10/03/2021 - 17:12

Eclipse data-mines Greenland cryolite-fluorite deposit

10/03/2021 - 17:12

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Eclipse Metals has unveiled data modelling which shows a wealth of cryolite and fluorite mineralisation just below the pit floor at its Ivittuut project in Greenland. Data mining points to a blanket of mineral-rich ore that lies 20 metres below the historic open pit, with old drill intercepts showing up to 10.7 metres of mineralisation at an eye-catching 55 per cent cryolite and 22.1 per cent fluorite from only 29.54m down-hole.

A 3D model of the mineralised zones below Eclipse’s Ivittuut open pit in southern Greenland. Credit: File

Eclipse Metals has unveiled data modelling which shows a wealth of cryolite and fluorite mineralisation just below the pit floor at its Ivittuut project in Greenland. Data mining points to a blanket of mineral-rich ore that lies 20 metres below the historic open pit, with old drill intercepts showing up to 10.7 metres of mineralisation at an eye-catching 55 per cent cryolite and 22.1 per cent fluorite from only 29.54m down-hole.

The discovery of the new ore zone at Ivittuut comes of the back of a detailed evaluation of the historical exploration data around the project, with the company having recently received a comprehensive database of the exploration information from mining consultant Outokumpu Oy. Eclipse is also busy digitising a host of historical mining data that currently sits in a hard copy format.

The mining history at Ivittuut dates back to the mid-19th century, when more than 3.8 million tonnes of cryolite ore was extracted from the deposit prior to its closure in 1987. Eclipse’s compilation and modelling of the historical data is rapidly identifying a mass of targets within the mine environs and its surrounds.

Eclipse Metals Executive Chairman, Carl Popal said:“The true thickness of the mineralised zones highlights the potential for future mining beneath the pit walls and floor. The depth extensions of mineralisation have exceeded our expectations with potential upside for further mineralisation within the zinc and quartz zones.”

“We are confident that with more assaying of the drill core, the zinc mineral volume and grades could be increased as there is a close association between the iron and zinc values. During the course of exploration by the previous owners, base metal mineralisation was never a target commodity hence little work was completed.”

Historically, Ivittuut was mined exclusively for its cryolite ores, which were  used as a fluxing agent in the production of aluminium, greatly reducing energy consumption through the smelting process. Ivittuut remains the only naturally occurring deposit of cryolite in the world to have been commercially mined.

Interestingly, also in the mix at Ivittuut is a fluorite ore, which is an important industrial mineral also used as a flux in the production of aluminium and steel in addition to being utilised in the manufacture of glass, enamels and high-powered acids.

However, metallurgical work also shows the presence of rare earth elements associated with the fluorite in the deposit, however not much assaying appears to have been undertaken for these critical metals, perhaps offering a further avenue for investigation when the company puts boots on ground in the coming months.

Thus far, Eclipse has compiled the data from more than 169 holes and more than 8,000m of drilling. Geological modelling of the burgeoning dataset has not only shown the existence of remnant cryolite-fluorite ore, presenting a walk-up drill target for the company, but it has also demonstrated a clear spatial separation between the various types of mineralisation within the curious deposit.

Adding yet another dimension, a rich lode of iron and zinc mineralisation also sits below the cryolite ores in the deposit, assaying up to 18.2 per cent zinc, 7.7 per cent lead and 1.7 per cent copper. That ore zone remains untouched by previous operators and presents a significant opportunity of Eclipse as it moves into active exploration during the course of the year.

Eclipse’s Ivittuut project is located in south west Greenland, approximately 375km south of the capital of Nuuk, in the Cape Desolation region. The area is renowned for its rich endowment in specialty metals, which include the rare earth elements, tantalum, niobium, uranium and zirconium.

The Ivittuut project boasts outstanding infrastructure at its namesake town adjacent to the mine. It hosts a power station and a wharf and fuel supplies that could potentially support a mining and exploration play. The town of Gronnedal, only 5km to the north, sports a heliport and an active port facility.

Whilst the company has already captured the data from over 8,000m of historic drilling, the extensive core library at Ivittuut reportedly holds more than 19,000m of drilling and if the results to date are anything to go by, there may yet be a few more surprises to be found mining the old data.

With early modelling of the Ivittuut deposit already producing solid targets for ongoing exploration and previous work providing a window into the mineralisation styles across the peculiar ore-system, Eclipse looks to uncovering one of the more interesting discoveries of 2021.

Whilst the presence of cryolite and fluorite at Ivittuut is likely to raise a few eye-brows, the addition of iron, zinc and rare earths into the mix is sure to make more than a few pundits sit up and take notice as exploration kicks off in the coming months.

 

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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