• Marmota’s REE drilling has intersected 4m composite intersections at up to 2,104ppm of clay-hosted REE mineralisation
  • Multiple +1,000ppm TREO intersections made over a zone extending 2.8km from south to north, and up to 2.8km east to west
  • Intersections are remarkably close to surface (as close as 8m from surface)


Special Report: Marmota’s Manna from Heaven prospect looks to have been well named after reconnaissance drilling intersected ionic clay-hosted rare earths which appear to mirror deposits found in China.

Ionic clay-hosted REEs in China’s south are famed for being the cheapest and most accessible source of heavy rare earths, particularly those used to manufacture the permanent magnets which are a crucial component of electric vehicle motors and wind turbines.

Their cost advantages over traditional hard rock REE deposits is a key reason why China has dominated the global REE sector and also why ionic clay-hosted deposits are so highly sought after.

When Petratherm (ASX:PTR) made a 3m intersection of Chinese-style ionic clay-hosted REE mineralisation grading 2,701ppm total rare earth oxides (TREO) in 2022 with its Hole 590 on the tenement boundary, Marmota (ASX:MEU) sat up and took notice.

MEU’s interest was really piqued after PTR’s subsequent exploration found the REE grades actually decreased to the east of Hole 590 away from its tenement.

This led to MEU starting a drill program at its Target 21 – nicknamed Manna from Heaven – to determine if the ionic clay-hosted REE mineralisation extends across the tenement boundary into its acreage.


Drill intersections at Manna from Heaven. Pic: Supplied (MEU)


REE heaven

Results from the drill program are now flowing in – and it appears the Manna from Heaven prospect is well named, indeed – with results topping up at 4m @ 2,104ppm TREO just 8m from surface, within a broader 12m intersection grading 1,122ppm in hole 23MR139.

Adding further interest, valuable magnet rare earth oxides (MREO) make up 37% of the total REE content, significantly better than the 14% average found in Sichuan, China.

Multiple holes in the drill program intersected over 1,000ppm TREO over a highly anomalous zone extending 2.8km from south to north, and up to 2.8km east to west, a grade that compares favourably with Ionic Rare Earths’ (ASX:IXR) Makuutu project in Uganda which has a ionic clay-hosted resource of 532Mt @ 630ppm TREO.

That the REE intersections are as close as 8m from surface just adds to the potential as it greatly reduces the cost of both exploration and potentially mining.

“Target 21 has yielded Marmota’s highest rare earth TREOs, remarkably close to surface, and amongst the highest industry ratios of high-value magnetic rare earths to total TREOs,” MEU chairman Dr Colin Rose said.

“It is a model that suits us perfectly, close to surface with low cost exploration, and low cost potential mining,

“With REE, once you have found them, the tricky and expensive part is the processing and that is an area that is changing and developing very rapidly with technological advances.

“We are delighted to add REE as another arrow in Marmota’s quiver, perhaps best developed when the REE market has matured further.”


Gold and uranium for good measure

Rose said the company’s shareholders had an “embarrassment of riches at the present time” given its advanced Aurora Tank gold project which has returned multiple bonanza grades close to surface, with metallurgical optimisation already under way with the gold price at record levels.

MEU is also benefiting from its unqiue exposure to uranium, starting off life as a uranium explorer, already having a uranium JORC resource and now seeking to grow its Junction Dam uranium resource next door to the Boss Honeyoon mine which is about to recommence production amid the current attractive price environment for yellowcake.


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.