Initial drill assays from Phase 1B drilling have provided Voltaic with a clear sign that a large clay-hosted REE system is present at the Neo prospect within its Paddy’s Well project in WA’s Gascoyne region.

Hole NEORB002 returned a 78m intersection grading 1,001 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides (TREO) from surface with a peak interval of 1m grading 10,072ppm (1%) TREO from 55m while NEORC001 struck 40m at 583ppm TREO from surface.

Not only has the drilling returned one of the widest clay-hosted REE intercepts in Australia, it also features a high ratio of valuable magnet REEs of up to 30% of the total REE content.

Voltaic Strategic Resources (ASX:VSR) adds that mineralisation at Neo remains open at depth and along strike with assays pending for the remaining 12 holes at Neo and another eight holes at the Link prospect.

Equally importantly, Neo is just the first of multiple >1,000ppm TREO zones identified at surface within an expanding regional 6km by 2km area to be tested.

This suggests that further REE finds could be made in the region with the company progressing follow-up surveys.

“The results provide unequivocal evidence for the presence of a large REE clay system at Neo, with individual metre values up to 1% TREO, high tenor ‘magnet REE’ percentages up to 30%, and very large, mineralised intercepts up to 78m in width,” chief executive officer Michael Walshe said.

“We are now eagerly awaiting the results of the metallurgical testing on the clays to determine their preliminary economic viability.”


Early signs of ionic adsorption potential

He added that halloysite – a kaolinitic clay mineral commonly found in true ionic adsorption deposits – has already been identified from scanning electron microscope analysis and that the company will undertake ‘size by assay’ analysis upfront to determine REE deportment by particle size.

This is also likely to result in the company only undertaking leaching on the fraction that contains most of the REE mass to minimise the amount of reagents required and maximise the ‘magnet REE’ head grade, which mirrors how a full-scale plant will be designed to operate.

IADs are highly valued by the REE community as they not only contain a higher proportion of magnet REEs compared to their hard rock counterparts, they are also easier to explore, drill, mine and potentially process as well.

However, the company is also focusing on finding primary carbonatite targets.

“We will soon undertake several field surveys including: airborne magnetics / radiometrics, photogrammetry, and soil sampling,” Walshe added.

“These programs will increase our pool of priority targets and ensure several months of highly active and material news flow over the remainder of 2023.”




This article was developed in collaboration with Voltaic Strategic 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.