• Aircore drilling returns highest known REE hit of 1m at 7,495ppm TREO in South Australia
  • Results validate REE potential of the Eyre Peninsula project
  • Kaolin also noted in several drill holes


Power Minerals’ aircore drilling has delivered South Australia’s highest known clay-hosted REE concentration of 1m grading 7,495ppm TREO  — including high levels of heavy REE — validating the potential of its Eyre Peninsula project.

Originally acquired for kaolin and halloysite, the company twigged on to the project’s rare earths potential after analysis of kaolin drilling in 2022 returned significant REE results such as 3m at 1,236 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides (TREO) from a down-hole depth of 32m (PKD22-084).

That 18% of this REE content is made up of valuable heavy REEs (HREO) just served to really pique Power Minerals’ (ASX:PNN) interest given the growing demand for this basket of commodities that are used in a range of applications including the fabrication of permanent rare earths magnets used in electric vehicle motors and wind turbines.

Subsequent laboratory analysis confirmed that several areas of highly-elevated kaolin-related REEs are present within the Eyre Peninsula project, particularly the Dickson Well prospect where results of up to 1m at 4,201ppm TREO from 54m were returned.

South Australia itself is also an emerging address for clay-hosted REE exploration with several companies including iTech Minerals (ASX:ITM), Taruga Minerals (ASX:TAR), Australian Rare Earths (ASX:AR3) and Lanthanein Resources (ASX:LNR) all making significant headway.


Going for grades

With confirmation that the project hosts REE mineralisation, the company launched a 37 hole aircore drill program aimed at following up on the Dickson Well anomaly.

All samples collected from this drilling returned more than 1,000ppm TREO with a top result of 2m at 7,305ppm TREO with 24.2% HREO from 42m within a broader 9m at 3,015ppm TREO with 13.2% HREO from 41m (PKD23-135) – including the single highest 1m interval highlighted above that has 32.8% HREO content.

The results are significantly higher than REE concentrations noted in previous drilling.

Meanwhile, drilling at Yeelanna (EL6677) also returned a notable hit of 10m at 2,097ppm TREO with 8.3% HREO from 11m (PKD23-161), the first time that REE concentrations have been reported at this area.

“Our latest REE-focused drilling at the Eyre Peninsula project has delivered exceptional, high-grade results and further validates the project’s REE potential, with the 24.2% HREO reported from sample PR-105 at the Dickson Well target representing the highest known clay-hosted REE concentration achieved in South Australia,” managing director Mena Habib said.


Kaolin not forgotten

While the current drilling is focused on REE mineralisation, Power Minerals has not forgotten about the kaolin potential of the project.

The aircore drill program also confirmed the presence of kaolin at Yeelanna with Habib noting that the holes at this target were intended to follow up on historical drilling by BHP in 2011.

“The occurrence of kaolin has now been confirmed and samples have been dispatched for halloysite composition determination,” he added.

“The drilling at Dickson Well followed-up Power’s REE discovery of 2022, and a number of the 2023 drillholes intersected intervals of kaolin. Selected samples have been dispatched to confirm the mineralogy, including if halloysite is present.

“This kaolin represents a new kaolin occurrence on the Eyre Peninsula.”


The road forward

Power Minerals will now develop a geological model for controls on REE mineralisation while complete laboratory assays will confirm portable XRF results and inform additional sampling.

It will also conduct characterisation test work to identify rare earth mineral species and distribution for beneficiation tests to produce REO concentrates.

Additionally, the company plans to carry out are preliminary REO hydrometallurgy trials on REO concentrates to determine extractable REO recovery and indicative processing methods and continuing local community engagement to obtain landholder access agreements for additional exploration.




This article was developed in collaboration with Power 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.