iTech Minerals (ASX: ITM) has confirmed rare earth mineralisation at its Ethiopia Prospect on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.
The company reports that results from the first 10 historic drill holes resampled show potential for high-purity kaolin along with coincident ion adsorption clay (IAC) rare earth mineralisation, with ‘significant’ TREO readings from all holes.
Grades received from the 10 sample holes include:
- Hole ETH-01 – 6m @ 896 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 0m
- including 2m @ 1104 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 4-6m
- Hole ETH-03 – 6m @ 696 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 0m
- Hole ETH-13 – 10m @ 784 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 0m
- Hole ETH-16 – 6m @ 502 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 20m
- Hole ETH-32 – 6m @ 552 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 2m
- Hole ETH-33 – 18m @ 652 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 0m
- including 6m @ 1062 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 14-20m
- Hole ETH-34 – 24m @ 411 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 2m
- Hole ETH-36 – 4m @ 504 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 18m
- Hole ETH-37 – 6m @ 876 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 2m
- Hole ETH-38 – 8m @ 812 ppm TREO (-45μm) from 2m
iTech further notes that the above grades include ‘significant’ enrichment of neodymium and praesidium @ ~23% Nd+Pr, both key materials in the production of permanent magnets used in EV production, wind turbines and military applications.
“The nature of high purity kaolin and REE mineralisation at Ethiopia opens the path for the potential of an extremely low-cost source of these two critical minerals”
Addressing the news, iTech Minerals Managing Director Mike Schwarz said: “The nature of high purity kaolin and REE mineralisation at Ethiopia opens the path for the potential of an extremely low-cost source of these two critical minerals. Processing of the high purity kaolin increases the REE grades and extracting the REEs makes a higher quality kaolin product, potentially leading to more financially robust project economics.”
A review of historical AC drill data generated by Adelaide Exploration in 2007 was used to identify intervals of up to 24m of ‘high purity’ kaolin clay over a 100 hectare footprint. Of the 41 holes, 10 were sub-sampled to identify potential high purity kaolin and ion adsorption clay rare earth mineralisation.
The results are described by iTech as displaying a dual commodity stream, with rare earth potential along with feedstock for ceramics and high purity alumina from kaolin. Planned test work will look at the effect of mild acidic leaching on decreasing iron content and increasing ISO brightness values and purity of the kaolin.
12 additional historic holes, with Ce values in excess of 100ppm have been resampled in a bid to test for a range of rare earth elements. This includes standout hole ETH-029 which returned values of 33m @ 356 ppm Ce from surface. iTech reports that results from these additional holes are due in the coming 5-6 weeks.
Images: iTech Minerals Ltd