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More rare earths hits for Askari Metals at Top End play

Updated: Mar 26

Askari Metals rock sampling has returned more rare earths hits. Credit: File.

Rock chips from Askari Metals’ 100 per cent-owned Barrow Creek rare earths and lithium project in Australia’s Northern Territory have come back as high as 11,610 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO).

The company has today revealed that other rock chips assayed at 2507ppm and 2446ppm TREO, correlating with historic rock chips that went as high as 4553ppm, 2143ppm, 1243ppm, 1235ppm and 1091ppm TREO. The results are from an exploration program of rock and soil sampling and high-definition geophysical and hyperspectral surveys.

The 278-square-kilometre Barrow Creek project, which sits about 200km south of Tenant Creek, raised eyebrows back in January when it delivered high-grade rock-chip assays. Askari was then back on the ground in August, taking 73 soil samples and 193 rock chips as part of the exploration push focussing on the south-central part of the project.

In addition to the results above, other rock chip assays from the latest campaign came back with 1590ppm, 1585ppm, 1552ppm, 1368ppm, 1272ppm, 1228ppm and 1186ppm TREO. The company says the peak assay of 11,610ppm TREO includes 4889ppm light rare earth oxides (LREO) and 6721ppm heavy rare earth oxides (HREO).

Askari says a regional geophysical data review suggests the area is a contact between older and younger granites that may have created favourable conditions for rare earths mineralisation. All of the high-grade rock chips lie within this area and were collected within an 80m radius of each other.

Management says the soil samples were gathered from an area that correlates with the interpreted structural trend of the rare earths mineralisation. The best of the soil assays were 373ppm, 341ppm and 314ppm TREO, which the company says are in line with results expected for the soil’s depositional environment.

This extensive phase of exploration has provided further confirmation of the potential of the Barrow Creek project to host extensive high-grade REE mineralisation with the results correlating well with the previous sampling completed by the Company. Mineralogical test work is also currently being completed which will provide the Company with insight into future processing options to determine the viability of the Barrow Creek project to produce a clean REE concentrate. Askari Metals executive director Gino D’Anna.

Askari says it acquired a magnetic survey using a drone for a total of 210 line kilometres, which has assisted it in firming up its understanding of the potential granite contact hosting rare earths and to identify exploration areas of interest. The magnetic survey is supported by a gravity survey secured using 466 stations and an aerial hyperspectral survey, which may show the felsic and potentially pegmatite rocks.

In January this year, Askari announced that fieldwork at Barrow Creek had identified a large field of pegmatites upwards of 5m thick.

But the company says the focus for now is on its flagship Uis lithium project in Namibia, with its Australian operations being explored in proportion to their relative priority in the overall portfolio. Management has indicated that any future exploration at Barrow Creek would include a small drilling program designed to test for extensions of the rare earths mineralisation.

Meanwhile, Askari’s work at Uis is progressing with the phase-one exploration trenching that kicked off last month, targeting four high-priority pegmatites – one of which has a strike of more than 2km. Results of the exploration trenching are pending.

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