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OD6 hails “pre-eminent” rare earths project at Splinter Rock

Updated: Apr 18

OD6 Metals has teamed up with the CSIRO for a detailed interpretation of its Splinter Rock project. Credit: File

OD6 Metals says its Splinter Rock project is emerging as Australia’s “pre-eminent” clay rare earths site after a new airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey identified significant extensions and new prospects to explore.

Teaming with the nation’s science agency, the CSIRO, the company says it applied machine-learning technology and 3D modelling to create a greater interpretation of the AEM data and help prioritise target areas. It led to new targets at the untested north-east basin that have been dubbed the “Tighthead” and “Loosehead” prospects, which cover an area of about 135 square kilometres at a greater than 40m thickness.

The new data interpretation has also expanded OD6’s Centre prospect basin area from 136sq km up to 154sq km at more than 40m thickness, including large zones between 60m and 80m thick.

Earlier this year, the Esperance explorer revealed a maiden mineral resource estimate at Splinter Rock of 344 million tonnes at 1308 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO), which includes 149 million tonnes at 1423ppm TREO at its stand-out Centre prospect. Just last week, the company appeared on track for a substantial resource upgrade at its flagship operation after recording high grades of up to 6441ppm TREO from a third drilling phase.

A remarkable 77 per cent of holes drilled in the latest campaign produced results of more than 1000ppm TREO, with thickness up to 77m. The company has today revealed results that include a peak 3m hit going 6441ppm TREO from 39m, while the widest intercept was a 77m section grading 1429ppm TREO from 18m.

With new clay-basins identified and more accurate estimates of our defined basin areas, the Splinter Rock clay REE is emergent as the pre-eminent clay REE project in Australia. We are particularly excited about the extensions to our existing Prospects, but also the newly identified basins which significantly add to our already impressive scale. OD6 Metals managing director Brett Hazelden

Management says a deep, wide clay channel extensional to the southern end of the resource has returned grades greater than 1400ppm TREO and creates strong potential for the substantial resource upgrade. Assay highlights include a 58m section grading 2060ppm from just 21m and a 24m intercept going 2379ppm from 18m.

Splinter Rock is about 150km north-east of Esperance and comprises six exploration licences. OD6 also holds the Grass Patch project about 100km north-west of Esperance, with a tenement area of more than 2200sq km.

Management says the value of magnetic rare earth oxides (MREO) represents an average of 23 per cent of the TREO grade and it has also confirmed clay-based rare earths across a 14km-by-5km zone at its Centre prospect. Magnet rare earths include neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium – all elements that are critical for the manufacture of industrial magnets used in electric vehicle engines.

OD6 is currently working on the heritage and environmental survey clearance required to kick off a fourth phase of drilling. It includes getting permit-of-work approval from the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.

The scale of the company’s operation just keeps getting bigger and management seems to have the right ethic to get about exploring it.

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