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Mount Ridley Mines continues Esperance rare earths cavalcade

Updated: Apr 19


Mount Ridley Mines has recorded impressive results at its namesake rare earths project near Esperance. Credit: File

Mount Ridley Mines has returned more impressive results from its namesake project about 50km north of Esperance in Western Australia, with shallow assays grading up to 5374 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO).


The company’s latest results come from a 157-hole air-core (AC) campaign completed at its Mia prospect, which has a strike length of more than 9km and a width of 4km. It is one of 11 targets identified at the operation.


Drill highlights show a 6m hit at the peak grade of 5374ppm TREO from 24m, 8m grading 3951ppm TREO from 39m and 6m reading 2547ppm TREO from 63m. Wider results reveal 22m grading 2160ppm TREO from just 11m and 26m going 1780ppm TREO from 30m.


Previous assays from Mia include 6m at 6648ppm TREO from 57m and 8m going 3022ppm TREO from just 4m, while wider results include an impressive 41m reading 3970ppm TREO from 15m. The 6m intercept revealed in March included a 1m section at a staggering 28,831ppm TREO from 62m.


These results tick another important box as we advance our project, confirming mineralisation continuity between drill holes. Other highlights achieved this year include the many high grade, thick intersections of REE mineralisation at Mia, a projected grade upgrade of approximately 160% through screening of Mia samples, and the efficacy of HCl to leach REE’s into solution. Mount Ridley Mines chairman Peter Christie

The company has completed a total of 1185 AC holes at the project through 50,000m since March last year. Additionally, 20 diamond drillholes were sunk in December for a total of 961.5m of core used for metallurgical testwork.


Testing at the Mount Ridley project has shown that 80 per cent of the TREO at the operation are contained within 50 per cent of the sample mass. The company says the barren portion of the sample can be rejected using simple screening techniques at 75 microns.


Results show an average grade increase of 164 per cent using samples from its Mia and Jody prospects, while samples from Mount Ridley’s Vincent target returned a maximum upgrade of 202 per cent.


The Mount Ridley project was initially acquired by the company for its nickel and copper sulphide potential. However, that all changed when it re-analysed 1108 samples from previous AC work and found more than half the samples contained significantly elevated levels of clay-based rare earths that are considered critical to the low-carbon energy movement.


Clay-based rare earths, as opposed to hard rock-based rare earths, have rapidly become a thing during the past two years – a theme largely led by a small army of explorers around the Esperance region who have unearthed massive-scale deposits in clays.


Management already has its eyes on further exploration at the Mount Ridley site, with the Department of Mining, Industry Regulation and Safety giving the green light to drill up to 9km north and 10km south of the central Mia prospect.


Assays from fresh targets away from previously identified mineralisation are still pending from the company’s latest drill campaign. So, watch this space.


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