The WA1 Resources Ltd (ASX: WA1) share price is catching the eye on Thursday.
In afternoon trade, the niobium explorer's shares are up 15% to $6.45.
Why is the WA1 Resources share price rocketing?
Investors have been fighting to get hold of the company's shares following the release of drilling results from the West Arunta project in Western Australia.
According to the release, the assay results indicate a significant extension of high-grade mineralisation across the western portion of the Luni carbonatite complex at the project.
Management highlights that these are the best niobium intersections to date received from broad step-out drilling, located 400m from previously reported results.
It believes these drillholes continue to support the interpretation of a high-grade blanket of niobium mineralisation across a large area of the Luni carbonatite.
WA1's Managing Director, Paul Savich, commented:
This latest round of assay results, which includes a number of our highest-grade niobium intercepts to date, further expands the mineralised footprint and continues to establish the potential global significance of Luni.
Our understanding of the geological model at Luni continues to evolve and these results suggest thickening of the high-grade and flat-lying blanket of enriched mineralisation along the interpreted southern margin of the carbonatite complex.
What is niobium used for?
The company highlights that niobium is a critical metal with unique properties that make it essential as the world transitions to a low carbon economy.
The primary niobium product is ferroniobium (FeNb, ~65% Nb), which accounts for approximately 90% of a 100,000tpa market. Ferroniobium is utilised as a micro alloy in the steel industry to improve the mechanical properties of steel.
In addition, niobium pentoxide (Nb2O5) represents a key growth market, with significant recent developments in lithium-ion battery technology to utilise niobium to substantially reduce charge times down to six minutes while enhancing battery life.
The WA1 Resources share price is up 35% since this time last week.