West Cobar Metals’ Salazar clay-hosted rare earth element resource now stands at a staggering 190Mt @ 1172 ppm Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO) following the delivery of the Project’s latest mineral resource estimate which quadrupled the Project’s previous resource.
Growing REE Resource
The much-anticipated resource upgrade included a substantial upgrade for the known Newmont deposit which now stands at 83 Mt of 1117 ppm TREO alongside delivering a maiden inferred resource of 107 Mt of 1216 ppm TREO for its neighbouring O’Connor Deposit.
Figure 1: Location of the Salazar REE Project and tenements
Additionally, the upgrade saw 39 Mt of 1216 ppm TREO of the Newmont deposit’s resource upgraded from the inferred classification to the indicated classification, an important step as the Company continues to advance towards capitalising on the deposit’s potential.
Also of particular interest is the high amount of high-value magnetic rare earth elements praseodymium, neodymium, dysprosium and terbium within the total rare earth oxide grade, with MREOs comprising an estimated 25 per cent of the total TREO content at Newmont.
The latest resource upgrade is the result of a 283-hole air core drilling program carried out across the two Prospects, bringing the Project to a total of 448 air core and reverse circulation drill holes for 15,735m of drilling within the tenements since 2011, making the Project one of the most advance clay-hosted rare earth projects in the lucky country.
The Company also noted that despite this considerable resource growth, they have yet to fully unveil the true extent of mineralisation at either Newmont or O’Conner, with aeromagnetics at Newmont indicating that mineralisation may extended further southwest of the known resource and VTEM imaging at O’Connor indicating that its true resource may be significantly larger.
Also giving the Project further room for growth is the Lanthanos Prospect, a 576 square kilometre prospect located east of Newmont and O’Connor which the Company acquired in December and hosts over 70km of strike prospective for REE enriched clays.
Further compounding the Project’s potential is that recent metallurgical testwork has demonstrated that the clay-hosted REEs are amenable to acid leach extraction at low acid concentrations, temperatures and atmospheric pressure allowing for excellent REE recoveries up to 94% Magnet Rare Earth Oxide.
The Company said that with results in hand, it is continuing its metallurgical testwork program to establish a viable economic extraction flowsheet for the REEs.
“Combined with the metallurgical testwork results at the Newmont deposit, the Salazar Project is an outstanding and substantial REE clay deposit with 190 Mt at 1172 ppm. As we further progress metallurgical and beneficiation testwork, West Cobar Metals is moving closer to becoming a significant producer of clay-hosted REEs in Australia,” Managing Director Matt Swedzicki said.
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