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Frontier onto high-grade rare earth rock chips in WA

The date of: 2022-03-22
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source:The West Australian

Frontier Resources has scooped up a suite of high-grade rare earths from a 134-piece rock chip sampling program at its Gascoyne rare earths project in Western Australia, with the best result coming in at over 8 per cent total rare earth oxides, or “TREO”. The campaign was aimed at testing a number of compelling targets hosted within a geological terrain that boasts multiple world-class discoveries.

Other notable results include 6.44, 5.27, 4.32 and 4.16 per cent TREO.

Notably, over 54 of the bagged samples returned rare earths grades of over 0.1 per cent and 31 boasted a TREO of over 1 per cent.

A comprehensive mineralogy analysis was also undertaken by Diamantina Laboratories in Perth, which verified the occurrence of monazite mineralisation in ironstones.

The company will shortly commence initial metallurgical testwork to determine if the ironstones are able to produce a commercially workable monazite concentrate.

Curiously, the company says the ironstones discovered at the project are distinct among rare earths deposits internationally due to the material’s high concentration of neodymium and praseodymium in total rare earth oxides.

Neodymium and praseodymium are both valuable rare earths that can be used in electric vehicle motors.

According to earlier work by Diamantina Laboratories, the samples tested appear to be a monazite-bearing siliceous ironstone that supports the likelihood of light rare earth occurrences.

The laboratory says the findings suggest the ironstones from Frontier’s ground share a similar geological make up to samples from Hastings Technology Metals’ tier-1 Yangibana project and multiple discoveries made by ASX-listed Dreadnought Resources.

Yangibana lays claims to a mineral resource of over 27 million tonnes at 0.97 per cent TREO.

Importantly, the newly discovered rare earth ironstones dramatically extended the strike length of the known mineralisation at the project to over 2.5 kilometres.

The company says the discoveries support its geological model for investigating the Gifford Creek Carbonatite Complex, which is next to the world-class Hastings Yangibana Project and contains a slew of prospects to pursue.

Frontier previously defined over 30 interpreted ironstone targets up to 4 kilometres in length through an extensive review of an amalgamated airborne geophysical dataset. According to the company, its key targets are widespread ironstone dykes that carry anomalous rare earths mineralisation.

Heritage surveys and permission applications are now being planned ahead of a maiden drill campaign at the project earmarked for later this year.

The company says the drill rig will be critical in determining the mineralised ironstones’ resource potential, scale, grade and continuity at depth and along strike.

Further rock chip sampling and drilling proposals are now planned at the project to look into unexplored areas such as some thorium geophysical anomalies across the Lyons project and a high priority structural target along the Bald Hill feature that runs through Frontier’s Edmund project.

The company believes there is still room for further ironstones and rare earths hosted rocks to be discovered in areas across its tenements where little previous exploration has been completed.

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