Australian Critical Minerals investigates iron ore potential, uncovers uranium target

Australian Critical Minerals (ASX:ACM) has uncovered a “sizeable” uranium target while mapping and sampling iron ore targets at its Cooletha and Shaw projects in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The junior explorer has identified a 10km radiometric anomaly within the northern part of the Shaw Project tenement.

Australian Critical Minerals says the 30m to 100m wide uranium anomaly compares in size to the Elliot Lake deposits in Ontario, Canada.

The company is awaiting the results of 45 samples from Cooletha and Shaw, which it expects to have in hand in early July. 

It has determined that the combined channel iron deposits (CIDs) stratigraphy spans about 42km at the Cooletha Project, which comprises 252km2 of granted tenure. 

About half of that area contains the stratigraphy of the Fortescue Group, which is prospective for CIDs.

An example of these types of deposits include Bonnie Creek, which was previously owned by BC Minerals (ASX:BCI), extends for around 10km of strike and reported a 2008 resource of 47.2 million tonnes @ 53.6% iron.

Fortescue Metals Group’s (ASX:FMG) Solomon and Serenity deposits, meanwhile, demonstrate the potential for CIDs concealed beneath cover. These deposits collectively spanned 30km and hosted 2.9 gigatonnes of detrital and bedded iron ore mineralisation. 

Initial reconnaissance sampling of targets and field observations have identified that Cooletha contains strongly cemented goethitic pisolitic CIDs. 

Australian Critical Minerals is planning to undertake follow-up field mapping and reconnaissance rock chip sampling to extend the known footprint of the CIDs.

The company will also investigate the potential for the discovery of CIDs concealed beneath overlying sedimentary units of the Fortescue Group given Fortescue’s past success. 

At Shaw, meanwhile, there is over 9km of banded iron formation (BIF) strike.

Recent and historical mapping integrated with multispectral remote sensing interpretation has identified several corridors of BIF targets at Shaw. 

Managing Director Dean de Largie says Australian Critical Minerals has been keen to investigate the iron ore potential across its large Pilbara portfolio, to follow-up historic sampling. 

“The recent rock chip sampling at Cooletha and Shaw has been successful in enhancing the potential strike lengths of both CID and BIF occurrences. We will assess the results of the program and look forward to sharing the updates with our shareholders,” he says. 

“In the meantime, we are planning a new phase of exploration including grid sampling of the CID outcrops at Cooletha and systematic sampling of the extensive BIF at Shaw.”

Additionally, Australian Critical Minerals has undertaken a strategic review of its various kaolin assets, including the Kojonup, Kondinin, and Beverly projects.

The review found that since the company listed in July 2023, nearly all its ASX-listed peers have traded down substantially to historic lows on the back of their kaolin assets. 

This has led to many shifting their focus to commodities with higher current and forecast demand profiles such as rare earths, uranium, and lithium.

The diminishing investor support for the exploration and development of Australian Critical Minerals’ kaolin assets has prompted the company to dial back its focus on kaolin and increase its focus on energy sectors, battery minerals, and higher-value projects, including iron ore.

“The kaolin sector, in general, has become depressed and continues to underperform within the resource sector,” de Largie says.

“The market for kaolin products remains opaque, making pricing and selling kaolin very difficult. Given these challenges, it is difficult for the board to justify continued expenditure on our kaolin tenements in Western Australia.”

Write to Angela East at Mining.com.au 

Images: Australian Critical Minerals 
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Written By Angela East
Managing Editor Angela East is an experienced business journalist and editor with over 15 years spent covering the resources and construction sectors and more recently working as a communications specialist handling media relations for junior resources companies.