Source - LSE Regulatory
RNS Number : 3720A
Empire Metals Limited
22 January 2024
 

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

 

22 January 2024

Empire Metals Limited

('Empire' or the 'Company')

 

Recent Drilling Confirms Extensive, Shallow High-Grade Bedded Titanium Mineralisation

 

Empire Metals Limited (LON: EEE), the AIM-quoted resource exploration and development company, is pleased to announce the analytical lab results from the recently completed Reverse Circulation ('RC') drilling programme at the Pitfield Project in Western Australia ('Pitfield' or the 'Project'), which has successfully identified extensive, shallow zones of high-grade, bedded sandstone-hosted TiO2 mineralisation.

 

Highlights

 

·    Analytical lab results have now been received for the entire 40 RC drillhole programme completed in December 2023, confirming:

TiO2 mineralisation present in every metre, starting from or near surface, in all holes drilled;

all drillholes ended in TiO2 mineralisation; and

broad, higher-grade TiO2 mineralisation in the sandstone-rich beds, which consistently return higher-grade TiO2 mineralisation than the adjacent conglomerate or siltstone-rich beds.

 

·    The RC drilling has shown that the shallow sandstone-rich beds, and the associated higher-grade TiO2 mineralisation, are continuous with the deeper high-grade diamond drillhole intersections drilled in Q4 2023 (DD23TOM001 and DD23COS001; RNS dated 29 November 2023) confirming that there is an abundance of thick, strongly mineralised sandstone beds that come to surface within broad, plus 1.5km wide areas of this giant mineral system and that these mineralised beds have a strike extent of at least 6 to 7km.

 

·    Every drillhole encountered thick intervals of higher grade TiO2 mineralisation (refer Table 1. Significant Intercepts), with a select number of the more outstanding drill intervals highlighted as follows:

RC23TOM002 intersected 168m @ 6.91% TiO2 from 12m;

RC23TOM003 intersected 180m @ 6.14% TiO2 from 0m;

RC23COS004 intersected 154m @ 5.50% TiO2 from 0m; and

RC23COS005 intersected 148m @ 6.18% TiO2 from 6m.

 

·    It is clear from the results of this RC drilling that the higher-grade mineralisation is found within the more highly altered sandstone beds. The conglomerates and the siltstones are still mineralised, but not to the same extent as the sandstones. This provides a targeting tool for further exploration where previous mapping and rock chip sampling identified high-grade TiO2 mineralisation within sandstones that can be prioritised for the next round of drilling.

 

•     Additional RC drilling, which is planned to commence later this quarter, will focus on further testing the known areas of extensive, thick, shallow, sandstone-rich beds containing higher grade TiO2 mineralisation as well as several new target areas of high-grade potential identified along the length of the coincident regional magnetics-gravity anomaly

 

·    Mineralogical studies and metallurgical test work being expanded towards accelerating the economic development of the Pitfield Project.

 

Shaun Bunn, Managing Director, said: "This second, highly successful RC drilling campaign has identified extensive shallow sandstone-rich beds that contain higher-grade titanium mineralisation, verifying our geological models and providing a high degree of confidence in our ability to target higher grade mineralisation elsewhere within this giant mineral system, which will allow us to accelerate other activities essential for the economic development of this project. A key highlight from all of our drilling to date is that out of the 61 RC holes and the three diamond drill holes completed so far, all but one RC drillhole intercepted thick beds of high-grade TiO2 mineralisation, and that the single barren RC drill hole was terminated near surface due to thick sand cover that collapsed the drill collar. Subsequent RC drilling below the sand cover has confirmed TiO2 mineralisation. 

 

"Our third RC drilling campaign is scheduled to start this quarter and we are extremely excited by the prospect of making further high-grade discoveries along the 40km by 8km giant mineral system as well as providing additional metallurgical samples of the already proven areas of near surface, higher-grade mineralisation, which we see as integral in supporting an economic mine development plan."

 

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).

 

The Pitfield Project

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 #2 - November to December 2023 - Overview of Drill Results

The analytical lab results from the second RC drilling campaign, a 40 RC drillhole programme totalling a combined 5,718m, have now been received and are summarised in Table 1: "Significant Drill Results".  The drilling was undertaken along the 30km length of the high-density gravity core identified within the regional magnetics anomaly, with particular focus being placed on the higher-grade mineralised areas identified through recent rock chip sampling, geological mapping and diamond drillholes (refer Figure 2).  

The RC drilling has shown that these shallower sandstone-rich beds, and the associated higher-grade TiO2 mineralisation, are continuous with the deeper high-grade diamond drillhole intersections drilled in Q4 2023 (DD23TOM001 and DD23COS001; RNS dated 29 November 2023) and confirms that there is an abundance of thick, strongly mineralised beds that come to surface within broad areas of this giant mineral system.

The RC drilling covered a strike length of over 25 kms and identified near-surface areas containing high-grade TiO2 mineralisation that had not previously been drill-tested. The TiO2 mineralisation was intersected in every metre of every drillhole, starting from or near surface, and all drillholes ended in TiO2 mineralisation. The drilling confirmed that there is extensive, higher-grade TiO2 mineralisation in the thick sandstone-rich beds, which are returning consistently higher-grade TiO2 mineralisation than the adjacent conglomerate or siltstone-rich beds.

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

As seen in the previous drilling campaigns, the bedded sedimentary rocks have undergone extensive hydrothermal alteration, displaying a basin-wide alteration assemblage of hematite-carbonate-epidote. Cross-stratal carbonate-quartz veining is also common. The highest grade mineralisation intersected to date is within the central and southern parts of the regional magnetics anomaly, where drill intervals have averaged around 150m grading better than 5.0% TiO2.  These holes were drilled into what appears to be coarser sandstones, which potentially had greater porosity and permeability allowing for more intense alteration and mineralisation.  There is evidence of increased carbonate, epidote and hematite alteration within these sandstones which correlates with increased TiO2 grade.

The results from this RC drill programme continue to further define the giant scale of this titanium-rich mineral system, with all holes intersecting significant intervals of higher grade TiO2 mineralisation.  In addition, these results help to improve our geological understanding of the Yandanooka Basin, and in particular the place of higher grade TiO2 mineralisation within sandstone-rich beds within this basin. (refer Figure 3).

 

A diagram of a river Description automatically generated
Figure 3: Simplified geological section of the Yandanooka Basin. Note the sandstone-rich beds which are host to higher grade TiO2 mineralisation. West-East section looking North.

Focus on Shallow, High-Grade Exploration Targets - Areas for Potential Mine Development

The exploration focus has shifted from the original drilling targets at Mt Scratch to two extensive, high-grade zones which were previously identified by surface sampling and subsequently confirmed by recent diamond drilling.  With the addition of these latest RC drilling results there is good evidence that these high-grade, sandstone-rich beds are continuous across several kms of strike length.  There is also evidence that additional strike-extensive, thick, high-grade sandstone-rich beds are present and parallel the high-grade sandstone-rich bed intersected in this drill programme.  However, to accelerate the economic development of this project towards potential mine development, a focus has been placed upon further delineation, sampling, mineralogical study and metallurgical testing of this particular strike-extensive, thick high-grade mineralised bedded zone.

A clustering of higher TiO2 values in rocks was evident from the geological mapping and rock chip sampling programme (announced 13 November 2023), which identified a high-grade area over 3km by 2km ('TOM') in the vicinity of diamond drillhole #2 (DD23TOM001), as well as a 3km by 1km area ('COS') close to diamond drillhole #3 (DD23COS001), where the geochemical analysis of half the rock chip samples exceeded 8% TiO2.

The three diamond drillholes, completed in September-October 2023, intersected strong, sediment-hosted titanium mineralisation throughout the length of each hole, including thick, higher grade, bedded intervals, with the bottom of each hole stopped in mineralisation (announced 29 November 2023).

Sampling of the near-surface tops of the diamond drillholes was impractical due to weathering and the friable nature of the near surface sedimentary core samples. Therefore, one of the main objectives for the second RC drill programme was to drill-test this near-surface zone and demonstrate up-dip extensions of the high-grade mineralised sandstone dominant beds that were intersected by the diamond drilling.

The RC programme included 10 drillholes in the TOM area, which is at the southern end of the overall giant mineral system (refer Figure 4).  All of the drill holes at TOM were strongly mineralised, with half of the drillholes having mineralisation grading over ~5.0% TiO2.

RC23TOM002, which intersected 168m @ 6.91% TiO2 from 12m depth, was drilled to target the shallow up-dip interval of the higher-grade bedded mineralisation previously reported in diamond drill hole DD23TOM001, which intersected 297.1m @ 6.10% TiO2 from 111.4m.  The RC drill interval confirms that the higher-grade, broad, sandstone-bedded mineralisation comes to surface at an interpreted 65 degree dip angle, as depicted in Figure 5.

The most significant drillholes from TOM, which are all aligned along the western side of the TOM target and bound an area of greater than 1km by 1km, include:

§ RC23TOM002 intersected 168m @ 6.91% TiO2 from 12m;

§ RC23TOM003 intersected 180m @ 6.14% TiO2 from 0m;

§ RC23TOM004 intersected 154m @ 5.38% TiO2 from 0m; and

§ RC23TOM005 intersected 154m @ 5.13% TiO2 from 0m.

 


Figure 4: TOM area drilling locations over aerial  image

A diagram of a hole in the ground Description automatically generated
Figure 5: TOM Cross Section 6726500 N showing interpreted geology and confirmation of up-dip extension of higher-grade TiO2 mineralised sandstone-rich bed.  West-East section looking North.

The RC programme also included 13 drillholes into the COS area, which is located in the central western portion of the giant mineral system (refer Figure 6).  All of the drill holes at COS were strongly mineralised, with several of the drillholes intersecting intervals of mineralisation grading over 4% TiO2.

RC23COS011, which intersected 154m @ 4.53% TiO2 from 0m, was drilled to target the shallow up-dip interval of the higher-grade bedded mineralisation previously reported in diamond drill hole DD23COS001 which intersected 173.2m @ 5.76% TiO2 from 18.6m.

The more significant drillholes from COS, which are generally aligned to the western half of the COS target include:

 

§ RC23COS004 intersected 154m @ 5.50% TiO2 from 0m;

§ RC23COS005 intersected 148m @ 6.18% TiO2 from 6m.

§ RC23COS006 intersected 154m @ 5.18% TiO2 from 0m;

§ RC23COS007 intersected 154m @ 5.79% TiO2 from 0m; and

§ RC23COS009 intersected 154m @ 5.01% TiO2 from 0m.

 

A map of land with white text Description automatically generated
Figure 6: COS area drilling locations over aerial image

Future Work

The planned third programme of RC drilling is scheduled to start later this quarter, consisting of an additional 40 drillholes for approximately 6,000m, which will test new areas identified as potentially having high-grade, near-surface TiO2 mineralised beds as well as follow-up testing of the known areas of interest which have confirmed thick, high-grade, near-surface bedded TiO2 mineralisation with 6 to 7km strike extent.

 

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

 

Significant Drill Results

Hole ID

Depth From (m)

Depth To (m)

EOH (m)

Interval (m)

Grade (TiO2 %)

Intercept

RC23COS002

6

96

96

90

4.00%

90m @ 4.00% TiO2 from 6.0m

RC23COS003

10

70

70

60

4.00%

60m @ 4.00% TiO2 from 10.0m

RC23COS004

0

154

154

154

5.50%

154m @ 5.50% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23COS005

6

154

154

148

6.18%

148m @ 6.18% TiO2 from 6.0m

RC23COS006

0

154

154

154

5.18%

154m @ 5.18% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23COS007

0

154

154

154

5.79%

154m @ 5.79% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23COS008

0

154

154

154

2.77%

154.0m @ 2.77% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23COS009

0

154

154

154

5.01%

154.0m @ 5.01% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23COS010

0

154

154

154

4.98%

154.0m @ 4.98% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23COS011

0

154

154

154

4.53%

154.0m @ 4.53% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23COS012

28

126

154

126

2.42%

126.0m @ 2.42% TiO2 from 28.0m

RC23COS013

0

148

148

148

2.38%

148.0m @ 2.38% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23COS014

2

148

148

146

3.32%

146.0m @ 3.32% TiO2 from 2.0m

RC23KAD001

0

148

148

148

3.40%

148.0m @ 3.4% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23KAD002

0

148

148

148

3.28%

148.0m @ 3.28% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23KAD003

0

118

118

118

3.30%

118.0m @ 3.30% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23KAD004

0

148

148

148

4.06%

148.0m @ 4.06% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23KAD005B

0

148

148

148

4.62%

148.0m @ 4.62% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23KAD006

14

148

148

134

3.34%

134.0m @ 3.34% TiO2 from 14.0m

RC23KAD007

2

148

148

146

3.59%

146.0m @ 3.59% TiO2 from 2.0m

RC23KAD008

0

148

148

148

4.33%

148.0m @ 4.33% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23MUT002

0

148

148

148

2.54%

148.0m @ 2.54% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23MUT003

0

148

148

148

4.48%

148.0m @ 4.48% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23MUT004

0

142

142

142

4.35%

142.0m @ 4.35% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23MUT005

0

148

148

148

4.57%

148.0m @ 4.57% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23MUT006

8

128

128

120

4.77%

120.0m @ 4.77% TiO2 from 8.0m

RC23TOM002

12

180

180

168

6.91%

168.0m @ 6.91% TiO2 from 12.0m

RC23TOM003

0

180

180

180

6.14%

180.0m @ 6.14% TiO2 from 12.0m

RC23TOM004

0

154

154

154

5.38%

154.0m @ 5.38% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23TOM005

0

154

154

154

5.13%

154.0m @ 5.13% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23TOM006

0

154

154

154

3.83%

154.0m @ 3.83% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23TOM007

0

154

154

154

4.99%

154.0m @ 4.99% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23TOM008

0

154

154

154

3.83%

154.0m @ 3.83% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23TOM009

0

142

142

142

2.84%

142.0m @ 2.84% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23TOM010

0

154

154

154

3.84%

148.0m @ 3.84% TiO2 from 0.0m

RC23TOM011

6

144

144

138

4.41%

138.0m @ 4.41% TiO2 from 6.0m

RC23MTS019

4

136

136

132

2.28%

136.0m @ 2.28% TiO2 from 4.0m

RC23MTS020

8

148

148

140

4.49%

140.0m @ 4.49% TiO2 from 8.0m

RC23MTS021

6

66

66

60

4.34%

60.0m @ 4.34% TiO2 from 6.0m

RC23MTS022

4

76

76

72

4.51%

72.0m @ 4.51% TiO2 from 4.0m

Table 1.                Significant Intercepts from RC Drilling Programme #2.

 

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 / Kasia Brzozowska

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.

 

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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