Meeka Metals (ASX:MEK) has begun an infill drilling program to follow up on rare earth element (REE) mineralisation at the Circle Valley Project in Western Australia.
The company says drilling will target an area of 15km-square where shallow ‘high-grade’ REE mineralisation grading up to 6,894 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxide (TREO) was intersected during 2022.
Meeka Metals adds that it will also seek to build on ‘high-grade’ gold results at the Anomaly A deposit, where reverse circulation (RC) drilling returned intercepts of 23m @ 5.09g/t Au from drillhole 22CVRC001 in 2022.
Drilling is expected to be completed during March this year ahead of the delivery of an initial rare earth Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE), which is scheduled for June this year.
Commenting on the start of drilling, Meeka Metals Managing Director Tim Davidson says: “Results received in 2022 show a shallowing cover profile to the northwest at Circle Valley, corresponding with a +1,000ppm high-grade component of the rare earth mineralisation, rich in NdPr magnet rare earth elements.
This shallow high-grade mineralisation trends northwest into an undrilled part of Circle Valley, which will be the focus for Mineral Resource drilling now underway. This drilling will enable delivery of an initial rare earth Mineral Resource during the June 2023 quarter.
“Results received in 2022 show a shallowing cover profile to the northwest at Circle Valley, corresponding with a +1,000ppm high-grade component of the rare earth mineralisation, rich in NdPr magnet rare earth elements”
Confidence to advance our rare earth projects to the Mineral Resource development stage is bolstered by the positive results from our ongoing metallurgical test program. This program shows that the mineralisation can be upgraded using low cost and simple beneficiation processes prior to metal extraction through leaching. The development of a Mineral Resource, in conjunction with the ongoing metallurgical test work, will support future economic studies.
Finally, we will commence extensional drilling at the Anomaly A in the coming weeks, where broad zones of high-grade gold were intersected during 2022. Drilling results are expected throughout February and March 2023.”
The company also notes targeted mineralisation also demonstrates a high proportion of the grade, up to 30% of the TREO grade, as valuable neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr). In addition, it is within this time frame that strike extension drilling for gold at Anomaly A is expected to be completed.
Meanwhile, the starting of drilling comes at a time in which the global demand for magnet REEs, including neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, and terbium, are expected to grow faster then demand for all other REEs. Market analysts are forecasting a supply deficit in magnet rare earth oxide (MREO) of between 15-37% within the next 5 years.
Meeka Metals is an ASX-listed gold and REE exploration company with a portfolio of high quality, wholly owned projects across Western Australia. The company’s 100% owned Circle Valley project is located about 85km south of the township of Norseman in Western Australia. The project comprises a landholding of 222km-square within the southwestern Albany-Fraser Mobile Belt, which is also host to the 3 million ounce (Moz) Tropicana gold mine.
Other projects included in the company’s exploration arsenal include its flagship Murchison Gold Project, and the Cascade Rare Earths Project which are both also located in Western Australia.
Images: Meeka Metals Ltd