Everest in rubidium extraction expedition with ECU

Everest Metals Corporation (ASX:EMC) is teaming up with Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University (ECU) for direct rubidium extraction from the company’s Mt Edon Project in the state. 

It comes as Everest prepares to launch resource drilling during the June quarter of 2024 at the project, with a program of work (PoW) already in place. 

Under the 36-month research agreement with ECU, Everest and the university will take on studies relating to the extraction of rubidium and mica from Mt Edon ore using ‘advanced’ processes such as ion exchange. 

Everest says the research project is designed to help develop a ‘state-of-the-art’ direct rubidium extraction process to support an increasing need for sustainable and environmentally friendly extraction processes. 

Utilising purification and refining tech, the studies will ultimately look to lead to conversion into a final product such as rubidium slat, metal, or mica. 

Importantly, Everest will retain all intellectual property (IP) developed under the research agreement, though ECU will have the right to commercially exploit the IP. 

Everest will also grant ECU a royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to use the project IP for further research and non-commercial purposes, and the two parties will jointly produce government Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grant applications, academic reports, scientific reports, and papers to support patent applications.

Further, Everest says the company expenditure on the project will be eligible for government research and development (R&D) tax incentive breaks. 

ECU and Everest first signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) outlining the terms of the research agreement back in November 2023 as it completed a $2.4 million share placement. As part of the research arrangement, the two parties will operate out of ECU’s Mineral Recovery Research Centre (MRRC).

Meanwhile, Everest has outlined its plans for two phases of resource and new target drilling at the Mt Edon project to occur around May and June in 2024 and then in August and September. 

Under the first phase of work, Everest is planning to complete around 1,600m of reverse circulation (RC) drilling, with 18 holes to be drilled at a spacing of 40m along strike and 20m across strike at the project and 7 holes to test individual pegmatites parallel to the main orebody. 

The company says this phase of drilling will help define a mineralised wireframe and generate an inferred mineral resource estimate (MRE). 

In phase two, Everest will complete another 1,400m of infill RC drilling extending to 20m along-strike to further help calculate a maiden MRE. 

As it stands, the company expects to deliver the MRE during the December quarter of this year. 

While Everest has recently had a PoW for the work approved by Western Australia’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, the company is now planning environmental studies and relevant documentation for developing a mining proposal. 

The Mt Edon project lies on the southern portion of the Paynes Find Greenstone Belt in Western Australia, which Everest says is known to host swarms of pegmatites and is highly prospective for critical minerals.

Alongside Mt Edon, Everest owns a string of assets prospective for gold, base metals, critical metals, and silver in Western Australia and New South Wales. 

Everest Metals had around $2.86 million cash at hand at the end of December 2023, according to its latest quarterly report. 

Images: Everest Metals Corporation 
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Written By Joshua Smith
Joshua Smith has years of experience in the media sector, having worked as a markets reporter, features writer, and editor since completing a Communications and Journalism degree and a Creative Writing degree. Josh is an avid board game fan and a self-professed coffee snob.