Quantum acquired the Elk Creek project in South East Nebraska on May 4th, 2010. The Elk Creek project is a former Molycorp project. Molycorp left in the early 1990’s when they left all of their exploration to focus on their Mountain Pass project in California. Quantum has since taken up where Molycorp left off. Niobium demand has increased on average 10% a year for the past decade, with growth forecast to continue in similar fashion in the coming decade. Niobium prices have increased in line with this growth. Rare-Earth prices have also seen dramatic increases.
Based on current forecasts, Niobium production from the three current producers is undergoing expansion. CBMM in Brazil, the world’s leading producer, is expanding capacity to meet this demand. The Niobec mine in Quebec, owned by Iamgold, is also undergoing expansion plans in hopes to triple their production levels in the next few years. Despite this increase in production from the three producers, the possibility of demand outstripping supply by the end of the decade remains, opening the doors for additional production to fulfill market needs.
In addition, the prospect of Niobium becoming a material that nations begin stockpiling for strategic purposes could also add additional demands on production. Currently, the U.S. (who import 100% of their Niobium supply), China and several EU countries have all announced their intention to begin stockpiling.
Quantum’s Elk Creek Niobium deposit is the only primary Niobium deposit in the US, and is the highest-grade, large-tonnage undeveloped deposit in North America.
Given the rapid demand growth of Niobium, the limited number of current and potential deposits, the company feels it has an excellent opportunity to secure a partner to advance the deposit towards production.
– 19.3 Mt @ 0.67% Nb2O5 – Indicated and 83.3 Mt @ 0.63% Nb2O5 – Inferred
– 129,182,000 kg of contained Nb2O5 – Indicated and 523,844,000 kg of contained Nb2O5 – Inferred
– Potentially one of the “largest global resources of Niobium and Rare-Earth elements”, according to USGS
– 150,000 feet of historical drill core from 113 holes drilled by Molycorp in the 1970s and 80s
– August 2011, Quantum released 3 holes that were the first holes to be drilled across the deposit- highlight: 131 m Nb2O5
– Substantial historic TREO intercepts, including 54.9m of 3.30%, contained in 155 m of 2.70%
– In September 2011, Quantum released 2 rare earth holes 2.5 km away from the main niobium zone- highlight: 68.18 m 3.32% TREO
The Elk Creek Carbonatite, located in southeastern Nebraska an hour south of Lincoln. The niobium deposit is roughly 800 x 400 x 400 meters. The deposit is open in 3 directions including at depth.
(Light green indicates niobium zones, with the core deposit area, circled in red. Purple indicates REE zones.)
-NEC11-01: 235.22 m of 0.73% Nb2O5
-Including 54.13 m of 1.17% Nb2O5
-NEC11-002: 179.18 m of 0.87% Nb2O5
-Including 131.03 m of 1.02% Nb2O5
-Including 34.16 m of 1.23% Nb2O5
-NEC11-003: 130.37 m of 0.58% Nb2O5
-Including 34.16 m of 0.94% Nb2O5
Historical Molycorp Drill Holes from Re-Sampling Program on Historic Core
|Drillhole||From (meters)||To (meters)||Interval (meters)||Nb2O5%1||
|1Nb2O5 by ALS Chemex of North Vancouver|
The NI 43-101 report is available for public viewing on SEDAR as of May, 2011.
The map below shows Quantum’s 2011 drill holes in red and the proximity of the main niobium zone to the main rare earth zone marked by NEC11-004
3 Main Rare Earth Zones Identified. Quantum Drilled 2 holes in the Eastern Anomaly, Summer 2011.
– NEC11-004: 236.19 meters of 2.10% TREO – Sept 2011
— Including 68.18 m of 3.32% TREO
Eastern Anomaly – located approximately 2.5 kilometers east of the central Niobium deposit
– EC-93: 155.5m @ 2.70% TREO
— Including 54.9 m @ 3.30% TREO
– EC-55: 211.8 m @ 1.12% TREO
– EC-43: 134.1 m @ 1.22% TREO
— Including 22.9m @ 2.35% TREO
— Including 6.1m @ 5.07% TREO
Western REE Anomaly – located approximately 1,000 metres northwest of the central niobium deposit.
– EC-4: 15.2m @ 1.14% TREO
– EC-41: 112.8 m @ 1.13% TREO
Central REE Anomaly – located directly adjacent to and up to 1.6 kilometres northeast of the central niobium deposit.
– EC-17: 64.0m @ 1.19% TREO
— Including 24.4m @ 1.97% TREO
– EC-19: 50.3 m @ 1.09% TREO
– EC-21: 21.0 m @ 1.60% TREO
– EC-48: 67.1 m @ 1.26%
*Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO) include La2O3, Ce2O3, Pr2O3, Nd2O3, Sm2O3, Eu2O3, Gd2O3, Tb2O3, Dy2O3, Ho2O3, Er2O3, Tm2O3, Yb2O3, Lu2O3 and Y2O3. The result of the sampling to date has identified mostly Light Rare Earth Oxides (LREO) mineralization, in order of abundance: La2O3, Ce2O3, Nd2O3, Pr2O3, and Sm2O3.
Elk Creek Image Gallery