Northern Minerals has set its sights on extending the life of the Browns Range rare earths project in Western Australia by more than 20 years.
The company has allocated a budget of up to $5 million for its exploration program in the 2021 financial year.
It plans to drill around 16,500 metres across the Browns Range tenements before the end of June next year.
Drill rigs are expected to mobilise to site next month to test greenfield targets and follow up on previous drilling.
These results hope to compliment Northern Minerals’ pilot plant test work in December in assessing the potential for a larger scale heavy rare earths production in the Kimberley, by extracting rare earths from hard rock xenotime ore.
“The significant commitment to exploration in the next 12 months will underpin the company’s ongoing ambition to realise the potential of Browns Range beyond the pilot plant project, which if successful would create significantly greater opportunities for the company, the state and Australia in the global context of producing these critical, strategic minerals within our borders,” Northern Minerals chief executive Mark Tory said.
“Finding Dazzler lookalikes will be a priority for exploration for the next 12 months, as its grades are up to three times the total Browns Range resource grade.
“If we can find a few more of these it will help us realise the current strategy to increase mine life to 20-plus years.”
Northern Minerals has partially restarted the Browns Range project after a five-month hiatus due to COVID-19.