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New WA rare earths potential emerges for Venture Minerals

Updated: Mar 24

Venture Minerals drilling at its Brothers project. Credit: File

Drilling and geophysical surveys at Venture Minerals’ new Jupiter prospect in Western Australia’s Mid West region has revealed the strong possibility it may contain a clay-hosted and deep intrusive rare earths resource that warrants early follow-up drilling.

The diversified metals explorer says results from its first batch of 1m split samples from reconnaissance air-core (AC) drilling at Jupiter include a hole which yielded an intercept of 28m at 2246 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO). The hit included 23 per cent magnet rare earth oxides (MREO) from 37m to end-of-hole, with 11m running 3008ppm TREO (23 per cent MREO) from 41m.

While other 1m split samples from Jupiter drilling are pending, the company says intersections based on initial 5m composite samples also indicate broad zones of high-tenor, clay-hosted rare earths mineralisation.

They include one hole yielding 40m at 1832ppm TREO (24 per cent MREO) from 25m to end-of-hole, including 10m at 2725ppm TREO (22 per cent MREO) from 30m, and a second hole showing 42m at 1619ppm TREO (25 per cent MREO) from 5m to end-of-hole, including 10m at 2595ppm TREO (26 per cent MREO) from 30m.

MREO are a subcategory of high-value rare earths commonly used in the fabrication of high operating temperature neodymium-iron-boron permanent magnets that are notable for their durability and strength. They predominantly include neodymium and praseodymium, which are termed “light” rare earths, and terbium and dysprosium, which are referred to as “heavy” rare earths.

The recent exploration work at Jupiter suggests that Venture has the makings of an exceptional rare earths project, capable of delivering a large-scale, high-grade, clay-hosted rare earth resource in a short period of time. Being located in Western Australia with excellent access to infrastructure as well as existing and planned rare earth processing facilities are additional benefits. Venture Minerals managing director Andrew Radonjic

The company’s work shows the Jupiter target to be a distinctive, oval-shaped, north-east/south-west-trending 40-square-kilometre area of elevated magnetic and gravity geophysical responses. It contrasts sharply with the surrounding terrain and is currently interpreted to represent a deeply-weathered alkaline intrusion.

Results from previously-revealed reconnaissance AC drilling through the geophysical anomaly indicates it correlates strongly with broad widths of near-surface, high-grade TREO.

The Jupiter prospect is part of Venture’s Brothers rare earths project, about 75km south-west of the regional WA town of Mt. Magnet. It also straddles the bitumen Geraldton–Mount Magnet Road and gas pipeline to the major port of Geraldton, 300km to the west.

Importantly, Brothers is only about 250km from Iluka Resources’ Eneabba rare earths refinery, which is scheduled to be in production in 2025. In addition, it is only about 520km from the Mount Weld concentrator operated by Lynas Rare Earths.

With both Iluka and Lynas having established close alignment and collaborative ties with the Australian Government in respect to their rare earths businesses and the Commonwealth’s Critical Minerals Strategy, Venture views its Brothers project as being well situated in the event that it advances to mine development.

Management says recent exploration at Brothers has seen it meet its expenditure requirements for the first stage of its Iron Duke joint venture with Sentinel Exploration on the ground at Jupiter. It has already earned a 51 per cent interest in the prospect and is now moving to the second stage of the earn-in by spending a further $500,000 within the next 24 months to secure a 70 per cent interest in the two tenements.

The company is now planning its next stage of work which will include a short reverse-circulation (RC) drilling program to collect material for metallurgical testwork and to assess the rare earths potential of the inferred alkaline Jupiter intrusion lying beneath the identified shallow rare earths mineralisation.

If the RC drilling resolves the relationship between the deep intrusive and the shallow, clay-hosted rare earths mineralisation, Venture anticipates following up with extensive shallow drilling of the clays, with a view to delivering a maiden resource within the next two to three months.

It looks like a tight timeline, but it should be achievable if Venture can nail the above resolution. And if the intrusive is indeed the source of the shallow rare earths, who knows what it may contain?

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