ABx Group increases MRE by 50% at Deep Leads-Rubble Mound Project in Tasmania

ASX-listed explorer ABx Group (ASX:ABX) has posted a 50% increase to the Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of the rare earth element (REE) deposit within its Deep Lead-Rubble Mount project in Tasmania. 

The company says the success at Deep Leads and Rubble Mound, and a new tenement application covering the prospective ground, has led it to apply for government approval and support for an exploration campaign to extend REE mineral resources a further 10km-16km to the Wind Break REE discovery.

The company reports the interim MRE of 21 million tonnes @ 770 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides (TREO) is based on 635 drillholes totalling 6,224m drilled and 2,893m assayed. This resource estimate includes deeper and ‘significantly’ thicker resource zones than previously reported, with the average thickness increasing from 7m to 7.7m.

ABx also notes this MRE represents 18% of the prospect area and reports the grades have increased by 15% overall. 

The heavy permanent magnet REOs (Dy2O3 + TB4O7) represent 4.2% of the TREOs, which the company says is the ‘highest’ known proportion for any REE resource in Australia.

Speaking to Mining.com.au, ABx Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director Mark Cooksey says the interim resource is another step forward in increasing the resource size at Deep Lead-Rubble Mound.

“Number 1, we’ve increased the size of the resource by 50%, which is good. Number 2, we’re doing that by not increasing the area that much, so a lot of this is infilling previous areas, gradually replacing old data from old bauxite holes with new data, so the prospect of increasing the resource size is going up.”

ABx says its development of efficient drilling technology in conjunction with eDrill of Tasmania over the last 2 years will continue throughout this new campaign and has given ABx a priority on securing the needed drilling fleet and experienced workforce.

“The distinctive part of our resource is that we get high extractions at pH4. It’s not that unusual to get high extractions if you lower the pH enough, but the cost of production doing that goes up a lot.

Notably, the more we look at ours [resource], we notice that the levels of the 2 particular heavy rare earths in the permanent magnets, that’s dysprosium and terbium, look particularly high, which again is favourable for pricing.”

“The distinctive part of our resource is that we get high extractions at pH4″

Now that the interim MRE has been completed, the MD tells this news service that ABx will continue to focus on drilling and metallurgical testing at the project.

“We want to do more drilling to continue to increase the resource size, more metallurgy to firstly understand the metallurgy that we’re achieving with our clay resource, and so we’ve already got very positive results with high extractions achieved at pH4.

But we need to do more to understand that and further optimise it and also start seriously looking at estimating the cost of production from this resource.

The capex and opex, it’s certainly looking very promising, but it’s time to start putting some harder numbers around that.”

ABx Group is an ASX-listed exploration company focussed on delivering materials for a cleaner future. The company holds the Deep Leads-Rubble Mound Project in northern Tasmania and has an 83% interest in Alcore, which holds the Sunrise Project in Queensland, and the Penrose Bauxite Project in New South Wales.

Images: ABx Group Ltd
Written By Harry Mulholland
Hailing from the Central Coast region of NSW, Harry is a passionate journalist with a background in print, radio and ESG news. When not bashing away on his keyboard, he can be found brewing a coffee or playing with his dog.