Junior exploration company Mountain Lake Resources (CVE:MOA) stated on Thursday that it has initiated drilling on several high-grade, drill ready antimony targets located in the Southern Zone and LePouvoir Vein Zone areas of the Little River Property, in southern Newfoundland.
The Little River property was optioned from local prospectors in 2008, with Mountain Lake planning to earn a 100% interest in the project by next year.
Though the project was optioned originally for its gold occurences, the company continues to encounter significant antimony values, with antimony-bearing veins having now been identified sporadically over a 20 kilometre strike length.
The project area has 382 mining claims, covering 9,550 hectares over a strike length of 31 kilometres in the Baie D’Espoir area of southern Newfoundland.
Last quarter, the company expected to finish a winter drill program on primary antimony targets, but bad weather conditions alongside drill crew availability issues resulted in the postponment of drilling until after the spring breakup period. A soil sampling program is also underway to further identify potential antimony and gold drill targets on the property.
Although Little River is still a discovery stage project, there is precedent in Newfoundland of a high grade antimony vein discovery evolving into one of the biggest antimony deposits in the world outside China, the company said.
China produces 90% of the world’s supply of antimony, but due to environmental standards and concerns over supply, this has led to the closure of many antimony smelters in the country's Hunan province.
A silvery-white crystalline metal, antimony can occur in its natural state, but has often been found in other minerals mostly in the mineral stibnite. It is used to increase hardness and strengthen metal alloys, and has been widely utilized in the production of flame-retardants, batteries, ammunition, cable sheathing, and the semi-conductor industry.
The antimony vein in the northeastern area of the Little River property is of particular interest, due to it being larger than the Beaver Brook vein found in 1989, which has been the only primary producer of antimony in Canada and the United States.
"We have had inquiries from several international companies interested in the antimony potential at the Little River project," said Mountain Lake president and CEO Gary Woods.
"Should our exploration program demonstrate there are additional high grade antimony veins or increase the size of the veins encountered last fall, it will advance the project significantly," he said.