Northern Minerals has announced two new high-grade heavy rare earth (HRE) discoveries, Dazzler and Iceman, less than 15 kilometres from its Browns Range processing plant in northern Western Australia.
Assay results from reverse circulation drilling of the two prospects have returned high-grade results, including 18 metres at 9.1 per cent total rare earth oxide (TREO) and 21 metres at 2.15 per cent TREO.
Northern Minerals managing director George Bauk said, “These very high-grade assays confirms our belief of having two new discoveries located close to the Browns Range processing infrastructure.
“We will be mobilising as soon as practicable to follow up on these results as well as other high-priority areas targeting the Gardiner sandstone unconformity.”
Through the use of portable XRF (pXRF) technology last month, significant mineralisation was found in the Gardiner sandstone.
It was an overlying unit previously considered less prospective than the underlying Browns Range metamorphics.
Of this discovery, Bauk commented, “I am particularly encouraged by the potential for heavy rare earth mineralisation to be discovered in the overlying Gardiner Sandstone given we have tens of kilometres of the unconformity that presents itself as a completely new exploration model.”
The company anticipates follow up drilling, including diamond drilling, at Dazzler and Iceman to commence by December 2018.
Northern Minerals is the first producer of HREs outside of China. It will mainly produce dysprosium and terbium, and is set to produce 279,000kg of the former per year.
The first stage of the Browns Range project will involve a three-year pilot plant project, including the construction of a three-year, 60,000 tonnes per year (t/y) pilot plant operation consisting of an open cut mining operation.