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Aruma scales up rare earths grades at Salmon Gums

An area of exposed ionic clays found at Aruma Resources compelling Salmon Gums project in WA’s Eastern Goldfields. Credit: File

Aruma Resources (ASX: AAJ) appears to have landed a decent fish after nailing higher-grade rare earths drill hits and samples at its Salmon Gums project, about 200km south of the regional town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields.

The company says one surface sample produced the highest recorded rare earths grade to date in the emerging Esperance-Salmon Gums ionic clay region, following its maiden air-core (AC) drill program of 39 holes testing for enriched rare-earth clays at its Circle Valley North target.

Multiple thick drill intersections with rare earths showing good grades were intersected including 11m at 904 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO) from 18m, 6m going 770pmm from 24m and an 18m slice at 434ppm from 12m, in addition to a solid hit of 18m at 638ppm TREO from 12m.

Management says surface sampling of exposed ionic clays also returned a head-turning 8700ppm TREO, with high-value neodymium and praseodymium oxides representing 22.5 per cent of the total TREO grade.

The high-grade results returned from our first-pass REE-focused drilling at the Salmon Gums Project is exciting for Aruma. It appears that the higher-grade mineralisation extends further onto our Project area, which enhances the potential for it to host extensive REE mineralisation.
Aruma Resources managing director Glenn Grayson

The company says its AC drilling program also confirms a northern extension to recent rare earths discoveries at Meeka Metals’ Circle Valley project that has a mineral resource of 98 million tonnes at 890ppm TREO and OD6 Metals’ Splinter Rock project with a resource of 344 million tonnes at 1308ppm TREO.

Following the significant results from the drilling program, Aruma says it plans to undertake a targeted second phase of AC drilling in the next quarter to further define the anomalous zones and assess the project’s rare earths resource potential. It says two of the higher-grade zones are coincident with OD6’s discovery and highlight the region’s prospectivity for rare earths.

The latest results show that testing of Aruma’s Thistle prospect intersected 3m of anomalous gold mineralisation from surface in one hole and highlights the gold prospectivity from structural controls in the project area.

Salmon Gums, which comprises three exploration licences over an area of 360 square kilometres, originated as a gold project and has produced solid historical drill hits of 28m at 8.41g/t gold, 5m at 50.2g/t from 42m and 7.6m at 7.3g/t from 38.4m. It sits about 30km south and along strike from Pantoro’s high-grade Scotia gold project and 60km south of the mining town of Norseman.

Aruma also has several other promising opportunities, with its Mt Deans lithium project that has drill results of 8m at 1.1 per cent lithium oxide from 26m and 5m at 1.2 per cent lithium oxide from 4m. Another interesting play for the company is its Saltwater project that has an area of 450sq km and is situated about 120km south-west of the regional mining town of Newman.

Recent sampling across three prospects at Saltwater has reaffirmed its potential as being a multi-commodity play for gold and base metals.

Management says the program successfully identified an anomalous greenfields gold target at its Terceira prospect within the project area. The residual surface gold anomaly is coincident with a large arsenic halo and a geophysical magnetic anomaly and represents a highly-prospective new gold target in a greenfield location.

In addition, it says soil sampling has verified the existence of further volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) systems with elements such as manganese, barium, copper and cobalt. The findings also feature a series of anomalies of rare earths and tellurides within the soil at another prospect within Saltwater named Oracle.

Aruma has many promising options to work with and will be hoping further exploration at Salmon Gums can turn it into a whale of a project.

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