In addition to the recent high-grade rare earths Searchlight project acquisition, American Rare Earths is further expanding its portfolio to include the acquisition of the scandium rights over the Split Rocks project in Western Australia.

American Rare Earths (ASX:ARR) today announced that it has acquired the rights from Zenith Minerals Limited (ASX:ZNC) to explore for, develop and process scandium, nickel and cobalt at the Split Rocks project.

As part of the binding term sheet executed by American Rare Earths, Zenith and other private parties, Zenith has agreed to grant ARR an exclusive option to acquire the rights over scandium minerals down to a maximum depth of 50m within a section of Zenith’s Split Rocks project (E77/2388).

Scandium is also classified as a critical mineral, making it highly sought after. It’s added to aluminium products to make them lighter, stronger, more corrosion-resistant and heat-tolerant.

The aviation industry in particular is interested in scandium-alloyed aluminium materials because of their ability to reduce aircraft weights by 15 to 20 per cent as well as lower the cost.

Scandium can sell for around US$1,500 per kg.

The presence of elevated, near-surface scandium within the Split Rocks project area was first discovered during previous drilling completed by Zenith back in 2018.

More specifically, scandium grades over 50 parts per million (ppm) were observed in 62 samples from 46 drill holes at a maximum depth of 52m. Three samples contained scandium grades exceeding 100ppm and three additional samples contained scandium grades exceeding 90ppm.

According to American Rare Earths, the scandium minerals reside in saprolite clays in near-surface laterite deposits, and all of the high-grade scandium samples occur at shallow depths of less than 24m.

Tenement location showing drill holes with high-grade scandium

In addition to scandium, highly anomalous cobalt and nickel mineralisation has also been discovered at the project from previous drilling by Zenith.

Significant intercepts included 30m at 0.06 per cent cobalt (600ppm) and 0.75 per cent nickel (7,500ppm) from 20m, and 12m at 0.27 per cent cobalt and 1.45 per cent nickel from 20m.

In line with the company’s objective of creating a global rare earths and scandium supply chain, the scandium mineral rights acquisition strategically expands American Rare Earth’s project portfolio in the USA, and also gives the company exposure to these critical minerals in Western Australia.

“Scandium, a rare and highly valuable mineral, has been discovered through ARR’s recent exploration and development activities at both of the company’s Arizona and Wyoming rare earths projects in the USA,” CEO Keith Middleton said.

“While the company remains focused on unlocking the rare earths and scandium mineral potential in the USA at its La Paz and Wyoming projects, the acquisition of scandium mineral rights over the Split Rock project in WA presents a unique opportunity for the company to expand its scandium portfolio, and provides further basis for developing our REE strategic materials strategy in the future,” he concluded.


High-grade rare earths in Nevada

Earlier this week, American Rare Earths also completed its 2021 Technical Report on its newly acquired high-grade Searchlight Rare Earths project in the precious Crescent metal mining district of southwestern Nevada.

Most notably, the project is about 32km west of the only integrated operating and processing rare earths mine in the USA, the Mountain Pass rare earths mine. It’s reported to produce approximately 15 per cent of the current global rare earths supply.

Location map of Searchlight rare earths project in Nevada, USA

The Searchlight project consists of 80 contiguous unpatented lode mining claims, prospective for rare earths, totalling 656ha.

So far, high-grade heavy rare earth elements (REE) samples have been collected from monazite-apatite bearing veins in biotite granite, and hornblende-biotite granite sills occurring in Early Proterozoic granites.

The results of the technical report have prompted ARR to begin phased exploration at the project, including structural mapping, geochemical sampling, aerial geophysics, trenching and eventual drilling.

“The Searchlight REE project is the perfect complement to the company’s existing portfolio of rare earths projects in the US. The La Paz Project (Arizona) and the Laramie REE project (Wyoming) are deposits that both offer high value magnet REEs, scandium and potentially other critical minerals without significant penalty elements,” Middleton said.

“The robust Searchlight heavy REE project, which also contains high value magnet REEs, is an excellent complement offering an attractive, diversified rare earths portfolio package to investors and potential offtake partners seeking REE raw materials.”

This article was developed in collaboration with American Rare Earths, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.