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Codrus Minerals spins rods to follow up bulging rare earth hits

The historic quarry at Codrus Minerals’ Karloning project, showing pegmatite and the host granitoid in the quarry wall. Credit: File

Codrus Minerals has kicked off a new 2000m air-core (AC) drill campaign to follow up on significant results from the maiden drilling program at its Karloning project in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region that indicate a potentially extensive, high-grade, clay-hosted rare earths discovery.

The company says the deposit is open in multiple directions and adjacent to the pegmatite-hosted hard-rock rare earths mineralisation for which the project was originally acquired.

Codrus’ first reverse-circulation (RC) drillhole in its maiden 13-hole program for a total of 1906m, hit extensive high-grade, clay-hosted rare earths mineralisation with impressive grades of up to 4764 parts per million total rare earth oxides, including yttrium (TREYO). Initial analysis from the first hole using 4m composite samples returned a result of 12m going 2680ppm TREYO from 8m, including 4m at 4764ppm TREYO from 12m downhole depth.

Resampling of the first hole using more definitive 1m sample intervals returned impressive results, with 11m at 2825ppm TREYO from 9m, including 2m grading an eye-popping 6883ppm TREYO from 13m.

Other highlights of the maiden program defined rare earths mineralisation in a 24m section running 1503ppm TREYO from just 8m, including 12m at 2081ppm TREYO from 8m.

Wider zones include a healthy 36m section going 1191ppm TREYO from 12m, including 16m at 1505ppm TREYO from 12m and an additional 28m at 1191ppm TREYO from 12m.

Rare earths-enrichment is indicated in all 11 holes that intersected the clay zone, with multiple thick intercepts of high-grade, clay-hosted mineralisation in an area measuring about 400m by 300m. Codrus’ results to date remain open-ended to the south-west, north-east and south-east, suggesting a potentially greater extent to the deposit and it says the grade profile of the intercepts is remarkably consistent across the width of its mineralised zones.

Moreover, management says up to 25 per cent of the mineralisation defined to date is contained in the high-value rare earths that are critical in the supply chain for manufacturing magnets for electric motors. It includes the light rare earth oxides, neodymium and praseodymium and the heavy rare earth oxides, dysprosium and terbium.

Mapping by the Geological Survey of Western Australia demonstrates a strike extent of about 1.5km for the Karloning pegmatite and Codrus believes significant potential exists for pegmatite extension beneath surface cover and for multiple pegmatite horizons to be discovered within its project area. Lower grade halos of rare earths mineralisation are also indicated in the extensive alkaline granites that have been investigated in the area.

In November last year, Codrus entered into a farm-in and joint venture (JV) agreement with Talgomine Minerals to earn up to a 90 per cent interest in Karloning. The company has also pegged an additional tenement in its own right, adjacent to the JV ground, further consolidating its position over the prospective area.

The project is about 30km north of the Wheatbelt town of Muckinbudin and 100km north of the regional centre of Merredin, all via sealed roads.

Codrus undertook its maiden RC proof of concept drilling at a nominal hole spacing of 100m by 80m to demonstrate that significant contiguous high-grade clay-hosted rare earths were developed within the project area.

The new AC campaign is designed to test the extension potential of the maiden discovery at a nominal initial hole spacing of 400m by 200m for a total of about 2000m, although the company says the plan may be varied according to results and as it develops a greater understanding of the clay profile in bigger areas.

But management believes Karloning could be the harbinger of a new strategically-situated, dual-source rare earths province in WA.

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