If the rich nickel-cobalt potential and hints of clay-hosted REE and scandium at Golden Mile’s Quicksilver project weren’t enough excitement, how about adding some primary REE mineralisation as well?

The promising primary REE targets could substantially transform Quicksilver, and follows a review identifying a potential carbonatite (primary or hard rock) source for the significant oxide clay hosted rare earth element (REE) mineralisation encountered in nickel-cobalt drilling.

Golden Mile Resources (ASX:G88) notes that petrographic evidence of primary REE mineralisation at depth was uncovered from a diamond core sample, which also has stock work veining and alteration that is indicative of structurally controlled hydrothermal fluid and intrusion activity.

Further evidence comes from 3D modelling of resource drilling, which identified a carbonatite magmatic signature associated with an interpreted fault that transects the Quicksilver nickel-cobalt oxide resource.

This is on top of the clay-hosted hits such as 4m grading 3,295 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides (TREO) including 1m at 7,915ppm TREO and 10m at 2,548ppm TREO including 1m at 3,949ppm TREO being a significant find in their own right as they occur within the same mineralised envelope as the nickel-cobalt mineralisation.

This is particularly true given that further 3D modelling has indicated that the oxide clay hosted REE mineralisation remains open to both the northwest and southeast limits of the resource drilling.

“Determining what lies underneath the nickel and cobalt is crucial for optimising infrastructure positioning. The fact that there is the potential for further REE mineralisation underneath the nickel and cobalt is hugely exciting for a deposit that just seems to keep on giving,” chief executive officer Damon Dormer said.

“The original plan was to test what lies beneath the resource as a part of the infill drilling to confirm the infrastructure strategy, however it makes sense to accelerate this work based on the improved geological understanding.

“It will also be fascinating to see the resultant REE grades in the concentrates from the metallurgical testwork.”


Primary REE mineralisation

The review was completed by the company to understand the potential source of the significant REE mineralisation encountered at Quicksilver, which is transacted by a regional fault with a carbonatite magmatic signature.

This interpreted fault has a strong spatial correlation with REE mineralisation leading the Company to believe there is potential carbonatite intrusions or veins emplaced along this fault into the underlying ultramafic rocks, which could explain the significant REE mineralisation encountered in the overlying clay oxide zone.

Golden Mile highlighted a recent theory that the interaction of carbonatite magma with quartz-rich rocks, including granites and gneisses, transforms them into an unusual formation of ultramafic rocks that could explain the unique mineralogy encountered within Quicksilver.

The company intends to exploit this unique mineralogy by developing a low energy beneficiation process for extraction of nickel, cobalt, iron, chromium and now REE without the need for any hydrometallurgical processes, which will greatly reduce complexity and costs.


Future plans

A program of about 1,500m of reverse circulation exploration drilling is being designed to initially target the fresh rock directly underneath the nickel-cobalt oxide resource with a focus on the interpreted fault.

REE testwork is also being incorporated into Stage 3 metallurgical testwork to determine the product streams where the REEs are concentrated from the beneficiation process.



This article was developed in collaboration with Golden Mile Resources, 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.