American West adds indium to West Desert’s MRE

American West Metals (ASX:AW1) has added a ‘significant’ indium resource to its updated Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for the West Desert deposit in Utah, US. 

The $49.44 million market capitalisation company reports the updated inferred MRE adds 33.7 million tonnes (Mt) @ 20 grams per tonne (g/t) indium (In) and 0.1g/t gold (Au). 

This includes 18.7Mt @ 13g/t In and 0.09g/t Au contained within an open-pit resource; and 15Mt @ 28.7g/t In and 0.12g/t Au contained within a ‘higher-grade’ underground resource.

American West also reports this adds 23.8 million ounces of indium and 119,000 ounces of gold to its existing resource at West Desert. 

Historical resource estimates and economic studies demonstrated that a ‘large’ quantity of indium and gold exists within the deposit, and this was confirmed in drilling by American West during 2022. 

Normally found with zinc sulphide ores, along with iron, lead, and copper ores, indium is an electrical conductive film used to make LCD displays and photovoltaic panels. 

The element is also used in specialty alloys, microchips, and semiconductors. 

American West Metals Managing Director Dave O’Neill says both elements were left out in the maiden MRE conducted in February due to data gaps in the historical drilling, but further studies has allowed the company to now add these 2 ‘highly valuable’ metals as inferred resources. 

“West Desert is currently the only indium resource in the US and is one of the largest undeveloped deposits of the metal globally. 

As the geopolitical alignment of supply chains in the resources sector emerges as an important issue in the US, the updated MRE highlights the unique characteristics of West Desert and its importance to the supply of critical and strategic metals. 

The large resources and exciting growth opportunities at West Desert demonstrate the outstanding value of the project.”

Upon today’s (13 December) announcement, the company believers there is ‘significant’ potential to increase the MRE with further exploration in the near-mine areas. 

The company says 4 specific opportunities have been defined including the potential for further ‘high-grade’ zinc-copper-silver-indium-gold resources, a newly identified copper zone, magnetite iron-ore, molybdenum, and near-mine exploration targets. 

Subsequent to this announcement, American West’s share price had spiked 13% to $0.130 as of 11am AEDT today. 

The company is continuing leaching testwork on oxide zinc and copper ores from the proposed open-pit at West Desert. Testwork includes new leaching technologies and processes aimed at optimising and building on testwork completed to date. 

American West Metals is a clean energy mining company focused on discovering and developing major base metal mineral deposits in tier-one jurisdictions of North America and the US.

As of 30 September 2023, the company had $7 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report. 

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Images: American West Metals
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.