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Drilling confirms rare earths continuity for Mount Ridley Mines

Updated: May 26, 2023

Mount Ridley has kicked another goal at its Mia prospect near Esperance. Credit: File.

Fresh assays from Mount Ridley Mines’ Mia prospect near the Western Australian town of Esperance have outlined multiple, parallel, high-grade trends of clay-hosted rare earths mineralisation across a 3km-wide zone that remains open to the north-east and south-west.

Management says the intersections range between 3m and 41m and have an average thickness of about 12m. Headline results from the company’s latest exploration include intersections going 12m at 1188 parts per million total rare earths oxide (TREO), with 31 per cent magnet rare earth oxides (MREO), 16m going 1800ppm TREO with 23 per cent MREO and 23m running 1171ppm TREO with 25 per cent MREO.

The latest news follows results from earlier this month, which delivered the company a new record of 36m at 4398ppm TREO, including 6m at 9523ppm TREO.

These results provide confidence regarding the continuity of mineralisation between drill sections for the Mia Prospect as we progress towards our maiden Mineral Resource Estimate…Drilling has outlined mineralisation over a strike length of approximately 16km and the prospective corridor remains open. Mount Ridley Mines chairman Peter Christie

The company’s drilling has been focused on a series of parallel and almost linear magnetic “ridges” identified in aeromagnetic imagery through a strike length exceeding 16km. Its latest exploration has targeted the central Mia area on a grid pattern of 2000m by 400m. Tie-lines with holes 100m apart have also been drilled, with the assays pending.

Management also says screen up-grade beneficiation testing of 19 samples is advancing well and it hopes to receive initial results before the end of the month.

The Mount Ridley rare earths project covers a massive 3400 square kilometres and is sits about 50km north-east of the deepwater port of Esperance. The project is also about 20km east of the sealed Goldfields Esperance Highway and an infrastructure corridor which includes the Kalgoorlie-Esperance railway line and gas pipeline. The Esperance airport is located at Gibson Soak, again about 20km from the project.

A recent report by independent research and advisory company, Adamas Intelligence, forecasts that from this year through to 2040, global demand for magnet rare earths will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 per cent, on the back of double-digit growth from electric vehicle and wind power sectors.

According to the report, such growth will translate to a comparable demand increase for the critical rare earth elements – didymium, dysprosium and terbium – that the magnets contain.

With that global demand rising there is plenty of external motivation to keep Mount Ridley’s eyes on the prize.

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