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Emu lifts rare earths status with fourth WA discovery

Updated: May 20

Emu NL has confirmed historical rare earths results at its Merredin project in WA’s Wheatbelt. Credit: File

Emu NL has added a fourth rare earths discovery to its growing portfolio after rock-chip samples at its Merredin project complemented historic assay results of up to 1405 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO).

The company’s new samples returned results of up to 971ppm TREO, backing up a review of the Geological Survey of Western Australia’s public hard-rock geochemical data that showed several assays with elevated rare earths values.

Importantly, Emu’s samples showed magnetic rare earths oxide represents up to 21.3 per cent of the TREO grade, with seven samples returning grades above 600ppm TREO. Heavy rare earths oxide made up to 11.25 per cent of the TREO grade.

The discovery at the Merredin project builds on Emu’s confirmation of rare earths at the company’s Condingup project near Esperance, its Viper project near Jerramungup and its Graceland project near Lake Grace.

Management says its rock-chip sample results confirm the various granitic intrusions in the greater Merredin area to be highly fertile for rare earths, with the potential to be the primary source for significantly-enriched rare earths minerals in clay.

Clay-hosted rare earths are generally considered to be a cheaper bulk mining proposition, with a relatively simple extraction process compared to other hard-rock rare earths deposits.

An additional review into historic soil samples at Merredin also returned elevated copper results of up to 1452ppm and zinc grades of up to 1679ppm. The company says the copper and zinc results are highly-anomalous and will be followed up with future groundwork.

The project adds to our portfolio of REE projects in the wheatbelt and WA’s southeast. Whilst it is early days for this project, the prospectivity for REE, along with elevated copper, zinc values and potential pegmatite intrusions, provides a compelling basis for further exploration activity. Emu NL chairman Peter Thomas

The Merredin exploration application takes in about 88 square kilometres in WA’s Wheatbelt region and sits some 30km north of its namesake town. Emu expects the application to be granted before the end of the year.

According to the Federal Government, China has the world’s biggest rare earths reserves, the highest production of rare earths concentrates and controls as much as 90 per cent of global production at various value-added stages of the supply chain.

In 2021, China produced 168 kilotonnes of rare earths oxide equivalent – almost four times more than the world’s second-biggest producer, the United States, which pumped out 43 kilotonnes.

But Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King says Australia is already the fourth-biggest producer of rare earths concentrate and has the potential for significant growth given the country’s high-quality deposits of both light and heavy rare earths.

While still in the early stages of its hunt for rare earths, Emu is quickly making a name for itself as an emerging exploration player for the precious minerals, having now added a fourth key project to its portfolio. It could well be poised to join the cavalcade of companies hoping to disrupt China’s dominance.

Shares in the company jumped 25 per cent today on the back of its latest news, to touch 0.25 cents during intraday trading after closing at 0.2c on Tuesday.

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