Red Mountain expects rare earths to benefit from China Syndrome

By Trevor Hoey. Published at Nov 25, 2020, in Mining

Diversified mining group, Red Mountain Mining (ASX:RMX) has completed a geophysical review of all available magnetic, gravity and radiometric data at the Mt Mansbridge Heavy Rare Earths Project area.

Red Mountain also has gold projects in Western Australia and New South Wales under exploration.

The Mt Mansbridge review has further defined existing rare earth element (REE) targets as well as identify several early stage radiometric/potential xenotime (valuable phosphate ore) targets for follow up.

The Mt Mansbridge Project is comprised of three highly prospective exploration licenses (E80/5229, E80/5111 and recently granted tenement E80/5413) in the Kimberly region of Western Australia.

The project area is considered prospective for hydrothermal vein hosted and unconformity-related REE mineralisation.

Commenting on the upcoming drilling campaign, director Jeremy King said, “The Mt Mansbridge Rare Earth Project is an exciting opportunity for Red Mountain Mining to obtain leverage to the significant and valuable rare earths market.

‘’We intend to move forward aggressively on a drilling campaign at Mt Mansbridge in the March quarter of 2021 for which we are comfortably fully funded.”

Historical data to assist in establishing targets

With the project area covered by numerous historical geophysical datasets and government surveys, the individual surveys were merged and reprocessed to undertake a geophysical review of targets.

Reprocessing and rationing of radiometric data has provide valuable information for further vectoring existing REE targets as well identifying additional basement hosted and unconformity-related heavy rare earth element (HREE) xenotime targets for follow-up and drilling at Mt Mansbridge.

Areas that present as particularly promising targets are highlighted below (refer to scale on right-hand side).

Mt Mansbridge tenement E80/5413 was granted in July 2020, and previous exploration identified an anomalous occurrence of yttrium and heavy lanthanide element dysprosium.

This dysprosium-rich target (T4) is seen to occur within a strongly silicified siltstone unit and is located in close proximity to the southern unconformity as highlighted above.

While the HREE mineralisation at T4 is seen to occur within the basement sedimentary beds, the primary target REE mineralisation model could be an “unconformity-related” system with analogous geological setting and mineralisation model identified at the Killi Killi Prospect (T1 and T2).

Prospects T1 and T2 coincide with a broad REE soil anomaly defined by Quantum Resources from their ground sampling program and is coincident with historically reported xenotime mineralisation.

The REE soil anomaly is seen to occur at the base of the unconformity and within the basement sandstone beds which are seen to correlate radiometrically as shown below.

The total REE are highest near the old BHP vein occurrence and at higher levels in the land surface around the unconformity between Killi Killi Beds and Gardiner Sandstone and within the basal zones of the Gardiner Sandstone.

The proportion of HREE is highest near the BHP vein zone and in small pockets near the unconformity and least in the areas above the unconformity.

Prospect area 3 (T3A and T3B) is seen to host the prospective sedimentary Killi Killi Beds which outcrop and are unconformably overlain by the younger Gardiner Sandstone to the south.

With a well-defined unconformity, similar geological setting and radiometric correlation, area T3 is considered prospective for both hydrothermal vein-hosted and unconformity-related REE mineralisation.

However, further follow-up is required to validate the occurrence of REE mineralisation at area T3.

With rare earth prices sensitive to trade wars and China controlling circa 98% of the supply of global dysprosium production, there is a strong global interest for new sustainable sources of HREE supply outside of China.

The recent advances in progressing the commercialisation of the Browns Range Heavy Rare Earth Project has further validated the need to explore for heavy rare earths at Mt Mansbridge.

With a similar geological setting, presence of xenotime and proximity to the Browns Range has increased the potential for REE discoveries at Mt Mansbridge project area.


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