Group Ten Metals Inc. (PGE:TSX.V; PGEZF:OTCQB; 5D32:FSE) announced in a news release that various analyses confirmed potentially significant values of rhodium in multiple target areas at its Stillwater West platinum group elements (PGEs)-nickel-copper-cobalt project in Montana.
"Our work targeting this rare and very valuable metal in 2019 not only identified grades that are significantly above the majority of current mine grades but also identified a potential source of the metal in North America at a time when the U.S. is looking to secure domestic supplies of platinum group elements," President and CEO Michael Rowley said in the release.
"At current prices, 0.5 g/t of rhodium is equivalent to more than 5 g/t of platinum, so it quickly adds value as a potential coproduct," added Rowley. Rhodium is only mined as a coproduct at platinum and nickel mines. Earlier this year, the rhodium price increased to $11,000 an ounce.
Vancouver, British Columbia-based Group Ten Metals analyzed 51 surface samples of rock and 207 samples of drill core taken from target areas at Stillwater West that were located to the west of Iron Mountain, as far as 10 kilometers away.
Multiple rock samples returned high-grade rhodium, including 1.07 grams per ton (1.07 g/t) at the Bald Hills target, 0.541 g/t at the Pine target and 0.572 g/t and 0.492 g/t at the Dunite Ridge target. The rhodium results from Dunite Ridge and Bald Hills are significant because both targets also demonstrated high-grade platinum and palladium. Additionally, the rhodium grade correlated with the platinum, palladium and chromite content.
Drill core samples from the Iron Mountain and Camp target areas showed rhodium grades of up to 0.167 g/t. (Currently, a range of rhodium grades is mined, the highest about 0.5 g/t.)
"We now have a much better understanding of the occurrence of rhodium in the lower Stillwater complex and can target it accordingly in future campaigns," Rowley said. "Stillwater West continues to yield exciting results starting with the broad intercepts of exceptional PGE-Ni-Cu-Co grades reported previously and, more recently, high-grade gold and rhodium results. We look forward to providing further news including updates on 3D modelling work at the most advanced target areas in addition to summaries of our work at reef-type targets, and our plans and expectations for the 2020 field season at Stillwater."
Group Ten Metals described in the news release the current global market for rhodium, a PGE used in automotive catalytic converters. South America produces about 80% of the world's rhodium with Russia accounting for the bulk of the remaining 20%. In 2019, worldwide rhodium production totaled 1.1 million ounces, which was not enough to counteract the existing multiyear supply shortage.[NLINSERT]
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