Special Report: Rare X could soon upgrade resources at its Cummins Range rare earths project after drilling defined resources in known areas and extended mineralisation.

Mineralisation was extended primarily at depth with the deepest hole intersecting weathered carbonatite – a common host rock for rare earths elements – to a depth of 150m, which is the deepest it has been encountered to date.

RareX’s (ASX:REE) 58-hole program totalling 6,146m also identified a northwest-southeast striking breccia fault zone that represents a likely control on the higher grade mineralisation in the weathered material.

The breccia fault zone is also a target for primary mineralisation as it is likely to be a conduit for mineralisation and has never been tested at depth.

Drilling started on July 24 and took about four weeks to complete.

Recently completed RC drilling at Cummins Range Pic: Supplied

 

Niobium: A valuable find

Where it gets interesting for the company is preliminary XRF work identifying the presence of abundant niobium, which is common in carbonatite deposits as both primary and by-product minerals, in the drill holes.

While XRF technology is not as reliable as lab assays in reflecting the amount of contained mineralisation, it is still a good indicator of the value contained in Cummins Range as niobium is worth up to three times as much as rare earth carbonate.

Fastmarkets estimated in July that Citic Metal’s Q3 price for ferro-niobium was roughly equivalent to between $US44.70 ($62.38) and $US48.90 per kilogram.

Niobium is classified as a strategic metal by the US and is used primarily in the manufacture of high-strength, low alloy steel; high temperature applications; and to manufacture superconducting magnets for medical and scientific uses.

First samples from the drilling program are currently on the way to the laboratory with assays expected in three to four weeks.

 

Building on a substantial rare earths resource

The drill program was intended to convert the higher-grade portion of the current inferred resource to the higher confidence indicated status, collect samples for metallurgical test work and target additional discoveries outside of the existing resource.

Indicated resources have sufficient information on geology and grade continuity to support mine planning.

Cummins Range currently hosts Australia’s fourth largest rare earth resource of 13 million tonnes grading 1.13 per cent total rare earths oxide (TREO), a significant portion of which is believed to consist of high-value neodymium and praseodymium.

The two elements are commonly used in the manufacture of permanent magnets that are essential for electric vehicles and offshore wind turbines.

Watch: Investor Presentation: RareX July 2020 investor presentation

This article was developed in collaboration with RareX, 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.