iTech Minerals Ltd (ASX: ITM) has identified significant rare earth element mineralisation in the clay rich, weathering profile at the Salt Creek Prospect on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia.
The rare earths display significant enrichment of neodymium and praesidium (~23% Nd+Pr), which are critical in the production of permanent magnets for electric vehicles and renewable energy.
They also display significant enrichment in desirable heavy rare earth element oxides (~39% HREO) which command a premium price.
Drilling was undertaken by Archer Materials in 2011 while exploring for manganese and returned significant REE results including:
• SRC11-002 – 30 m @ 511 ppm TREO from 3m, including 2m @ 1306 ppm TREO from 4m and 3m @ 1327 ppm TREO from 30m
• SRC11-003 – 13m @ 1047 ppm TREO from 0m
• SRC11-004 – 6m @ 1507 ppm TREO from 16m and 4m @ 1307 ppm TREO from 30m
• SRC11-006 – 12m @ 1698 ppm TREO from 0m, including 4m @ 3093 ppm TREO from 0m, and 5m @ 1439 ppm TREO from 8m
• SRC11-012 – 32m @ 891 ppm TREO from 6m, including 16m @ 1137 ppm TREO from 10m and 2m @ 1079 ppm TREO from 35m
• SRC11-014 – 3m @ 1015 ppm TREO from 0m
• SRC11-015 – 8m @ 790 ppm TREO from 4m, including 4m @ 1157 ppm TREO from 8m
• SRC11-016 – 23m @ 1065 ppm TREO from 12m, including 4m @ 3019 ppm TREO from 20m and 4m @ 1090ppm TREO from 28m
“The Salt Creek Prospect confirms the prospectivity of the Eyre Peninsula for REE. With over 1,400km2 of ground in the region, and a huge amount of historical data from Archer Materials to guide us, we are in a very strong position to capitalise on this potential,” Managing Director, Mike Schwarz, said.
Salt Creek REE Potential
A detailed review of historical data, from drilling undertaken by Archer Materials Ltd in 2011, identified thick intervals of up to 32m of REE rich, clay dominant material, over an area extending over 1 km in a north-south direction.
Of the 19 drill holes drilled, 15 holes had high levels of REE mineralisation consistent with ion adsorption clay (IAC) style mineralisation.
The results show thick intervals of clay rich material near surface with high levels of total rare earth element oxides (TREO). This confirms the company’s view that the Eyre Peninsula Projects have significant potential for IAC style deposits.
Results from this work will help guide the company’s upcoming drilling programmes to focus on known areas of mineralisation.
The 2011 Archer Materials drilling programmr was targeting manganese rich horizons within Paleoproterozoic Hutchison Group Metasediments. As a matter of good process, they also undertook multielement analysis including the full suite of REEs.
At the time IAC REE mineralisation was relatively unknown outside of southern China and the demand for REE were not as strong as today, so the implications were not fully realised. With limited success finding manganese mineralisation at Salt Creek the project was mothballed.
For further information please visit: https://www.itechminerals.com.au/