A maiden resource has been announced for the Lucknow scandium laterite deposit, which is part of Metallica Minerals’ NORNICO nickel-cobalt-scandium project in North Queensland.

The Lucknow indicated and inferred scandium resource stands at 6.1 million tonnes @ 169 grams/tonne scandium at a 70 grams/tonne cut-off. This incorporates data from 298 RC holes totalling 7036 metres.

It boosts the NORNICO scandium resource by 105% to 15.1 million tonnes @ 133 grams/tonne scandium. There is also potential to increase the size of the resource.

It is likely that once Metallica has additional bulk density data, the majority of the Lucknow indicated resource will be classed as measured.

China’s second largest nickel producer Jilin Horoc Nonferrous Metal Group is Metallica’s largest shareholder. Jilin’s Australia-based subsidiary is Jien Mining.

The scandium ore at Lucknow is covered by a joint venture agreement between Straits Resources (20%) and Metallica (80%). Under the terms of the JV all scandium ore is to be mine or stockpiled separately and kept for later processing.

The high-grade scandium mineralization at Lucknow is contained within highly oxidized and weathered red-brown lateritic materials and in many areas the mineralization starts at surface, to a maximum depth of 40 metres. Where the scandium is associated with high-grade nickel-cobalt grades, it usually occurs above them in the laterite profile.

The company now plans to drill 3 or 4 diamond drill holes for metallurgical, geological and bulk density purposes. It will also carry out additional metallurgical test work as well as initial pit design and scheduling.

Scandium is a rare earth element which has the potential to significantly enhance the ‘green economy’. It is used in fuel cells, high-strength low-weight aluminium alloys, high intensity lamps and structural ceramics.

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