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Aruma out to expand Norseman gold, rare earths footprint

Drill core from Aruma Resources’ Thistle prospect, with disseminated sulphide from 38.4m to 41m at 9.85g/t gold. Credit: File

Aruma Resources is putting its shoulder to the wheel to expand the gold and rare earths footprint at its Salmon Gums project in Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields region after completing a 63-hole air-core (AC) drilling program.

The recent campaign included 39 holes targeting rare earths, with the other 24 drillholes following up previous drilling to assess gold-bearing lodes at the company’s Thistle gold discovery that sits just 10km south of two other priority gold targets.

The company says the work was aimed at assessing the potential for possible north-west-trending, clay-hosted rare earths extensions from Meeka Metals’ Circle Valley project that has an estimated 98-million-tonne resource at a grade of 890 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO). Circle Valley lies about 20km south-east of Aruma’s Thistle gold target.

Additionally, OD6 Metals previously conducted reconnaissance drilling for rare earths on an open grid through an extensive area between about 7km and 17km south/south-east of Thistle.

This reconnaissance drilling program was designed to provide an effective test of our exploration model at the Project, and investigate the clay-hosted rare earths potential in the southern extent of the Project, while also seeking to expand the gold mineralised footprint. Subject to results, we will look to develop the Thistle gold prospect with further targeted exploration and continue progress on the rare earths potential. Aruma Resources managing director Glenn Grayson

The Thistle discovery and the company’s two priority Iris and Rose targets lie within a 10km north-south trend in the central south of its easternmost licence area. Aruma says that while Salmon Gums is primarily a high-grade gold venture, its assessment of the project area has highlighted the additional potential for rare earths mineralisation.

The project comprises three contiguous exploration licences enclosing an area of 360 square kilometres, about 60km south of the mining town of Norseman, which lies at the southern end of the globally-renowned, highly-productive Norseman-Wiluna greenstone belt.

Aruma’s address is geologically significant, being just 30km south of and along strike on the same stratigraphy as Pantoro’s 100 per cent-owned, high-grade Scotia gold project near Norseman. Pantoro recently built a new processing facility at Norseman and brought online three mines – the OK underground mine, the Scotia open pit and the Green Lantern – with production beginning in October 2022.

That company says its current mineral resource is 4.8 million ounces of gold and its ore reserve is 973,000 ounces. The numbers are in keeping with the fact that historically, its Norseman gold project area alone has produced more than 5.5 million ounces of gold since operations began there in 1935.

Importantly, many of Pantoro’s mineral resources defined so far remain open along strike and at depth and have only been tested to shallow depths, while several other highly-prospective targets, mineralisation occurrences and anomalies have yet to be tested.

In a strategic move, Aruma’s initial rare earths assessment placed most of its 39 holes for 1200m of drilling across the southernmost extremities of its two eastern licences in a single fence about 14km long, in the hope of catching any north-trending anomalism from the Meeka and OD6 drill targets. The laboratory will now tell if the move paid off.

The company says its recent drilling was completed successfully and subject to the results of the two AC programs, it plans to conduct further work to develop both its gold and rare earths prospects.

As always, the laboratory will be the prime arbiter of success with respect to Aruma’s structural interpretations at Thistle and its strategic rare earths fishing line strung out across the south-eastern boundary of its Salmon Gums project.

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