West Cobar Metals continue to build the Salazar Project’s rare earth element potential, with new drill assays up to 7,437 ppm TREO indicating significant growth potential for the Project’s upcoming REE resource revision.
Rearing on REEs
The Company has returned all results from the 283-hole phase-one drilling program designed to infill and extend the Newmont deposit Inferred 43.5Mt at 1192ppm TREO, with returned assays now building the Company’s confidence in potential extension to the north and south of the deposit.
New intersections include:
− 34m of 2,337 ppm TREO from 7m in SZA 070
− 20m of 1,449 ppm TREO from 9m in SZA 077
− 33m of 1,264 ppm TREO from 16m in SZA 094
− 16m of 2,086 ppm TREO from 10m in SZA122
− 14m of 4,329 ppm TREO from 19m in SZA 155
− 29m of 1,476 ppm TREO from 4m in SZA178
− 11m of 3,272 ppm TREO from 16m in SZA180
− 4m of 7,437 ppm TREO from 64m in SZA 249
− 32m of 2,005 ppm TREO from 11m in SZA 253
Drilling also continues to demonstrate that Newmont’s clay-hosted REE mineralisation contains a relatively high amount of magnetic rare earth oxides, with MREOs comprising an estimated 25 per cent of total TREO, with MREO content made up of 3 per cent dysprosium, 0.5 per cent terbium, 4.2 per cent praseodymium and 16.8 per cent neodymium.
These new intersections will be included in the deposits Mineral Resource update, which the Company has now appointed AMC Consultants to undertake and deliver next month.
While delivering potential extensions for Newmont was the priority, the 9342m drilling campaign was also able to deliver further high-grade REE returns from Salazar’s O’Connor Prospects as well, with intersections showing grades up to 2,260 ppm and thicknesses up to 33 metres, demonstrating the continuity of high-REE grades at shallow depths.
Intersections from O’Connor showed grades exceeding 500 TREO in every hole over a 3.5-kilometre line, indicating a wide zone of continuous mineralisation and presenting a new avenue for future additions to Salazar’s REE resource.
Efficient REE Extraction
With phase one drilling complete and the Mineral Resource revision soon to be underway, the Company has said that establishing a viable and economic REE extraction methodology is its top priority.
West Cobar has engaged the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation to begin a metallurgical testwork program to deliver a flowsheet for the extraction of Salazars REEs through a leeching process with hydrochloric acid, with testwork aiming to optimise acid concentration, consumption and REE recoveries.
Additionally, benefaction trials are currently underway, with the Company planning to release results as soon as they become available.
Alongside the drill results, West Cobar has also been recently granted exploration licence E69/3982, bringing the Company’s total granted tenement in the highly prospective clay-hosted REE Esperance district to approximately 720 square km.
The Company said these new high-grade near-surface REE hits continue to make Newmont stand out from its peers.
“The full complement of phase one assays, together with a revised geological model, confirm high-grade, continuous near surface rare earth mineralisation at the Newmont deposit. The robust drill results also confirm the potential of the O’Connor Prospect for major additional tonnages,” Chairman Rob Glug said.
“Now that all assay results have been received, our focus will be to integrate the recent drill data to produce an updated Inferred Mineral Resource for the Newmont deposit. In parallel the Company will progress its metallurgical and beneficiation testwork to provide data to move the Newmont deposit towards development.”
WC1’s Australian Stock Exchange-listed share price has risen 11.11 per cent today, currently selling at 10c (10:35 am UTC+ 8 hours).