Vital Metals Limited (ASX: VML) via its subsidiary Cheetah Resources Pty Ltd announced the completion of the geological work to re-estimate the resources in its Nechalacho Upper Zone Rare Earth Project in North West Territories, Canada.
The company reported a measured indicated and inferred JORC Resource of 94.7MT at 1.46% TREO at a 0.1% Nd2O3 cutoff grade (25.2% NdPr) contained in the Upper Zone at Nechalacho project.
Within this resource, the Tardiff Zones contains a Measured Resource of 286,563T at 2.7% TREO at a 0.3% Nd2O3 cutoff grade (24.2% NdPr), Indicated Resource of 1.6MT at 2.4% TREO at a 0.3% Nd2O3 cutoff grade at a 0.3% Nd2O3 cutoff grade (24.2% NdPr), and Inferred Resource of 1.3Mt at 2.2% TREO at a 0.3% Nd2O3 cutoff grade at a 0.3% Nd2O3 cutoff grade (24.2% NdPr).
VML said that the additional North T Deposit demonstrates excellent potential for a high grade start-up operation containing Indicated Resource of 36,813T at 1.7% Nd2O3, and Inferred Resource of 23,492 at 1.4% Nd2O3.
The company said that the results are pending for the drill and resampling program completed in Q3 2019 on North T deposit aiming to expand the current resource.
VML reported that the drilling will commence on Tardiff Zones in early 2020 with aim to expand existing high grade resource.
It may be noted that the Tardiff Zones contain bastnaesite mineralisation, similar to the North T Deposit which was the subject of successful ore sorting concentration
The Thor Lake “Nechalacho” REO Project is a high grade, light rare earth (bastnaesite) project located at Nechalacho in the Northwest Territories of Canada.
The Nechalacho Rare Earth Project hosts within the Upper Zone, a NI 43-101 compliant Indicated Resource of 47.21Mt grading at 1.52% REO and Inferred Resource of 102Mt grading at 1.38% for a combined Mineral Resource estimate of 149.30Mt grading at 1.42% REO.
Updated resource estimate for the Upper Zone
The company reported that an updated resource estimate for the Upper Zone of the Nechalacho deposit in accordance with the JORC 2012 code was prepared following geological re-interpretation and creation of new geological wireframes.
The company said that compared to the previously announced foreign estimate for the Upper Zone of the Nechalacho Project, the current JORC 2012 estimate for the Upper Zone is based on more constrained geological model, a higher cutoff grade and includes only resources above 150 m elevation, but uses the same drill hole assay data as the 2013 estimate.
VML reported that the Upper Zone is estimated to contain combined measured, indicated and inferred mineral resources of 94.7 MT grading 1.46% REO including 0.29% Nd2O3 at a cutoff grade of 0.1% Nd2O3 above the 150 m elevation level.
The company said that within the Upper Zone is the high grade Tardiff Zones. There are four distinct zones comprising approximately 3.2 MT of mineralised material at a cutoff grade of 0.3% Nd2O3.
These zones are West of North Tardiff Lake; West of South Tardiff Lake; North Tardiff Lake; and North-east of South Tardiff Lake.
VML said that the Tardiff Zones have been estimated to a JORC 2012 Resource of 3.19 MT @ 2.4% TREO using a cutoff grade of 0.3% Nd2O3. The Tardiff Zone resources are contained within the Upper Zone resource of the Nechalacho deposit.
Mineral Resources for the North T Zone
The North T-Zone of the Nechalacho Rare Earth Project separate deposit located approximately 2km north of the centre of the Upper Zone. The North T Zone contains two distinct zones of REE mineralisation, a Bastnaesite Subzone at surface with an underlying Xenotime Subzone.
The company announced that a new resource estimate for the Bastnaesite and Xenotime Subzones, based on new geological interpretations and a validated historic database, was prepared according to the 2012 version of the JORC code.
VML said that the JORC 2012 mineral resource estimate of the Bastnaesite Subzone of the North T-Zone comprises 60,305T at 1.600% Nd2O3 with a 0.3% Nd2O3 cutoff grade.
Assays pending for drill program
In Q3 2019, VML had completed a drill program consisting of 19 holes for approximately 770m. A campaign was also undertaken to resample core from previous drilling that had not been assayed for the full suite of rare earth elements.
During this campaign, gaps were identified and resampling was undertaken to confirm the continuation of the bastnaesite mineralisation at North T Zone.
The company said that the details of these programs will be released in early 2020 when all assays are received and its expected that a resource upgrade will be completed post results which will incorporate the full suite of rare earth elements.
Updates and next steps
The company reported that a drilling program is scheduled to be completed in February/March 2020 targeting the Tardiff zone with the aim to expand its high-grade zones.
VML said that additional diamond drilling has been performed to test the lateral and vertical extension of REE-mineralization zones; the geochemical core samples are currently being assayed by an independent laboratory.
The company said that all available historic intercepts of the Bastnaesite Subzone have been re-sampled; results are currently pending.
Vital Metals said that all coordinates would be transformed into UTM NAD83 Zone 12N (instead of the older UTM NAD27 Zone 12N).
The company noted that as the drill spacing would be sufficient for most of the resource of the Bastnaesite to be classified with high confidence, the wireframes would be updated and the resources would be re-estimated, following receipt of the assay data.
VML said that additional drilling may be recommended following integration of the results of the recent drilling and re-sampling campaigns.
Vital Metals Managing Director Geoff Atkins said: “The estimation in accordance with JORC of the Upper Zone of the Nechalacho Rare Earth Project highlights its potential as a world class rare earth project. The high grade targets and high NdPr content has reinforced our belief that the Nechalacho Rare Earth Project has potential for a near-term start-up operation exploiting high-grade, easily accessible near surface mineralisation initially from the North T and Tardiff Zones”.