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Emu finds add more impetus for Esperance rare earths

Updated: May 20

Emu NL is looking to provide more rare earths for the green energy transition. Credit: File

Emu NL has enlarged its mineralised footprint in the heart of Esperance’s rare earths region in southern Western Australia after rock chips returned results of up to 1242 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO) from its latest reconnaissance survey.

Management says the fieldwork from outcropping Booanya suite granites has revealed high-value magnet rare earth oxides representing an average of about 22 per cent of TREO grade from 28 rock-chip samples. It continues a growing trend of news-making rare earths discoveries in the picturesque region.

Other headline assay results for the company include 941ppm TREO, 1089ppm TREO and 1025ppm TREO, which it says is confirmation that the area is highly-fertile for rare earths with the potential for the minerals to be hosted in significantly-enriched clay.

With its tail up on the back of the successful campaign, Emu has applied for an additional 765 square kilometres of prospective exploration licence ground. Should it be approved, it would take the company’s overall landholding at its wholly-owned Condingup rare earths project to 1560sq km in an area that has been grabbing plenty of headlines because of its mineral endowment.

These are stunning results from the rock chip sampling programs and are extremely encouraging. The results shine a bright light on EMU’s Condingup rare earths project and identify it as being a dead ringer to OD6’s Splinter Rocks project. The intrusive Booanya granite suite has proven to be a significant indicator of rare earths fertility in the eastern Esperance rare earths province. Emu NL chairman Peter Thomas

In the same area earlier this year, OD6 Metals wrapped up its second phase of drilling at its Splinter Rock project. Results from that company’s 83-hole air-core drill campaign prompted it to declare the site a “globally significant discovery” after receiving assays including a 3m hit at 6605ppm TREO from 57m.

Additional assay highlights – all from OD6’s Centre prospect – included a 66m section grading 1516ppm TREO from only 15m, in addition to a 55m segment at 1781ppm TREO from 21m that included the standout 3m hit. The widest hit was also recorded at the prospect with 71m going 1330ppm TREO from 15m.

Splinter Rock is about 150km north-east of the port of Esperance and comprises six exploration licences covering more than 2500sq km.

Emu’s Condingup project sits within the prospective Booanya granite suite, about 60km from Esperance. The operation sits just 35km south-east of OD6’s Splinter Rock project.

Management is also on the lookout for rare earths at its Merredin project near the WA Wheatbelt town of the same name and at its Georgetown project in Queensland. The company’s rare earths-focused landholdings cover more than 1100sq km of highly-prospective exploration licences.

The surge in demand for rare earths comes from their use in renewable energy, however they also play a big part in electronics and are vital in the aerospace and defence industries.

China dominates mining and production of the minerals and while countries such as Australia and the United States are playing catch-up, they are attempting to claw back some market share on the back of significant deposit discoveries.

There is a strong geopolitical reasoning behind the West’s focus on developing its own rare earths industry. Rumours abound of China considering a ban on the export of certain rare earths to protect its domestic high-tech advantages – a move which would undoubtedly have significant economic implications for the US, Europe and Japan.

So with global superpowers keeping a close eye on the developments in what used to be a sleepy beachside holiday destination on WA’s coast, Emu is planning a maiden air-core drilling program to target clay-based rare earths on its plot.

And management may soon feel the need to ask bar staff at the iconic “Condi pub” to put some champagne on ice.

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