World’s largest single rare earth deposit discovered, in North Korea

Pacific Century Rare Earth Mineral has announced the discovery of what it claims is the "the largest, single rare earth elements target in the world", in North Korea.

The company, which is developing the Jongju 'super deposit' in conjunction with private equity company SRE Minerals and the Korea Natural Resources Trading Corporation, stated that "the Jongju 'Super Target' has the potential of six times the reserves of China (which currently controls more than 90% of the world's resources) and will re-transform the Global Rare Earth industry in the near future".

PCRE went on to state that it could support a 'super mine' status for more than 100 years, although it only has existing rights to mine for 25 years with an optional renewal period of another 25 years.

Early drilling on the deposit showed grades of 664.9 Mt at  > 9.00% TREO, 634.0 Mt a > 5.70 ≤ 9.00% TREO, 2.077 Bt at  > 3.97 ≤ 5.70% TREO, 340.4 Mt @ >1.35 ≤ 3.97% TREO, and 2.339 Bt at ≤ 1.35% TREO are present in the Jongju REE Target (a total of 216.2 Mt TREO).

This translates into a potential mineralisation of around six billion tonnes.

The THREO – component is assumed to be 2.62% or approximately 5.45 Mt.

Jongju is located approximately two hours north of the Democratic Peoples' Republic of North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, and is 30 kilometres west of the nation's coal mining district Anju.

Further exploration of the site is scheduled for early next year, which will include around 96 000 metres of core drilling in the first phase and 120 000 metres of drilling in the second phase.

Results will be reported according to Australia's own JORC code.

According to a 2009 Goldman Sachs report, the DPRK has around $6 trillion worth of undeveloped mineral resources, however it did not include rare earths, which according to a Kores report last year would be worth close to $6 trillion alone.

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