Podium adds rhodium, iridium to Parks Reef PGM play

14 April 2022
Article by Business News

Australia’s first five-element, or “5E” platinum group metals mine is one step closer to reality after historic samples were resampled, showing high-grade rhodium and iridium at Podium Minerals’ Parks Reef PGM Project in Western Australia.

A discovery that also lifts the value of an ounce at the project by 30 per cent with the addition of the two valuable minerals according to the company.

Platinum group metals, or “PGM” explorer Podium Minerals has been working a 15km strike of near-surface PGM- gold-base metal mineralisation in WA’s Mid-West region between the mining centres of Cue and Meekatharra.

In the PGM world, 3E refers to the three better known platinum group elements of platinum, palladium and gold, whereas 5E includes the former with the addition of iridium and rhodium.

Podium sent almost 2500 samples from 127 historic drill holes to the lab in its 5E search and the results confirmed what it said was high-grade, high-value rhodium and iridium along the 15km strike length.

The standout intercept of 5E PGM was from 34m including l.1m at 5.55 g/t 3E PGM, 0.20 g/t rhodium and 0.13 g/t iridium for a total of 5.88 g/t 5E PGM from 37m.

Podium said the completed program shows an average increase in 5E PGM grade from 3E PGM grade of between 5- 6 per cent and on average rhodium and iridium respectively represent 3-4 per cent and 1-2 per cent of the total 5E PGM grade.

The company announced in September last year a 3E PGM resource of 2.2 million ounces for Parks Reef. That represented a 57 per cent increase in the resource at the time along with a 47 per cent increase in copper to 79,000 tonnes.

Podium said it will look at releasing a 5E resource figure in the future, pending assay results and completion of the current drilling program.

Rhodium is referred to as a critical ‘green’ metal used mainly as a catalyst to reduce harmful light vehicle emissions and is considered one of the rarest and most valuable metals in the world. It is currently being traded at above US$19,000 per ounce with iridium selling for around US$5100 an ounce – considerably more than gold.

Podium Minerals CEO and Managing Director, Sam Rodda said:

“These results place us well on the path to being Australia’s first 5E platinum group metals producer with our 15km long Parks Reef Project revealing the presence of high-grade, high-value Rh [rhodium] and Ir [iridium] throughout the orebody, both of which are extremely valuable metals”.

The two additional metals appear to punch above their weight economically, with Rodda saying the 5-6 per cent increase in PGMs added around 30 per cent in monetary value to an ounce produced at its wholly owned Parks Reef.

Rodda was Podium’s CEO until being given the big desk and the corner Managing Director’s office this week in a shuffling of seats that also saw Non-Executive Director Rodney Baxter appointed Deputy Chairman.