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Meeka Metals reveals strong hand of high-grade WA rare earths

Updated: Apr 18

The last round of assays in from Meeka Metals’ Circle Valley rare earths project in WA continue to show high grades of neodymium and praseodymium. Credit: File

Meeka Metals has played its trump card, revealing its highest rare earths mineralisation to date from the final 32 drill holes from its 60-hole resource probe at its Circle Valley project near Esperance – Western Australia’s newest rare earths hotspot.

The headline hit returned 4m coming in at an impressive 7475 parts per million total rare earths oxides (TREO), housed in a 12m intercept averaging 4276ppm TREO from just 19m. Other notable runs include 16m grading 1814ppm TREO from 17m with an internal 4m coming in at 3266ppm TREO, along with 4m chiming in at 1773ppm TREO from only 6m.

The latest string of results adds to a slew of high-grade hits revealed last month, including 6m at 2360ppm TREO from 46m and 8m grading 1542ppm TREO.

Consistently-high neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) levels were returned between 24 per cent and 30 per cent. NdPr are two so-called “magnet rare earths” with strong and diversified demand. They are integral to the manufacture of permanent magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines, in addition to communications and military technology.

Meeka’s latest assays also returned significant grades of scandium of up to 50 grams per tonne. Scandium is a lightweight soft metal used to add strength in the aerospace and sports equipment industries. Though not traded on metals exchanges, the scarce metal can fetch between $4,000 and $20,000 per kilogram in private sales.

The Perth-based explorer has wasted no time in proving up its rare earths play since fortuitously discovering the critical metals in an air-core drilling program that targeted subsurface gold anomalism nearly two years ago. The company produced some impressive results from its maiden rare earths drilling program at the operation, with highlights including one run that went 12m at 2690ppm TREO, which included 4m at a mammoth 6894ppm TREO.

These results include the highest grade rare earth mineralisation seen to date at Circle Valley, over 7,000ppm TREO. Assays continue to confirm thick seams of high grade mineralisation rich in NdPr magnet rare earth elements are present at Circle Valley. Meeka Metals managing director Tim Davidson

Mr Davidson says the latest round of infill and extension drilling extends through an area of about 15 square kilometres and will “significantly” expand the footprint of mineralisation in preparation for a maiden mineral resource estimate due to be tabled next month.

Rare earths mineralisation at Circle Valley accumulates in thick saprolitic clay seams beneath a thin veneer of transported cover. The company’s exploration efforts reveal the cover material thins to the north-west where the latest highest-grade mineralisation is recorded.

Circle Valley is one of two rare earths projects the company has near WA’s southern coast, centred around the port of Esperance – its second being Cascade to the south-west. Cascade was pegged on the back of Circle Valley’s potential and is an impressive tenure of more than 2000sq km.

The region is heating up as a hotspot for rare earths, with market newcomer OD6 recently announcing a “globally significant discovery” at its nearby Splinter Rock project. It returned a whopping 69m intercept going 1483ppm TREO from 24m and sent its share price on a tear.

While China and Myanmar have dominated mining and extraction of clay-hosted rare earths, Australia is quietly rapping at the door with the likes of ASX-listed Australian Rare Earths successfully producing mixed rare earths carbonate from its 101 million tonnes at 818ppm TREO Koppamurra deposit in South Australia.

With results all tallied up from its latest resource drilling at Circle Valley, the clock is ticking for Meeka as it sets about putting the finishing touches to a maiden resource estimate. Time will tell if the company is sitting on its own “globally significant” rare earths deposit.

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