Broken Hill to double the footprint of La Paz project

Australian exploration company Broken Hill Prospecting Limited (ASX: BPL) has announced a major expansion of its La Paz Rare Earth Project in Arizona, USA, following the successful results from the Company’s maiden field activities carried out in October.

BPL reported that it plans to double its US footprint of the advanced La Paz Rare Earth Project.

The company said that the current field activities have identified a significant extension to the NI 43-101 Resource Estimate (2011).

BPL said that the detailed structural mapping, sampling, and reviewing of historical data has identified mineralisation at higher grade to the SE of the current resource.

Broken Hill announced that the application for additional 660 hectares directly adjacent to the existing La Paz tenements has been submitted to the BLM.

La Paz Rare Earth project

The La Paz Rare Earth Project is located in La Paz County, Arizona, US, approximately 170 km north- west of Phoenix.

La Paz covers over 890 hectares comprising 107 unpatented lode mining claims on federally controlled land and a prospecting permit over one section of Arizona State Trust land (259 hectares).

La Paz is a large tonnage, bulk deposit comprising high value, light rare earth (LREE) assemblage with the potential to be the largest rare earth project in North America.

Laz Paz contains very low penalty elements such as radioactive thorium and uranium and an independent NI 43-101 Report and Resource estimate was completed in 2011.

Highlights of NI 43-101 report

The key project highlights reported under NI 43-101 include the following.

La Paz is a large tonnage deposit with relatively homogeneous TREO (Total Rare Earth Oxide) distribution amenable to open pit extraction.

La Paz has excellent infrastructure and skilled work force in a mining friendly jurisdiction. A high voltage power line runs 11km west of the project and a high pressure natural gas pipe line 8km to the east. Major rivers and aqueducts are within 8km, though local ground water supplies are likely to meet any future production needs.

Majority of La Paz’s TREO report to the epidote-group mineral allanite (La-Allanite).

La Paz has high reporting of valuable Light LREO (83%) to Heavy TREO (17%) with extremely low thorium/uranium content with clear environmental advantages.

Metallurgical test work successfully concentrated allanite samples via a combined process of gravity, magnetic and flotation separation. Rare earth concentrate was amenable to commercially available leaching technologies.

Field activities at La Paz

Broken Hill had conducted field activities in October. This included extensive structural mapping, the collection of rocks chips from surface mineralisation and the collection of bulk samples for metallurgical test work programs.

Significant extension to the NI 43-101

Broken Hill said that one of the major focus of the mapping program was the distribution of higher-grade zones within the previous NI 43-101 Resource.

BPL reported that it identified that these zones extend to the southeast of the resource. The Company then moved quickly to secure these extensions.

BPL said that applications were submitted to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for an additional 112 unpatented lode mining claims (660 hectares) which is expected to be granted in coming months.

Updates and next steps

The company said that all rock chip samples from October field activities have been submitted for processing with results expected in the coming months.

The company reported that the results from recent field activities will be collated and reviewed with the aim to convert the previous NI 43-101 resource estimate to JORC 2012 standards.

The company said that the preliminary Economic Assessment continues with bulk samples to progress metallurgical test work being obtained.

BPL reported that the funding plans to advance the La Paz project are progressing well with the SPP offer extended until 6th November.  

The company said that there is considerable local and federal support for security of domestic supplies of strategic technology metals.

Management comments

BPL’s CEO Trangie Johnston said: “The expansion of the La Paz Project, almost doubling our footprint in the area is a huge result for BPL. Our initial work on the ground over the last 2 weeks highlighted the sheer potential that exists at La Paz and the identification of a significant extension to the existing NI 43-101 Resource estimate.

As such, we immediately moved to expand our tenement coverage to secure the full rare earth potential of the region. The extended zone has been mapped and rock chipped with over 0.5 ton of oxide mineralisation collected for metallurgical test work programs.”

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Written By Christopher Norris
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