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Taruga unearths high-grade rare earth elements in SA

The date of: 2021-08-24
viewed: 16

source:the west Australian

ASX-listed junior explorer, Taruga Minerals has delivered multiple broad and high-grade rare earth element hits at its Mt Craig copper project in South Australia. Other critical battery metals such as lithium, scandium and vanadium were also intercepted. Results include an impressive 9m hit going 1,059 parts per million total rare earth oxide or “TREO”, which adds a new dimension to Mt Craig that was considered to be a copper play.

The 100 per cent owned Mt Craig lies on the copper-rich Adelaide Geosyncline within the G2 structural corridor that is famous for copper production via BHP’s world-class Olympic Dam mine and OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena and Prominent Hill operations.

The copper potential of Mt Craig is also evidenced through the company’s ongoing exploration efforts at the Wyacca prospect to the north of the tenure. Recent and past drilling intercepts include 11m at 1.5 per cent copper from 85m and 5m at 2.4 per cent copper from 17m.

It now appears however that Mt Craig may also be awash with other geological goodies, namely rare earths and other critical battery metals at the Morgan’s Creek prospect to the south of the landholding.

The 9m intercept at Morgan’s Creek also delivered a bumper grade 1m interval at 4,558 ppm TREO from 137m and a broad 132m interval from surface going 56ppm scandium oxide and 548ppm vanadium pentoxide.

Other results from recent drilling include 29m going 501 ppm TREO from 22m and 15m at 0.16 per cent lithium oxide from just 6m. A high-grade interval of 1m at 2,905 ppm TREO was also returned in the same hole.

Drilling has also identified broad and shallow low-grade rare earths, copper and silver mineralisation including a thick 110m hit going 276 ppm TREO from just 3m downhole.

Taruga says the rare earths mineralisation at Morgans Creek is enriched in heavy rare earth oxides, or “HREO”, critical rare earth oxides, or “CREO” and light rare earth oxides, or “LREO”.

Early signs suggest the broader lower grade TREO intercepts contain higher proportions of the more valuable HREOs and CREOs, with grades up to 71 per cent HREO and up to 53 per cent CREO reported by the company. Taruga believes the composition of the broad lower grade mineralisation to be economically significant.

Curiously, management says that initial rare earths results at Morgan’s Creek contain a high concentration of elements vital for high-value batteries and magnets used in the burgeoning electric vehicle industry, including an average content going 21 per cent neodymium and praseodymium, 24 per cent CREO and 18 per cent HREO.

Additionally, Taruga says grades and thicknesses of some of the intercepts are comparable to ASX-listed rare earth element focused peers.

Recently listed company, Australian Rare Earths, whose market capitalisation clocks in at more than $100m, has been returning significant intercepts at its Koppamurra project in South Australia that include 3m at 1,471ppm TREO and 5m at 874ppm TREO. The project hosts a 40 million tonne resource at about 725ppm TREO.

Elsewhere, Iconic Rare Earths, with a market capitalisation of about $102m, is working its Makuutu project in Uganda taking in a 315Mt resource going 650ppm TREO and 30ppm scandium oxide.

Taruga believes however that the additional presence of copper, lithium, vanadium, zinc, strontium, silver and scandium mineralisation at Morgan’s Creek may even set it apart from its peers.

The company is now set to get the rods spinning again at both Wyacca and Morgan’s Creek in the coming days. Drilling results from Wyacca, where the company recently launched a 4,100m campaign, are also due to be tabled soon.

Drilling by Taruga has already shown Mt Craig’s potential for copper rich mineralisation. The project now also boasts a basket of valuable critical metals pivotal to the global green-electric revolution that is showing no signs of abating.

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