %)
Contained
Nb
2O5
Grade
(TiO
2 %)
Contained
TiO
2
Grade
(Sc g/t)
Contained
Sc
(‘000 Tonnes) (‘000 kg) (‘000 kg) (‘000 kg)
INDICATED 0.3 80,500 0.71 572,000 2.68 2,160,000 72 5,800
INFERRED 0.3 99,600 0.56 558,000 2.31 2,300,000 63 6,300
(1) Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. All figures are rounded to reflect the relative accuracy of the estimate and have been used to derive sub-totals, totals and weighted averages. Such calculations inherently involve a degree of rounding and consequently introduce a margin of error. Where these occur, SRK does not consider them to be material. All composites have been capped where appropriate. The Concession is wholly owned by and exploration is operated by Niocorp Developments Ltd
(2) The reporting standard adopted for the reporting of the MRE uses the terminology, definitions and guidelines given in the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves (December 2005) as required by NI 43-101.
(3) SRK assumes the Elk Creek deposit to be amenable to a variety of Underground Mining methods. Using results from initial metallurgical testwork, suitable underground mining and processing costs, and forecast Niobium price SRK has reported the Mineral Resource at a cut-off of 0.3% Nb2O5
(4) SRK Completed a site inspection of the deposit by Mr Martin Pittuck, MSc., C.Eng, MIMMM, an appropriate “independent qualified person” as this term is defined in National Instrument 43-101.

Given the on-going metallurgical bench and pilot testwork as well as technical studies in other areas of the project that are currently underway, the sensitivity in the Mineral Resource at a range of cut-off grades is presented in Table 2 from 0.3% Nb2O5 to 0.6% Nb2O5. The company’s approach to the resource considers niobium to be the primary driver for the project, with titanium and scandium considered to be co-products from the production of ferroniobium.

Table 2a – SRK Mineral Resource Sensitivity: Indicated

Classification Cut-off
(Nb
2O5 %)
Tonnage
(‘000 Tonnes)
Grade
(Nb
2O5 %)
Contained
Nb
2O5
(‘000 kg)
Grade
(TiO
2 %)
Contained
TiO
2
(‘000 kg)
Grade
(Sc g/t)
Contained Sc
(‘000 kg)
INDICATED 0.60 59,700 0.82 489,200 2.94 1,750,000 74.2 4,400
INDICATED 0.55 63,400 0.80 507,200 2.92 1,850,000 74.0 4,700
INDICATED 0.50 65,200 0.79 515,000 2.91 1,900,000 73.9 4,800
INDICATED 0.45 65,800 0.79 520,100 2.90 1,910,000 73.8 4,900
INDICATED 0.40 68,100 0.78 531,000 2.87 1,950,000 73.7 5,000
INDICATED 0.35 72,800 0.75 545,700 2.79 2,030,000 73.2 5,300
INDICATED 0.30 80,500 0.71 571,600 2.68 2,160,000 72.0 5,800

Table 2b – SRK Mineral Resource Sensitivity: Inferred

Classification Cut-off
(Nb
2O5 %)
Tonnage
(‘000 Tonnes)
Grade
(Nb
2O5 %)
Contained Nb2O5
(‘000 kg)
Grade
(TiO
2 %)
Contained
TiO2

(‘000 kg)
Grade
(Sc g/t)
Contained Sc
(‘000 kg)
INFERRED 0.60 44,600 0.78 347,800 2.94 1,310,000 67.6 3,000
INFERRED 0.55 50,700 0.76 385,100 2.92 1,480,000 67.3 3,400
INFERRED 0.50 53,300 0.75 399,400 2.92 1,550,000 67.1 3,600
INFERRED 0.45 54,300 0.74 401,600 2.91 1,580,000 66.9 3,600
INFERRED 0.40 58,400 0.72 420,500 2.83 1,650,000 66.8 3,900
INFERRED 0.35 67,500 0.67 452,400 2.69 1,810,000 66.0 4,500
INFERRED 0.30 99,600 0.56 558,000 2.31 2,300,000 63.0 6,300

An extensive QA/QC program was implemented in order to support the resource estimation program. Drill core samples were continuously collected from above the upper contact of the mineralized carbonatite to the end of each drillhole. HQ (2.5″) diameter core was split into half-core samples and PQ (3.35″) diameter core was split into quarter-core samples. Primary sample analysis was completed at Activation Laboratories Ltd. (“Actlabs“) of Ancaster, Ontario and externally validated at SGS Mineral Services Laboratory, Lakefield, Ontario (“SGS“). A full analytical suite, including whole rock and trace element analysis, was completed for all 2014 drill core samples at ActLabs. Approximately 25% of the submitted samples consist of quality control and quality assurance samples for Nb2O5, TiO2 and Sc including duplicates (quarter-core field, pulverized, coarse-crush and external laboratory pulp submissions) and Certified Reference Materials (CRM), for Nb2O5 and TiO2, representative of a niobium mineralized carbonatite. Additional scandium analyses were completed for 1,335 historic Molycorp pulverized drill core samples and these were validated against representative scandium mineralized CRMs and pulp duplicate samples when material was available. Although TiO2 CRMs were lower grade than typical resource grades, SGS agreed well with Actlabs for TiO2 and Sc over a wide range of representative grades which provides an appropriate level of confidence for the grades in this Mineral Resource.

“On behalf of our shareholders, we are pleased to announce these new results for titanium and scandium from our 2014 drilling program. It is now clear that our resource is world-class for at least two elements; including both its scandium and niobium content. The addition of titanium and scandium to the project is an exciting development that will enhance what is already proving to be an impressive new project.” said Mark Smith, Executive Chairman of NioCorp. “Our metallurgical team has already rapidly developed and tested a robust process flowsheet that will allow the company to maximize the value of the Elk Creek project for our shareholders.”

Qualified Persons:

Martin Pittuck, MSc., C.Eng, MIMMM of SRK Consulting (UK) Ltd., a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, is responsible for the Elk Creek resource estimation and has read and approved the technical information contained in this news release.

Brad Ulry, B.Sc., P.Geo., Dahrouge Geological Consulting Ltd., a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, is responsible for the Elk Creek drilling operations and has read and approved the technical information contained in this news release.

Alain Dorval, B.Sc, Roche Consulting Group Limited, a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, is responsible for the Elk Creek mineral processing program and has read and approved the technical information contained in this news release.

Eric Larochelle, B.Eng, Roche Engineering Inc, a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, is responsible for the Elk Creek hydrometallurgical program and has read and approved the technical information contained in this news release.

About the Company: NioCorp is 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 is announcing an NI43-101 compliant resource with an effective date of February 20, 2015 reporting an Indicated Resource of 80.5 million tonnes grading 0.71% Nb2O5, 2.68% TiO2 and 72 ppm Sc and an Inferred Resource of 99.6 million tonnes grading 0.56% Nb2O5, 2.31% TiO2 and 63 ppm Sc (at a 0.3% Nb2O5 cutoff grade). Niobium is mainly used in the form of Ferro-Niobium to produce HSLA (High Strength, Low Alloy) steel, which is a lighter, stronger steel used in automotive, structural and pipeline applications. The U.S. imports 100% of its niobium needs. Titanium in the form of an oxide is used extensively as a pigment in paints, plastics and papers. As a metal, titanium is used in aerospace applications, armor, chemical processing applications, marine hardware applications, medical implants, power generation and in sporting goods. Scandium is used in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) and aluminum-scandium alloys, as well as in ceramics, electronics, lasers and lighting applications.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD

Peter Dickie, Director, President and Corporate Secretary

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Certain statements contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based upon NioCorp’s reasonable expectations and business plan at the date hereof, which are subject to change depending on economic, political and competitive circumstances and contingencies. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause a change in such assumptions and the actual outcomes and estimates to be materially different from those estimated or anticipated future results, achievements or position expressed or implied by those forward-looking statements. Risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause NioCorp’s plans or prospects to change include changes in demand for and price of commodities (such as fuel and electricity) and currencies; changes or disruptions in the securities markets; legislative, political or economic developments; the need to obtain permits and comply with laws and regulations and other regulatory requirements; the possibility that actual results of work may differ from projections/expectations or may not realize the perceived potential of NioCorp’s projects; risks of accidents, equipment breakdowns and labour disputes or other unanticipated difficulties or interruptions; the possibility of cost overruns or unanticipated expenses in development programs; operating or technical difficulties in connection with exploration, mining or development activities; the speculative nature of mineral exploration and development, including the risks of diminishing quantities of grades of reserves and resources; and the risks involved in the exploration, development and mining business. NioCorp disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


Raj Shah

Editor:

Raj Shah has professional experience working for over a half a dozen years at financial firms such as Merrill Lynch and First Allied Securities Inc., ... <Read more about Raj Shah>


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