Australian lithium, copper, and gold explorer Askari Metals (ASX:AS2) has uncovered rare earth element (REE) potential through a rock sampling program completed at the Barrow Creek Lithium Project in the Northern Territory.
The company says the rock sampling program was part of a larger field reconnaissance program targeting an area of previously untested lithium-bearing pegmatites in the south-central part of the project.
Askari reports it identified fertile lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatite in these analogous areas stretching over 4.8km by 3.8km, as well as an anomalous area in the southeast which revealed lithium (Li) grades up to 212 parts per million (ppm).
Results from this program also identified prospectivity for REE mineralisation, with total rare earth oxide (TREO) grades up to 4,553ppm. The company says these ‘highly’ anomalous REE results are very encouraging, also noting REE supply deficits and supply chains.
Commenting on the results, Askari Metals Vice President of Exploration and Geology Johan Lambrechts says: “The potential represented by these total rare earth oxides results is very exciting and will be followed up as soon as possible.
One regularly reads about results in the 1,000 to 2,000 ppm TREO range, but to have 1 result at 4,553ppm TREO and another at 2,143ppm TREO is extraordinary, especially considering rare earth elements were not the target of work being conducted.
“It demonstrates the company’s ability and focus to identify and extract potential for shareholders from every aspect of our work”
It demonstrates the company’s ability and focus to identify and extract potential for shareholders from every aspect of our work. The Barrow Creek Project still has a lithium focus, but we will now widen our radar to include rare earth elements here as well.”
Askari reports the Barrow Creek Pegmatite Complex trends in a northwesterly direction across the south-central project area, which includes relatively inaccessible terrain.
The company identified medium to very coarse-grained pegmatites containing potassium feldspar, plagioclase, muscovite, and tourmaline. The northern portion of this area contains a large pegmatite field where pegmatites upward of 5m wide have been mapped and sampled.
Askari says the mineralogy of these pegmatites are similar to those identified in the southeastern part of the project, with potassium feldspar, plagioclase, muscovite, and tourmaline being common.
The southern part of the work area is covered by sandstones and sediments of the Central Mount Stuart Formation. The company reports this area was traversed using an offroad vehicle, and on-foot as best as the steep terrain allowed. No prospective pegmatites were identified in this portion.
Askari says follow-up work is planned to investigate further REE potential in the south-central portion of the project as well as the project as a whole. The lithium potential of the northwestern, and southeastern parts of the project will also be further investigated.
Meanwhile, the company says Aboriginal Area Protection Authority (AAPA) certificates have been applied for by Askari.
The Barrow Creek project is located in the Northern Arunta Pegmatite Province of central Northern Territory, and covers an area of 278km-square.
Images: Askari Metals Ltd