Mount Ridley Mines Limited – rare earths in the Esperance region, Western Australia

12 December 2022 12:31

The Rare Earth narrative is gaining pace. This is a great thing for the investors in this space but I feel that there is still no straight answer as to what constitutes a workable project. All the numbers are a blur. What is a number/grade that is a cause for celebrations? In addition, what is a good sized resource that will make a project economical?

The Mount Ridley REE project appears to have all the components that make a good resource project. The grade (according to current descriptions) is among the peers. The length of intercept in the current drilling looks acceptable, again, according to the comparisons from peer projects.

When I look at the current Clay REE story, as Guy Le Page rightly points out, it is now all about metallurgy. The companies that are in the industry are trying to figure out how to treat the resources. The expertise that is in China has been a vacuum and that is not a good path for the Non-Chinese Rare Earth projects.

As you watch and listen to Guy Le Page narrate the path forward for the REE players, it is crystal clear that they must work out the chemistry side of the business. What is also abundantly clear to me is that the region, the Esperance region, is made for industry. Everything is set up for some industry to come along and make full use of the facilities.

In one of our discussions, Guy and I agreed that when the companies come up with a flow sheet that will drive the REE business, the business will have a very smooth transition as the Esperance township will embrace the opportunity with open arms.

Check out the conversation in this Coffee with Samso and, as I always encourage, DYOR.


00:00 Start

00:20 Introduction

00:52 What is Mount Ridley all about?

02:20 A new province?

04:43 Can or will Australia be moving into an era of being a Rare Earths player?

06:07 Is Clay harder than Hard Rock projects?

08:12 Is Rare Earths all about volume like the Cola story?

09:47 REO Type Breakdown.

10:55 The Geopolitical Issue.

14:59 MRD has been a quiet achiever.

16:50 Thoughts on the market.

17:59 News flow for the next 12 months.

19:13 Why MRD?

20:02 Conclusion



About Guy Le Page

Non-Executive Director

B.A., BSc (Hons), MBA, MAusIMM, FFIN

Mr Le Page is currently a Director & Corporate Adviser of RM Corporate Finance specialising in resources. He is actively involved in a range of corporate initiatives from mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings to valuations, consulting and corporate advisory roles.

Mr Le Page was Head of Research at Morgan Stockbroking Limited (Perth) prior to joining Tolhurst Noall as a Corporate Advisor in July of 1998. As Head of Research, Mr Le Page was responsible for the supervision of all Industrial and Resources Research. As a Resources Analyst, Mr Le Page published detailed research on various mineral exploration and mining companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. The majority of this research involved valuations of both exploration and production assets.

Prior to entering the stockbroking industry, he spent 10 years as an exploration and mining geologist in Australia, Canada and the United States. His experience spans gold and base metal exploration and mining geology, and he has acted as a consultant to private and public companies. This professional experience included the production of both technical and valuation reports for resource companies.

Mr Le Page holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Science and a Masters’ Degree in Business Administration from the University of Adelaide, a Bachelor of Applied Science (Hons) from the Curtin University of Technology and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Securities Institute of Australia.

About Mount Ridley Mines Limited (ASX:MRD)

Mount Ridley Mines Limited is undertaking the exploration of a significant deposit of valuable clay-hosted rare earth elements in Western Australia. The Project was initially acquired for its nickel and copper sulphides potential and is now recognised as being prospective for ionic clay REE deposits.

Currently, this style of deposit is mined and processed only in China and Myanmar.

In November 2020 Mount Ridley Mines Limited (“MRD”) commenced a review of data for its namesake Mount Ridley Project and surrounding area.

The review concluded that areas of the Biranup and Nornalup geological provinces in south-eastern Western Australia have the potential for REE mineralisation, and in particular, the style of mineralisation referred to as Ionic Adsorption Clay (IAC-REE).

Globally, deposits of IAC-REE are most significant in southern China and are the world’s main source of heavy Rare Earth Elements.

The Project

REE mineralisation occurs as large, horizontal, near surface, sheet-like lenses up to a depth of 89 metres. REE mineralisation is interpreted to be present within the in-situ saprolite clay horizon. Patchy lower grade zones occur within transported cover which may vector towards stronger REE mineralisation deeper within the regolith.

Geological Survey of Western Australia (DMIRS) mapping[1] shows that the Mount Ridley Project REE mineralisation occurs within the weathered mantle (regolith) of the Recherche Super-suite, which is described as “granitic and mafic gneiss; may include intrusions of Esperance Super-suite”.

While the source of the REE mineralisation is currently unknown, a detailed sample and litho-geochemistry dataset from bottom of hole aircore samples has been established which includes whole-rock chemical analyses, sample pulps and some end-of-hole air core samples. These samples and data are being studied by the Company’s consultant geochemist to identify the primary rock-type and whether units are REE-enriched.

Re-assay of 950 air core samples (162 pending) returned significant REE values over an apparent strike in excess of 25 km with over 20 samples returning >1,000 ppm Mineralisation remains open in all directions with a peak value so far at the Keith’s Prospect from MRAC0711 with 10,461ppm (1.05%) from 23m downhole.

Significant REE intersections have been identified and grouped into 5 prospects – Winston’s, Keith’s, The Lake, Tyrell’s and Marcellus.

Planning underway for a 25,000m aircore program to test newly acquired tenements in addition to step-out and infill holes.


[1] (DMIRS) Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety 1:100,000 Interpreted Bedrock Geology


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