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ABx Group almost doubles Tasmanian rare earths resource

Updated: Mar 21

ABx Group has increased its mineral resource at its Tasmanian rare earths project. Credit: File

ABx Group has pumped its mineral resource estimate up to 52 million tonnes at 817 parts per million TREO after management completed a block model for its Deep Leads-Rubble Mound rare earths deposit in Tasmania.

The latest resource almost doubles the previous figure released in July of 27 million tonnes averaging 803ppm TREO. The heavy permanent magnet rare earth oxides, dysprosium and terbium, represent 4.4 per cent of the TREO, which the company says is the highest-known proportion for any ionic adsorption clay-hosted rare earths resource in Australia.

It says the resource model is based on data from 407 drillholes across the resource area and covers 39 per cent of the identified mineralised outline.

ABx was the first to discover rare earths in Tasmania at its Deep Leads-Rubble Mound project and has steadily continued to explore the deposit since releasing a maiden resource of 3.94 million tonnes at 918ppm TREO late last year.

The company says that because the latest figure takes in all intercepts to date, the resource estimate block modelling has identified four high-grade zones that warrant follow-up exploration.

This block-modelling of resources is another significant step towards commercial assessment. ABx’s resource is exceptionally enriched in permanent magnet rare earths, especially dysprosium and terbium, which have the highest supply risk and are almost exclusively produced from ionic adsorption clay rare earth deposits. ABx Group managing director and chief executive officer Mark Cooksey

Ionic adsorption clay rare earths provide several critical advantages over other types of deposits, including potentially improved processing economics, in addition to a greater proportion of the highly-valuable heavy rare earths such as dysprosium and terbium.

Dysprosium is vital to a wide range of industries and is used in the manufacture of wind turbines, miniature electronics, radiation detection equipment and refractive glass material, as well as in batteries. It is also used to coat the surface of hard-drive platters to improve their magnetic storage capabilities.

Terbium is used in permanent magnets in the production of actuators and sonar transceivers, x-ray screens, wind turbines, fuel cells and televisions.

Earlier this month, ABx revealed plans for a follow-up drill campaign at its Wind Break prospect, ahead of turning back to Deep Leads-Rubble Mound. The Wind Break drilling will be co-funded dollar-for-dollar by Mineral Resources Tasmania up to a maximum of $70,000 in the eighth round of the State’s Exploration Drilling Grant Initiative.

Following the Wind Break program, ABx will turn its attention to the northern extensions of its Deep Leads-Rubble Mound resource, where drilling recorded results of 17,333ppm TREO. The results came from a program 2km west of a hole that yielded the company’s previous best assay result with a top value of 4444ppm TREO.

Since announcing its maiden mineral resource less than a year ago, ABx has increased its mineral resource more than 13-fold. And with the latest modelling showing significant areas for follow-up exploration, the company may just be getting started.

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