Rare earths are much sought after for their role in accelerating the transition to net zero, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Marmota is embarking on a major exploration push for the valuable basket of metals

Marmota Chairman Dr Colin Rose described the program as the “most interesting and exciting” since the company’s gold discovery at Aurora Tank. It is the company’s largest regional reconnaissance program ever with multiple targets over multiple minerals across its 10,000km2 tenement package.

Stage 1 drilling has just commenced with excellent progress being made.

So just why is the company so keen on exploring for REEs in the area beyond the obvious use of magnet rare earths in electric vehicles and wind turbines?

Exciting nearology


 Map Supplied.

MEU Rare Earth Targets, including Target 21 and Target 23

It all boils down to Marmota’s (ASX:MEU) 2022 announcement (ASX:MEU 26 April 2022) that it’s next door neighbour, Petratherm, had obtained its best results in a high-value magnetic ionic-clay-hosted REE discovery directly on the eastern border of Marmota’s tenements after carrying out an extensive 993 hole program of shallow rotary air blast drilling.

Where it gets really intriguing for Marmota is that not only do clay systems of this kind tend to be regionally extensive, the best result – at Hole 590 that returned a 3m intersection grading 2,701 ppm total rare earth oxides – occured right on the tenement boundary, and just a few metres from surface, at Target 21 in the program.

The company also noted that since the REE intersections are remarkably close to surface, it makes for quick, low-cost exploration and potentially low mining costs.

That the highest grade of magnet REEs fall on the tenement boundary has certainly not escaped Marmota’s notice, given that two of its planned target locations – TG21 and TG23 – are located adjacent to the tenement boundary.

A success could well deliver rich rewards for the company given that it is the by far the largest tenure holder in the Northern Gawler Craton.

Exploration decanted after long brewing

“The program – known internally as Project X – has been under development for more than a year and represents an enormous amount of work by Marmota’s exploration team,” Dr Rose noted.

“The timing is also perfect, being carried out simultaneously just as the metallurgical testwork program for our flagship Aurora Tank gold deposit gets underway aimed at optimising the gold recoveries from low-cost open-pit heap leach mining there.

“Aurora Tank is yielding the highest gold grades from any exploration project we are aware of in South Australia, with multiple intersections exceeding 100 g/t gold over 1m, close to surface.”

Marmota’s Stage 1 program is planned to consist of 240 aircore holes totalling 8,000m, 130 auger holes totalling 650m and 11 deeper reverse circulation holes totalling 1,000m.

This article was developed in collaboration with Marmota, 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.