Prospect Resources has identified two ‘significant sized’ rare earth elements (REE) anomalies in soil sampling at its Chishanya carbonatite project in south-eastern Zimbabwe.

Two distinct total rare earth anomalies were found at Chishanya Hill and Baradanga Ridge, with 213 of the samples considered significant (> 1,170ppm TREOs) and eight anomalous (> 2,330ppm).

The sampling returned:

  • Cerium Oxide – 84 significant values (>615ppm), three of these anomalous (>2,455ppm);
  • Lanthanum Oxide – 10 significant values (>440ppm), two of these anomalous (>1,135ppm);
  • Neodymium Oxide – 36 significant values (>500ppm), three of these anomalous (>730ppm); and
  • Niobium Pentoxide – 6 significant values (>430ppm), two of these anomalous (>1,430ppm).

Prospect Resources (ASX:PSC) says around 20% of the TREO values in the samples are attributable to neodymium and praseodymium – which are key inputs into permanent magnets.

Niche REE opportunity

The deposit was a known source of apatite-hosted phosphate but was previously untested for REE – and now represents a unique opportunity for the company.

“We are excited by the soil sampling results as an initial indication of Chishanya’s potential to be a rare earth element project,” Prospect MD Sam Hosack said.

“Based on these results, we have exercised the option on the adjoining ground to bulk up the project with a view to undertake further exploration and evaluation.

“While our core focus is on the development of our flagship Arcadia lithium project, Chishanya offers a niche opportunity to evaluate the REE potential of this ground and to also assess other targets in the region that have never been explored for REE on this basis before.”

The exercise of the Meikle option agreement delivers Prospect 10 mining claims covering an area of 2.2sqkm, with Phase 2 Exploration activities now being planned.

Assessment of further REE regional targets

The average soil value of 775ppm represents a value almost five times greater than the crustal average of REE and the company believes there is considerable potential for concentration on various REE combinations which have no current surface expression.

Prospect is now planning to undertake surface rock chip sampling across the areas of limited outcrop, and pitting in areas of no outcrop, within the two main defined anomalies.

In addition, some of the small spot, possibly fault associated, anomalies will be tested with infill soil sampling with the aim to define follow-up anomalies worthy of testing by percussion drilling.

Project also has phosphate potential

The company says while undoubtedly primarily prospective for REE, Chishanya also still has phosphate potential.

Despite the metallurgical testwork by African Consolidated Resources (now named Vast Resources) indicating the difficulty in extracting the phosphate economically, this test work was limited in scope and the grades do compare favourably with the Dorowa mine, 100km to the north.

To put this in context, at Dorowa the Industrial Development Corporation is currently mining rock phosphate at 6.5% to 8% P2O5, from a similar carbonatite.




This article was developed in collaboration with Prospect Resources, 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.