Australia’s Vital Metals Ltd (ASX:VML) has received outstanding results from a 2019 drilling and re-assaying programme at the North T resource contained within its 100%-owned Nechalacho Rare Earth Project, Northwest Territories, Canada.
Significant results include 2.4m at 38.4% total rare earth oxides (TREO) from 13m, 5.1m at 22.9% TREO from 12m, 5.4m at 19.0% TREO from 2m and 2.4m at 29.6% TREO.
Vital Metals Managing Director Geoff Atkins said the results will add to the project’s impressive light rare earth oxides (LREO) resource of 94.7 million tonnes at 1.46% TREO in the measured, indicated and inferred JORC 2012 categories.
“These results are particularly significant – among the highest grades of any rare earth project in the world,” Mr Atkins said.
“The exceptional REO grades, with up to 8.1% NdPr, are being reported almost at surface, an ideal outcome for our plan to produce a high-grade REO concentrate from Nechalacho.
“This drilling is testing the near-surface Bastnaesite Zone at our North T deposit, which is expected to be our starter pit of the operation.
“The company is moving very quickly, and we expect to release an updated Resource incorporating these results before the end of March 2020.”
The world-class grades are not the only thing exciting Vital about Nechalacho.
Nechalacho’s North T Zone is a small, high-grade REO deposit about 2km north of the much larger Upper Zone. The North T Zone contains two distinct zones of REO mineralisation, a Bastnaesite Subzone near the surface with an underlying Xenotime Subzone. Vital Metals is considering the Bastnaesite Subzone in the North T Zone as a potential high-grade start-up.
Bastnaesite mineralisation at North T exhibits excellent concentration and metallurgical characteristics. Vital believes that the bastnaesite mineralisation is one of the very few REO projects globally where mineralisation can produce a 35%+ grade REO concentrate via conventional ore sorting technology without the use of chemicals or water.
The cost of concentrating ore without the use of water and chemicals is substantially lower than a typical REO concentration process requiring extensive crushing, chemicals and a capital-intensive cracking and leaching plant with associated tailings dam and storage facilities costs.
Further, the bastnaesite mineralisation has excellent metallurgical characteristics with 97% recoveries of the rare earths into solution via sulphuric acid leach.