OD6 Metals traverses towards phase three drilling following ‘bumper’ results at Splinter Rock

OD6 Metals (ASX:OD6) will launch a phase three 188-hole 10,000m drill program in Q2 2023 as the rare earths exploration company continues to return ‘bumper’ assay results at its Splinter Rock Project, located northeast of Esperance in Western Australia.

Speaking to Mining.com.au on the back of more ‘high-grade’ intercepts, Managing Director Brett Hazelden says the company looks well positioned in the rare earths space compared to its peers.

“These results are better than we anticipated, significantly better than we anticipated actually. They’re generally higher than what we’ve seen anywhere else in Australia, in the order of about 50% higher than most other Australian results today.”

The MD tells this news service that the higher recoveries for obvious reasons is attractive as OD6 will have more metal recovered per tonne of ore, effectively.

“These results are better than we anticipated, significantly better than we anticipated actually”

Drilling and geological analysis at its flagship Splinter Rock has shown widespread, thick,  ‘high-grade’ clay hosted REE deposits that extend over hundreds of square kilometres. Metallurgical testing using hydrochloric acid to leach the rare earths have resulted in positive REE recoveries with optimisation ongoing.

A recent 83-hole 200m spaced drill program has delivered a significant number of thick and ‘high-grade’ clay hosted REE intercepts. The drill program was designed in conjunction with the Airborne Electromagnetic Survey (AEM) to test the  localised consistency of clay type, thickness, and grade at OD6’s main prospect areas – Prop, Flanker, Centre, and Scrum.

Based on the AEM, drill results to date, metallurgical results, government approved permit of works (PoW), and heritage clearances a phase three drill program is scheduled for Q2 2023.

The main focus is to test the length of the prospects, plus determine the continuity of grade and thickness of the extensions.

Metallurgical samples will also be selected for further work at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) once assays have been received.

Hazelden tells this news service assays received from 74 of the 83 holes have returned significant TREO grades and thickness and clay thickness intervals up to 71m have been recorded with a significant increase in overall thickness observed. Magnetic Rare Earth Oxides make up an average of over 22% of the TREO, he adds.

“These exceptional drill results represent some of the highest rare earth grades, over some of the thickest intersections seen in an Australian clay hosted rare earth project. With thicknesses of 20m to 80m, grades in excess of 1,000ppm Total Rare Earths, and consistency across several kilometres of width, the Splinter Rock project has emerged as a globally significant discovery.

The areas targeted in this second phase program align with the metallurgical recoveries recently reported, providing validation and further endorsement of the OD6 exploration approach. To have one prospect achieve these results is impressive, for all four of our main Prospect areas to return these results is remarkable. With such an extensive area of clay REE mineralisation, our next round of drilling will focus on further defining the extent of the Centre and Prop prospects.

 “With such an extensive area of clay REE mineralisation, our next round of drilling will focus on further defining the extent of the Centre and Prop prospects”

Our strategy prioritises the “best of the best” in terms of grade, magnetic rare earth content, thickness and metallurgical recovery, as we sharpen our focus towards the goal of delivering a high-quality maiden JORC Mineral Resource Estimate.”

The Centre prospect extends for some 5km along a northwest-southeast drill line and is yet to be constrained to the northeast and southwest (although AEM modelling suggests it may extend as far as 27km beyond the current drill line). Clay hosted rare earths are located in thick areas of the prospect and vary between 10 to 70m with TREO intersections up to 2,029ppm at a 300ppm cut-off grade.

The prospect contains a shallow amount of transported cover and saprolitic clays of about 5m to 15m thickness above the rare earth clay hosts as detailed in the following cross section.

The strongest intersections returned from the current program include 27m @ 1,792ppm TREO (23.2% magnet REO) from 18m (SRAC0265), and 36m @ 1,615ppm TREO (21% magnet REO) from 21m (SRAC0217).

The Centre prospect target area is defined by basins that lie between granites and is a large clay basin that sits within a tableland area at higher elevations. The target area identified by the Airborne Electromagnetic Survey (AEM) covers 136 million square metres (136km-square) and extend about 27km along axis and between 5km and 10km wide.

Meanwhile, the Prop prospect extends 3km to the northwest-southeast and 5km along the northeast-southwest drill lines. Clay hosted rare earths are located in thick areas of the prospect and vary between 10m to 80m with TREO assay intersections up to 1,907ppm at a 300ppm cut-off grade.

The Scrum prospect extends for some 5km along a northwest-southeast drill line and is yet to be constrained to the northeast and southwest. Clay hosted rare earth are located in thick areas of the prospect and vary between 10m to 48m with TREO assay values up to 1,882ppm at a 300ppm cut-off grade.

The prospect is partly covered by a sand with thickness varying between 15m to 35m above the clay hosted rare earth areas.

At the Flanker prospect, which extends for 4km along a northwest-southeast drill line, clay hosted rare earth are located in thick areas vary between 10m to 30m with TREO assay values up to 2,059ppm at a 300ppm cut-off grade.

The prospect contains a shallow amount of transported cover (3-15m) and saprolitic clays above the clay hosted rare earth areas.

OD6 Metals is an Australian public company pursuing exploration and development opportunities within the critical mineral sector. The company has successfully identified clay  hosted rare earths at its 100% owned Splinter Rock and Grass Patch projects, which are located in the Esperance-Goldfields region of Western Australia.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

Images: OD6 Metals Ltd
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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.