RareX makes ‘best-ever’ rare earths intercept at Cummins Range

RareX has made its best-ever drill intercept at the Cummins Range rare earths project in Western Australia (reports Stockhead).
23rd October 2020
Resources Rising Stars

RareX has made its best-ever drill intercept at the Cummins Range rare earths project in Western Australia (reports Stockhead).

Drilling returned the hit of 90m at 3.8 per cent total rare earth oxides (TREO) and 0.3 per cent niobium from just 4m that includes higher grade zones of 20m at 5.1 per cent TREO and 0.3 per cent niobium from 7m and 32m at 4.4 per cent TREO and 0.3 per cent niobium from 62m.

RareX says the results from its infill and extensional drilling are a significant improvement on previous drilling in the immediate area and support its strategy of delineating a higher-grade component within its current resource.

Cummins Range has a resource of 13Mt grading 1.13 per cent TREO with valuable neodymium and praseodymium (NdPR) making up 22 per cent of the rare earths.

Managing director Jeremy Robinson says the result is easily the best-ever hole drilled at Cummins Range and is equal to any other results globally from what he can recall.

“It provides a strong indication of the quality, scale and grade of this deposit, which is characterised by its high NdPr content and location in a Tier-1 mining jurisdiction,” he added.

Further assays from Cummins Range are expected next week while drilling at the company’s Weld North project is expected to start in November.

Assay have been received for 11 holes to date and the results have been encouraging to say the least, with multiple hits that are well above the resource grade for the project.

Prior to the most recent 90m intersection, the company had reported ‘spectacular widths and grades’ in two holes of 41m at 4 per cent TREO and 0.21 per cent niobium from a depth of 29m at 5.2 TREO and 0.25 per cent niobium.

The discovery of significant amounts of niobium has also added more value to the project given that it could be produced as a valuable by-product.

Niobium features on a list of minerals considered critical to Australia and the US, and is used in steel to produce an alloy that has applications in jet engines and oil and gas pipelines.

This is in addition to the high NdPr content, which is commonly used in the manufacture of permanent magnets that are essential for electric vehicle motors and offshore wind turbines.

RareX’s drilling success comes as China passed a law on export control that could result in it banning exports of strategic materials such as rare earths to specific foreign countries.

Nikkei Asia notes that the new law will go into effect from 1 December.

This new law has the potential to significantly impact on rare earths prices given that China produces more than 60 per cent of global supply.

In 2011, NdPr prices reached over $US280 ($394) per kilogram after a diplomatic dispute between China and Japan led to the China allegedly banning rare earths exports to its neighbour.

This is significantly higher than the current price of NdPr, which is going for a little under $US50/kg.

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