‘Phenomenal’: Venture Minerals’ Jupiter in contention as a potentially large rare earths play
Special Report: Venture Minerals has hit clay-hosted rare earths mineralisation in each of the first 25 RC holes drilled into its new Jupiter target, including grades up to +7,000ppm TREO.
Located about 300km east of Geraldton, Jupiter has emerged as a project of interest for Venture Minerals (ASX: VMS) given its significant potential for grade and scale and proximity to the Mt Weld rare earths concentrator operated by Lynas Rare Earths (ASX: LYC) and the upcoming Eneabba refinery being developed by Iluka Resources (ASX: ILU).
Recently completed maiden RC drilling at Jupiter, part of the Brothers project, delivered better grades and widths of clay-hosted rare earths mineralisation than the earlier reconnaissance aircore program.
Venture reported consistent 20-30m widths of rare earth mineralisation grading over 2,000ppm TREO within broader zones of up to 64m grading over 1,000ppm TREO across the 40km2 target.
Extremely low thorium and uranium levels were also recorded.
Venture managing director Andrew Radonjic described the results, which also included magnet rare earth oxides (MREO) averaging 23% over +1,000ppm TREO intersections, as “phenomenal”.
“These phenomenal results enhance Venture’s belief that the Jupiter target has the potential to become an exceptional rare earths project,” he said.
“The scale and quality of this opportunity, along with its proximity to infrastructure and processing plants, makes it a standout among its peers.”
Best intersections from the maiden RC drilling program at Jupiter were 16m @ 2,394ppm TREO (including 2m @ 7,367ppm TREO), 22m @ 1,928ppm TREO (including 8m @ 3,168ppm TREO and 4m @ 4,427ppm TREO) and 32m @ 2,120ppm TREO (including 6m @ 4,017ppm TREO).
The previous aircore drilling and this RC drilling at Jupiter demonstrated the presence of an extensive +2,000ppm TREO core zone up to 30m thick within the broader +1,000ppm TREO mineralised clay blanket of up to 64m thickness.
Diminished clay-hosted rare earth mineralisation was only experienced where fresh basement rock comes close to surface and clay thickness is minimal.
Venture noted the significant interest in the rare earths potential of the Mid West region where its Brother project is perfectly positioned between Iluka’s upcoming Eneabba refinery, about 250km to the south-west, and the longstanding Mt Weld concentrator about 520km to the east.
The Australian Government, via its $2 billion Critical Minerals Facility, issued a non-recourse loan of $1.05 billion (plus a $200 million cost overrun facility) to Iluka for the development Eneabba plant which is expected to be in production by 2025. Lynas was also awarded a $14.8 million federal grant for its Kalgoorlie rare earths processing facility which is currently undergoing commissioning.
Venture suggested those substantial investments into two rare earths projects proximal to its Brothers project put the company in an “enviable position” with significant commercial advantages should development become a serious consideration.
Venture has pledged to deliver a maiden clay-hosted rare earths resource at Jupiter in the next 2-3 months.
On the back of its most drilling success, the company has committed to a ~5,000m slimline RC program on a grid suitable for resource definition.
The rapid-fire drilling campaign is already under way and only expected to take 2-3 weeks to complete.
“Jupiter’s immediate value proposition to shareholders lies in quickly delivering a cost-effective maiden resource of high-grade critical rare earth minerals that are in demand in a strategically secure location like Western Australia,” Radonjic said.
This article was developed in collaboration with Venture Minerals, 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.