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West Cobar Metals achieves near fourfold increase in Salazar REE resource

The date of: 2023-08-14
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West Cobar Metals (ASX: WC1) has announced a nearly fourfold increase in the resource base of the Salazar clay-hosted rare earth element (REE) project near Esperance in Western Australia.
The new figures are based on a Phase 1 aircore program of 283 holes for a total 9,340 metres designed to extend and infill existing inferred resources and add inferred tonnages at the Newmont and O’Connor deposits.
The combined resource now totals 190 million tonnes of 1,172 parts per million TREO (total rare earth oxide) in the indicated and inferred categories.
Newmont’s resource has increased to 83Mt of 1,117ppm TREO (indicated and inferred) including 39Mt of 1216ppm TREO upgraded to indicated.
It includes a high proportion of total magnet rare earth content including praseodymium, neodymium, dysprosium and terbium.
Deleterious radioactive elements uranium and thorium were reported at low levels and testwork indicates they are not concentrated during the acid leach extraction process.
O’Connor has a maiden inferred mineral resource of 107Mt of 1,216ppm TREO with the possibility of further extension as well as exploration potential at the Lanthanos target.
Major upgrade
Managing director Matt Szwedzicki said the company was “thrilled” with the resource upgrade.
“We have delivered several key outcomes including an upgraded classification and increased overall resource at Newmont; a substantial maiden resource at O’Connor; maintained a high-grade nature of the REE resource; and identified a high proportion of total magnet rare earths content,” he said.
“Salazar is proving to be an outstanding and substantial REE clay deposit and, as we further progress metallurgical and beneficiation testwork, we are moving closer to becoming a significant producer of clay-hosted REEs in Australia.”
Salazar project overview
The Salazar project comprises three granted tenements across 720 square kilometres which are highly-prospective for REE clay exploration.
All the ground is located on non-agricultural and undeveloped state land approximately 120km north-east of the township of Esperance, which offers infrastructure including port, rail and air services.
A total 448 aircore and reverse circulation holes for 15,735m have been drilled within the tenements since 2011 (including the Phase 1 program), leading to the discovery and delineation of mineral resources at Newmont and O’Connor.
Potentially-economic concentrations of REEs, due to likely low mining cost and non-refractory extractability, occur in the overlying saprolitic clays.
The near-surface REEs are concentrated in a zone around the interface between the Salazar upper and lower saprolite.

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