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Gascoyne tantalises

Perth-based Kanowna Lights NL, an intrepid junior explorer in the eastern Goldfields, has shifted its attention to the Gascoyne region of WA.

The company is developing a mineral play which, if successful, could lead to mining of tantalite and columbite, which have strong worldwide demand.

The company recently concluded a deal with Rare Resources NL to earn 100 per cent equity in the Arthur River and Beryl Hill tantalite-columbite prospects, 150 kilometres north-east of Gascoyne Junction.

Kanowna will pay $50,000 and spend $400,000 on exploration by December 2001 to earn a 70 per cent stake in the project and can acquire the remaining 30 per cent with the issue of 90,000 Kanowna shares.

The prospects are within granted Arthur River and Beryl Hill mining leases containing tantalite-columbite bearing pegmatites of the Yinnetharra belt which extends over an area of 500 square kilometres through the central portion of the Gascoyne province.

Previous work by Rare Resources proved encouraging with discoveries of giant crystals extracted close to surface, the largest weighing 360 kilograms, and 20 cubic metres of material producing 454kg of columbite with high mineral assays.

Last year, Border Gold NL drilled 28 angle holes for a total of 1,993 metres, defining the pegmatite as a broad, flat-lying body up to 94m thick at Beryl Hill.

In 1979, Greenbushes Tin NL, in association with Pilgan Mining, produced 14 tonnes of 30 per cent to 40 per cent tantalite during a short campaign which ceased when prices collapsed.

Kanowna plans to drill 53 reverse circulation holes for 2,440m to prove up an economic resource.

Over the years, the company has made no great gains in exploration in the mineral fields, despite considerable efforts at the Pinnacles nickel project, a laterite resource 130km east of Kalgoorlie and the Great Western Gold prospect, 66km north of Leonora, where it picked up several high-grade gold hits.

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