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RNS Number : 1756X
Empire Metals Limited
19 December 2023
 

Empire Metals Limited / LON: EEE / Sector: Natural Resources

 

19 December 2023

Empire Metals Limited

('Empire' or the 'Company')

 

Interim Drill Results Identify Additional Shallow High-Grade Bedded Titanium Mineralisation

Mineralogical Assessment now Underway

 

Empire Metals Limited (LON: EEE), the AIM-quoted resource exploration and development company, is pleased to announce the analytical lab results from an initial five of 40 Reverse Circulation ('RC') drillholes at the Pitfield Project in Western Australia ('Pitfield' or the 'Project'), which has identified additional shallow high-grade bedded TiO2 mineralisation. Mineralogical studies have now commenced with the Company engaging both the Australian Federal Government's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation ("CSIRO') and a leading, private industry, scientific research provider, AXT Pty Ltd ('AXT'), to carry out a detailed assessment of rock chip samples collected from drilling.

 

Highlights

 

·    The planned follow-up 40 RC drillhole programme has now been completed, with initial analytical lab results received for the first five drillholes.

 

·    Results have identified a new shallow zone of bedded higher grade TiO2 mineralisation in addition to extending the overall broad footprint of significant TiO2 mineralisation and providing more information on the geological controls on grade.

 

·    RC23COS004 intersected a shallow up-dip interval of higher grade bedded mineralisation that returned results of 154m @ 5.51% TiO2 from surface, including 6.28% TiO2 across the first 48m.

 

·    Results indicate that it is the sandstone beds that host the higher grade TiO2 values within the bedded sedimentary succession of sandstones, siltstones and conglomerates. Future exploration will focus on identifying and delineating extensive, thick sandstone-rich beds in future drilling programmes.

 

·    Further promising results are expected from the remaining RC drillholes, many of which were focused on evaluating the length of the coincident regional magnetics-gravity anomaly which represents the core of the giant mineral system.

 

·    CSIRO has been engaged to conduct an Electron Probe Microanalysis (EPMA) on RC drillhole rock chip samples ("RC chips"), with the objective of identifying the mineral assemblage within the rocks and, in particular, the nature and distribution of titanium bearing minerals.

 

·    AXT Pty Ltd (AXT) has been engaged to conduct mineralogical tests including TESCAN Integrated Mineral Analyzer (TEMA) and state-of-the-art Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS)  imaging on RC chips to determine mineralogical composition of the host rock and then map out the mineralogical residence of titanium within the host rock.

 

Shaun Bunn, Managing Director, said: "These exceptional drill results provide further evidence of the massive 40km long surface footprint of bedded titanium-rich mineralisation. These interim results also confirm that higher grade bedded zones of mineralisation can be traced from surface geochemical sampling anomalies which verifies our targeting approach towards identifying and delineating the higher-grade parts of this giant titanium-rich mineral system. We eagerly await the results from the remaining RC drillholes, which we expect will provide further confirmation of near-surface, high-grade mineralisation.

 

"The engagement of leading scientists from both the CSIRO and AXT represents yet another significant milestone in the technical development and understanding of this globally significant titanium discovery. These studies will provide invaluable insight into the mineralogical make-up of these highly altered, sedimentary host rocks and, importantly, the mineralogical residence of titanium in these host rocks."

 

The Pitfield Project

Empire holds a 70% interest in Pitfield which is comprised of four granted Exploration Licences (E70/5465, E70/5876, E70/6320 and E70/6323) covering 1,042km2. Pitfield is located near Three Springs, a town 313km north of Perth, Western Australia on the Midlands Road, which until the opening of the Brand Highway in 1975 was the main road route from Perth to the state's north (refer Figure 1).

A map of a large area with a road Description automatically generated

Figure 1.  Pitfield Project Location showing the scale of the magnetics anomaly and coincident alteration footprint.

 

RC Drilling Programme - November- December 2023

The planned 40 RC drillhole programme has now been completed for a combined total of 5,718m, drilled along the length of the high-density gravity core identified within the regional magnetics anomaly. Particular focus has been placed on the higher grade mineralised areas identified through the recent rock chip sampling, geological mapping and recent diamond drillholes.  All of the target areas were tested, however several holes intersected excess groundwater and were terminated short of the planned depth as the holes were collapsing. Despite this, all of these shortened holes intersected approximately 50m of the targeted TiO2 enriched sedimentary rocks.

The results to date from this RC drill programme continue to further define the scale of this giant, titanium-rich mineral system, with the first five drill holes identifying new areas of significant TiO2 mineralisation as well as confirming a new shallow zone of high-grade bedded TiO2 mineralisation (refer Table 1. Significant Drill Results).

Analytical lab results from the first five holes show TiO2 mineralisation throughout the entire hole. All drillholes ended in TiO2 mineralisation, which was expected based on the previous diamond drilling, whereby all three diamond drill holes were mineralised to 350m below the surface (announced 29 November 2023). These particular five RC drillholes predominantly intersected hematite-epidote-carbonate altered sandstone which had also been observed throughout the diamond drill holes previously drilled.  Several holes also had minor interbeds of conglomerate which was similarly altered.

Drillhole RC23COS004 intersected higher grade TiO2 mineralisation from surface to the bottom of the hole.  This hole encountered predominantly sandstone with minor conglomerate beds. The top of the hole has a 48m high-grade interval starting from surface that averaged 6.28% TiO2 hosted by hematite-epidote-carbonate altered sandstone . The analytical lab results indicate that the sandstone is the preferred host for higher grade TiO2 mineralisation. The conglomerate is also highly mineralised, but not quite to the same extent.

The high-grade results from hole RC23COS004 are supported by the previously reported high-grade rock chip results (announcement 13 November 2023) which were collected nearby to this drill collar location.  The closest rock chip sample was taken only 90m away and graded 9.44% TiO2.  The drill results are also backed up by the historic auger sampling carried out by CRA which highlighted elevated TiO2 across this target area.  The higher grade bedded mineralisation intersected in RC23COS004 is similar to that encountered in previously reported diamond drillhole DD23COS001 (announcement 24 November 2023) located ~1km to the east, that intersected 173.2m @ 5.76% TiO2 from 18.6m including 58.7m @ 6.32% TiO2 from 24.0m, indicating that there is an abundance of thick, strongly mineralised beds that come to surface in this part of the mineral system.


The Company is currently awaiting the analytical lab results from the remaining 35 RC drillholes, with results expected early in the new year.

 

 


Figure 2.  Grey-scale magnetics map overlain by airborne gravity survey results showing current RC drillhole locations, previous diamond core drillholes and maiden RC drillholes.

 

Significant Drill Results

Hole ID

Depth From (m)

Depth To (m)

EOH (m)

Interval (m)

Grade (TiO2 %)

RC23COS002

6

96

96

90

4.02

inc.

6

34


28

4.31

RC23COS003

10

70

70

60

3.97

RC23COS004

0

154

154

154

5.51

inc.

0

48


48

6.28

RC23KAD001

0

148

148

148

3.40

RC23KAD002

0

148

148

148

3.28

inc.

4

44


40

3.96

Table 1.                Significant Intercepts from RC Drilling

 

 

 

Initiation of Detailed Mineralogical Studies

 

Mineralogical studies have now commenced with the Company engaging both the CSIRO and AXT, to carry out a detailed studies of rock chip samples collected from drilling.

 

The CSIRO has been engaged to conduct an Electron Probe Microanalysis (EPMA) on RC chips, aimed at identifying the mineral assemblage within the rocks and, in particular, the nature and distribution of titanium bearing minerals. EPMA, one of several particle-beam techniques, is an analytical technique that is used to establish the composition of minerals within small areas on rock specimens.

 

The CSIRO is an Australian Government statutory authority constituted and operating under the provisions of the Science and Industry Research Act 1949. CSIRO's primary functions under the Act are to carry out scientific research to benefit Australian industry and the community, and to contribute to the achievement of national objectives.  The CSIRO has extensive experience in assessing minerology of unique ore as well as related ore process development.

 

AXT Pty Ltd (AXT) has been engaged to conduct mineralogical tests including TESCAN Integrated Mineral Analyzer (TEMA) and state-of-the-art Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) imaging on RC chips to determine mineralogical composition of the host rock and then map out the mineralogical residence of titanium within the host rock.

 

The Company expects results from this programme to provide a better understanding of the mineral assemblage that compose the host rock, including the specific minerals present  and their relative abundances.  An understanding of the mineral assemblage will provide important information towards establishing the dominant minerals, and especially the titanium-hosting minerals, which is critical to identifying potential ore processing options towards the economic assessment of this giant mineral system.

 

Future Work

In addition to the 40 RC drillholes completed November-December 2023, a third RC drill programme is scheduled to start in February 2024, consisting of an additional 40 drillholes for approximately 6,000m, which will further test those areas identified as potentially having higher grade, near-surface TiO2 mineralisation.

 

It is additionally planned to continue the mineralogical studies that have been initiated towards defining representative host mineral assemblages, with results expected to provide important information towards economic assessment and to accelerate the development of the Pitfield Project.

 

Competent Person Statement

The technical information in this report that relates to the Pitfield Project has been compiled by Mr Andrew Faragher, an employee of Eclipse Exploration Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Empire. Mr Faragher is a Member of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. Mr Faragher has sufficient experience that is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity being undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2012 Edition of the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves'. Mr Faragher consents to the inclusion in this release of the matters based on his information in the form and context in which it appears.

 

Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) Disclosure

Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014, as incorporated into UK law by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, until the release of this announcement.

 

**ENDS**

 

 

For further information please visit www.empiremetals.co.uk  or contact:

Empire Metals Ltd

Shaun Bunn / Greg Kuenzel

 

Tel: 020 4583 1440

S. P. Angel Corporate Finance LLP (Nomad & Broker)

Ewan Leggat / Adam Cowl

Tel: 020 3470 0470

Shard Capital Partners LLP (Joint Broker)

Damon Heath

Tel: 020 7186 9950

St Brides Partners Ltd (Financial PR)                                         

Susie Geliher / Ana Ribeiro

Tel: 020 7236 1177

 

About Empire Metals Limited

Empire Metals is an AIM-listed (LON: EEE) exploration and resource development company with a project portfolio comprising copper, titanium and gold interests in Australia and Austria.

 

The Company's strategy is to develop a pipeline of projects at different stages in the development curve. Its current focus is on the Pitfield Project in Western Australia, which has demonstrated to contain a newly recognised giant mineral system that hosts a globally significant titanium discovery.  The Company is also advancing the Eclipse-Gindalbie Project in Western Australia, which is prospective for high-grade gold and also kaolin used to produce high-purity alumina, an essential component in lithium-ion batteries.

 

The Company also has two further exploration projects in Australia; the Walton Project in Western Australia, and the Stavely Project in the Stavely Arc region of Victoria, in addition to three precious metals projects located in a historically high-grade gold producing region of Austria.

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