Northern Minerals (ASX:NTU) has announced some positive drilling results at Brown Range, its heavy rare earths project in East Kimberley, WA which takes its inspiration from the X-Men.

The company said reverse circulation drilling at the “Dazzler” prospect (check here if you’re not into comics) returned high-grade results for total rare earths oxides (TREO).

Shares in NTU were up 3.3 per cent at 6.2c, slightly below the 2019 high of around 8c.

Positive strike

Exploration drilling at Dazzler carried out in May comprised 17 holes for a total of 1143m.

Northern Minerals said one of the holes drilled returned “the best drilling intersection ever recorded at the Browns Range project”.

Highlights from the Dazzler drilling included an 18m strike length which returned a TREO measure of 11.48 per cent.

The company said it had also discovered a new mineralised zone near Dazzler and the neighbouring Iceman project, with further drilling to start early this month.

“These three prospects, all in close proximity and occurring in a similar geological setting, indicate a fertile mineralising system with the potential for further similar discoveries,” Northern Minerals said.

The names of other prospects at Browns Range include Cyclops, Banshee, Mystique and Nightcrawler.

Browns Range is the only rare earths project in Australia that contains xenotime ore, which is the host mineral to a number of secondary rare earths which are set to become key inputs as part of the shift towards new industries such as electric car batteries.

“With Dazzler representing the first unconformity-hosted target that we tested, we have high hopes for the many prospects that are yet to be assessed,” MD George Bauk said.

“High-grade ore feed to the plant has the potential to materially impact the economics of a full-scale development, with higher production rates and lower unit costs. We look forward to the next round of drilling at Dazzler and the new targets.”

In other ASX bulk metals news today

Atrum Coal (ASX:ATU) announced “outstanding results” from initial drilling in the southeast corner of its Elan hard coking coal project in Alberta, Canada. The company said results from 24 drill holes showed “significant coal intercepts in all holes and from shallow depths”. “An initial resource for South East Corner is expected to be incorporated into an overall update of the Elan South resource estimate later this year,” MD Max Wang said. Shares in ATU were unchanged at 30c.