Equinox Resources continues to build on its Brazilian rare earth elements (REE) strategy with an application for a set of highly prospective exploration tenements in a world-class niobium production province in the South American nation.
In mid-December, Equinox expanded its strategic REE exploration footprint in Brazil by applying for a new package of prospective rare earth clay tenements to establish the Mata da Corda project located in the province of Patos de Minas in Minas Gerais State.
That followed the staking of the Campo Grande Project in late November 2023.
Equinox is now boosting those strategic moves by pegging applications for approximately 600 sq km of mining rights to establish the newly-defined Canastra project situated in the niobium-rich Alto Paranaíba Igneous Province, also located in Minas Gerais.
Chief executive officer Zac Komur said Equinox believes the Canastra project has the potential to be an important and cost-effective strategic extension of its rare earth tenements in Brazil.
“This initiative represents another important step towards cementing our position in the burgeoning global commodity sector, which is poised for substantial growth,” Mr Komur said.
“Our application for new niobium tenements reflects our steadfast commitment to maximising shareholder value by diligently researching and identifying the potential of high margin deposits.”
“The critical role of niobium in strengthening steel – a cornerstone in the green infrastructure of the future – cannot be overstated,” he added.
“Positioned within Brazil, we gain a competitive edge in a jurisdiction well-known for its cost-efficiency.”
Niobium hub benefits
Mr Komur said the project’s location in a global hub for niobium production also provides Equinox with access to local expertise, existing logistics and sustainable energy resources.
“The region’s abundant resources and deep pool of skills and talent, along with its superior infrastructure and green energy grid, perfectly align with our commitment to environmentally responsible growth.”
“The global scarcity of niobium, coupled with the premium prices for ferroniobium and niobium pentoxide, underscores the significant potential of this newly established project and is consistent with Equinox’s strategic focus on high-margin, future-facing commodities.”
“As the global economy shifts towards advanced technologies, the demand for niobium will surge, making this a very attractive commodity to add to our portfolio mix.”
Niobium is considered a critical mineral in many jurisdictions, with alloys containing the element used in jet engines and rockets, beams and girders for buildings and oil rigs, as well as oil and gas pipelines.
It also used in superconducting magnets for particle accelerators, MRI scanners and NMR equipment.
Battery potential growing
There is also growing interest in the element’s use in the booming battery sector.
A number of new niobium-based innovations have recently been highlighted as offering the prospect of greener, more affordable and efficient battery technologies.
Advancements in niobium battery technology promise ultra-fast charging capabilities, potentially enabling batteries to reach full charge in under 10 minutes, increase energy density by 200% and achieve enhanced performance stability across more than 10,000 charging cycles.
A niobium-titanium oxide super charge ion battery developed by Toshiba is attracting significant interest with capabilities such as achieving a 90% charge in just six minutes and maintaining 80% capacity after 25,000 cycles, offering up to 320km range.
Initial exploration plans
Once it has been officially granted the new tenements, Equinox plans to initially undertake preparatory work (such as soil sampling) on the Mata da Corda Project.
Its early exploration plans also include a comprehensive project review in the lead-up to selecting exploration contractors for a drilling campaign planned to commence in Q3 CY2024.
Source: small caps