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“Unrivalled”: ABx Group reveals eye-catching rare earths grades

Updated: Mar 21

An ABx Group drill rig at its Tasmanian project. Credit: File

ABx Group has unearthed rare earths grades it believes are “unrivalled” in Australia at its Deep Leads-Rubble Mound prospect in Tasmania, with an eye-watering result of 17,333 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO).

The company recently drilled a hole that nailed a swag of birdies in one shot on the same green during an 18-hole program covering a small area measuring about 1km-by-2km at the north end of the prospect. It today revealed a succession of high-grade TREO results from 1m sample intervals between 2m and the end-of-hole at 9m going 6719ppm TREO, 17,333ppm, 12,894ppm, 4817ppm, 4285ppm, 2078ppm and 2617ppm, respectively.

Management says the small program was designed to explore an area about 2km west of a hole that yielded its previous best assay results, with values from between 5m and 10m running 1222ppm TREO, 1723ppm, 4444ppm, 3269ppm and 1408ppm, respectively.

The company says the new hole (RM336) contains extraordinarily high grades of the two most critical rare earths, with dysprosium oxide up to up to 819ppm and terbium oxide up to 138ppm. It notes that its rare earths discoveries in Tasmania to date have all been heavily enriched in both elements.

“Hole RM336 is our most enriched intercept to date, with grades that I believe are unrivalled in Australia. These latest results have confirmed that ABx’s exploration technology is unravelling the genesis of this unique rare earths resource and leading us to the richer, thicker rare earths mineralisation.” ABx Group managing director and chief executive officer Mark Cooksey

The company’s latest results from the new hole are up to four times higher in grade than its previous highest grades. But both sets of results have given its exploration group reason to believe it might be on top of another high-grade zone to complement others already identified, such as at Deep Leads-Rubble Mound and Windbreak.

ABx’s latest revelation comes just a day after the company revealed it had been granted two big exploration licences (ELs) to secure the southern extensions of its recent Portrush discovery that gave up a result of 4812ppm TREO in one hole.

Management also noted that it is still awaiting the grant of its current exploration licence application to cover the 16km extension between its Deep Leads-Rubble Mound project to its recent Wind Break discovery area. Once secured, it will expand the rare earths target area from 35 square kilometres to more than 100sq km.

Additionally, the hit in the latest hole may indicate that mineralisation might trend westwards and deeper into the company’s newly-secured ground.

ABx has outlined plans to test its ionic-adsorption clay rare earths deposits using a push-tube core drilling method for reasons of mobility, speed, economy and minimal sample disturbance. It may also extend its drilling programs at the tenements based on results.

The company says it is in the process of updating its resource estimations and hopes to identify the high-grade thick zones within its widespread deposit to better plan follow-up targets.

Additionally, management is exploring appropriate extraction methods for the deposits and working to establish an optimal balance between recovery and environmentally and economically acceptable leaching methods and reagents.

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