Of course, the positive numbers are no surprise. As noted, NioCorp reported high-grade drill results from Elk Creek throughout the summer, including assays in excess of 3- and 4-percent Nb2O5. Smith said at the end of August that those results confirm the company's "belief that this truly is a world class deposit."More to come? This latest resource estimate undoubtedly solidifies that confidence, but NioCorp isn't done defining its resource yet. It's planning a six-hole Phase 2 drill program to follow up on the recently completed five-hole Phase 1 program, with a Phase 3 program to follow as well, "if necessary." The company stresses in today's release that the estimate is based only from the results of Phase 1 drilling operations as well as historic data, and states that it expects to complete Phase 2 drill operations in the fourth quarter, followed by another updated resource estimate including that data. Certainly, it's unusual for a company to release two updates so close together, but that could speak to NioCorp's commitment to drumming up support for the project and getting it to production quickly. Recent drilling has mainly been aimed at expanding the knowledge that NioCorp already has, as the company has already completed a preliminary economic assessment for Elk Creek and is looking to finish a feasibility study by early next year. Smith stated in an August 13 interview with Business News Network that NioCorp is hoping to reach production by 2017, and has widespread local support for the Nebraska project. Financing That's a lot of work in a short amount of time, and NioCorp isn't wasting any time securing funding. As stated above, it announced its intention to conduct a $16.5-million private placement Monday "at an issue price to be determined in the context of the market." It is to be conducted on a best-efforts basis. The company entered into an agreement regarding the placement with Mackie Research Capital, and will use the net proceeds for drilling, metallurgical studies, work at its pilot plant and engineering work ahead of its feasibility study.
Investors interested in the critical metals and rare earth element spaces will no doubt want to watch for further drill results from the company's Phase 2 drill program to see how it progresses.Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no investment interest in any companies mentioned in this article. Related reading: Why NioCorp's Elk Creek Niobium Project is Worth a Look Charging Ahead: NioCorp Developments Releases Updated Resource Estimate from Rare Earth Investing News