14/01/2021 - 13:57

Eclipse pounces on unique Greenland mineral deposit

14/01/2021 - 13:57

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ASX-listed Eclipse Metals has pounced on a unique opportunity in southern Greenland, securing ownership of the Ivittuut cryolite mine and its associated infrastructure. Cryolite is a specialty mineral that is used as a fluxing agent in the production of aluminium, greatly reducing energy consumption through the smelting process, however the deposit also contains a potential treasure trove of accessory minerals.

An aerial view of Eclipse’s Ivittuut cryolite mine in Greenland, taken in the 1960s. Credit: File

ASX-listed Eclipse Metals has pounced on a unique opportunity in southern Greenland, securing ownership of the Ivittuut cryolite mine and its associated infrastructure. Cryolite is a specialty mineral that is used as a fluxing agent in the production of aluminium, greatly reducing energy consumption through the smelting process, however the deposit also contains a potential treasure trove of accessory minerals.

Ivittuut remains the only commercial, naturally occurring deposit of cryolite in the world and has long history of mining. The deposit was exploited for over century before closing in 1987, when resources of the high-grade cryolite ores dwindled. Since that time, the deposit has been assessed by a number of exploration entities, with their cumulative knowledge now pointing toward the greater potential of both the deposit and the larger project area.

The cryolite mineralisation at Ivittuut has been the main focus of the various studies, with low grade stock-piles remaining at surface and two additional accumulations of the mineral located at depth. Nonetheless, the presence of various valuable accessory minerals in the deposit, including zinc, fluorite, rare earths and high-purity silica, represent a wealth of opportunities for Eclipse as it prepares for its next move in the unique terrane of southern Greenland.

Eclipse Metals Executive Chairman, Carl Popal said:“This transformational 100% acquisition has multi-facet commercial potential for Eclipse.”

“Ivittuut is unique in so many ways; not only as the world’s only cryolite mine with huge potential for multicommodity deposits next to a historical port but also as a source of highly sought after heavy rare earth minerals. This is a global leap forward for the Company to expand its interests with unique opportunities in the green energy metals and minerals sector.”

“In the short run, having substantial high purity quartz (silica) still within the pit area puts the Company in a position to potentially be a near term supplier to the electronic, solar, optical and silicon metal industry. High purity quartz is a highly sought-after industrial mineral.”

“Furthermore, the large tenement area covers Greenland’s only known carbonatite deposit in close proximity to Gronnedal port. This deposit could provide an ideal product for neutralising acid mine and process water produced by other miners in the Greenlandic region. This fits well with the Company’s mission to excel in the commercialisation of metals and minerals demanded in the production of green energy and required by the industry in the reduction of pollutants.”

The 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 rare earth elements, tantalum, niobium, uranium and zirconium.

The project is covered by a single, granted exploration lease which covers over 43 square kilometres of the mineralised terrane, which takes in the dormant Ivittuut mine in the east and the Gronnedal-aka carbonatite complex in the north. The Gronnedal-aka complex has the potential to host significant accumulations of rare earth elements, or “REE”, and represents an enticing secondary target for the company, given a growing global appetite for the technology metals.

Ivittuut boasts outstanding infrastructure with its namesake town, adjacent to the mine, hosting a power station, wharf and fuel supplies to support mining and exploration activities. The town of Gronnedal, only 5km to the north, sports a heliport and active port facility.

Eclipse has also inherited a massive archive of exploration and mining data for the project which includes an incredible 19,000m of drill core. A preliminary assessment of the data shows that the Ivittuut deposit is associated with a distinct leucogranitic intrusion in contact with basement granites, which hosts a wealth of high-value, specialty minerals.

The deposit shows a distinct layering, with the shallow cryolite-rich zone now largely mined out and is underlain by a fluorite-cryolite unit that extends from 40m to 80m below the current pit floor. The deeper units in the intrusion include siderite-rich units, which is a type of iron ore, and high-purity quartz-silica stratigraphy. A third cryolite-rich unit has been delineated by deep drilling and lies around 700m below surface.

Eclipse is now champing at the bit to get stuck into a detailed assessment of the deposit and has completed a $2 million placement to assist in the purchase of the asset and to fund ongoing exploration. The company’s immediate priorities include a complete evaluation of the comprehensive Ivittuut drill core library, including relogging and sampling of the core, to assist in the estimation of a JORC-2012 resource over the deposit.

The company will also no doubt be looking at the potential wealth of accessory minerals associated with the deposit, with considerable stockpiles and waste dumps available at surface through the mine area representing a potentially rapid path to cash-flow.

Work continues on Eclipse’s manganese and uranium projects in Australia and with the company having now pivoted its expertise into Greenland, it is looking to quickly put runs on the board at the unique Ivittuut deposit. The company now boasts an enviable portfolio of projects, over $2 million in the bank and a highly credentialled exploration team, setting itself up for an intriguing year ahead.

 

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

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