RareX says samples from its Cummins Range rare earths and phosphate project in WA have confirmed the potential to produce phosphate Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) and phosphate mineral concentrate – with both products showing strong potential as direct-application agricultural fertiliser.

The results show the material possesses very high bioavailability two-to-five times better than what has been classified as high-bioavailable rock phosphate by industry standard.

RareX (ASX:REE) says this means there’s an opportunity to produce organic fertilisers for agricultural applications, and unlocks a range of development scenarios for the project, including:

  • A DSO product could be produced initially, meaning very low levels of processing and capital would be required to develop a readily saleable and marketable phosphate product line that is in demand in the fertiliser trade; and
  • A premium-grade phosphate concentrate product could also be produced from the Cummins Range deposit for direct-application fertiliser.

A rare dig-and-ship development

Previous testwork has already demonstrated a simple beneficiation flowsheet and low reagent consumptions, suggesting low capital and operating costs and the company says the beneficiation circuit for phosphate concentrate production could be integrated as part of the rare earth beneficiation process in the longer-term, supporting enhanced project development.

“This is a standout result for the Cummins Range rare earths and phosphate project as it delivers outstanding flexibility for the project’s development – with the potential to commence with an ultra-low capital, high-margin starter project producing organic direct- application phosphate fertiliser, before moving into a longer-term rare earths and phosphate concentrate project,” MD Jeremy Robinson said:

“The best comparison for the starter project would be to a DSO iron ore operation – it would literally be dig-and-ship.

“Direct fertiliser deposits are globally scarce, making Cummins Range a rare development.”

Organic fertilisers for agricultural applications

Direct-application fertilisers are classified as organic as they do not require chemical reaction with sulphuric acid to make the phosphate derivative products, plus, they often have favourable properties for plants’ uptake.

Direct-application phosphates, where the natural mineral form remains unadulterated, can be produced at a discount while also trading at a premium to processed phosphates.

The phosphorous dissolutions of all samples from Cummins Range are multiples of what is typically considered high by industry standards (>9.4% P2O5 dissolution in 2% citric acid).

“This is an outstanding result which suggests the Cummins Range material will be ideal for use as direct- application fertiliser,” the company said.

Rarex asx ree
Phosphorous Bioavailability Results vs. Industry Standard. Pic: Supplied (REE).

Near-term cashflow potential

Phosphate prices are currently very high which is conducive for a fast-tracked DSO operation which can generate cash flows in the near term, which the company says can be used to fund the longer-term project which will include recovery of both rare earth and phosphate products.

These results will now be integrated with pit optimisation studies being prepared for the new block model for Cummins Range, which is expected to be announced in April following the completion of an updated Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE).

The new MRE is anticipated to be considerably larger than the current estimate and will bring in the requisite focus on the phosphate content of the resource as well as the important and highly favourable rare earth content.





This article was developed in collaboration with RareX Limited (ASX:REE), 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.