Critical minerals explorer Petratherm (ASX:PTR) is conducting a systematic program to advance current prospects and test new areas within its Comet Rare Earth Element (REE) Project in South Australia.
Speaking to Mining.com.au after his presentation at the 2023 Gold Coast Investment Showcase, Petratherm Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Reid says the company is focused on its 2-pronged approach to exploring its REE and copper-gold projects.
“So, with the first half of the talk, we focused on our rare earths, where we’ve got 2 advanced prospects there: our Meteor and Artemis prospects, where we have very high-grade rare earth-hosting large clay zones extending over several kilometres, with grades in excess of 1,000ppm Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO) and very good Magnet Rare Earth Oxide (MREO) concentrations around 25-26% within the TREO grade.
I guess one of the strengths of those project areas is we’ve essentially got some very large resources once we go to defining resources; it’s still an exploration phase, but I think we’ve done enough drilling, and we can go to defining resources in the near future, and that these occur at very shallow depths.”
Petratherm reports regional drilling activities to date have tested 130km-square, which represents less than 10% of Comet’s project area. The company says drilling at the Meteor and Artemis prospects has identified ‘substantial’ potential for additional REE discoveries in the surrounding, and unexplored tenures.
At Meteor, the company says mineralised intercepts of up to 38m have been recorded with Magnetic Rare Earth Oxide (MREO) grades up to 746 parts per million (ppm) across the prospect.
Meanwhile, at Artemis, Petratherm says ‘high-grade’ intercepts ranging from 12m to 32m have been recorded, with ‘high-value’ MREO intercepts up to 609ppm and a ‘high-grade’ Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO) REE blanket with over 1,000ppm TREO.
The CEO tells this news service that there is a lot of upside potential in the area.
“One of the clear differentiators between us and other rare earth explorers is that our rare earths are associated with a very discrete intrusive complex which has a characteristic magnetic signature. We can see a number of these bodies popping up elsewhere in our leases, which haven’t been tested.
“there’s a lot of upside potential there, and we’re off to a really good start,”
We’ve got a lot of exploration and upside potential, too, as we test those intrusive features for more rare earth occurrences. The rare earths are hosted in apatite minerals in those layered mafic intrusions. We think there’s potential for primary high-grade mineralisation, too, in those mafic rock sequences.
So I think there’s a lot of upside potential there, and we’re off to a really good start, both with the Meteor and Artemis prospects looking to be quite large rare earth clay-hosted resources that should be defined in the near future.”
Petratherm reports it is conducting a REE drilling program throughout June at Comet, while another REE drilling program is expected to start in September 2023. Metallurgical testwork will begin at Comet in August and will run through October and November 2023.
At the Woomera Iron Oxide Copper-Gold (IOCG) Project, Petratherm expects the results from a gravity survey to be returned in July, and a drilling program will begin in December 2023.
Additionally, at the Mabel Creek IOCG Project, the company will be defining electromagnetic (EM) and gravity targets throughout June and July 2023 ahead of planned drilling programs scheduled for October and November 2023.
Reid tells Mining.com.au that Petratherm is also focused on its copper-gold assets in the Olympic Domain in South Australia, including the Mabel Creek and Woomera projects.
“Our bread and butter is really copper-gold exploration. We’ve got 2 large holdings in the Olympic Domain of South Australia looking for copper-gold, and we’re conducting gravity surveying both those areas and have identified a number of large gravity targets. One in particular that seems quite comparable in size and magnitude to the Carpentaria gravity response, which of course is an operating world-class copper deposit in the near vicinity where we are.
“Our bread and butter is really copper-gold exploration”
So, we’ve got some very exciting gravity targets that we’ll be testing over the next 6 months with our northern leases there. We’re also conducting ground high-powered SQUID-EM surveying, which measures conductivity.”
Petratherm is an ASX-listed critical minerals explorer committed to developing its portfolio of REE and copper-gold projects in South Australia. The company’s assets include the Muckanippie and Comet REE projects, as well as the Mabel Creek and Woomera IOCG projects.
Write to Harry Mulholland at Mining.com.au
Images: Petratherm Ltd