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Venus secures rare earths drill funding for Marvel Loch East

Updated: Apr 17

Venus Metals Corporation has its eye on several drill targets at its Marvel Loch East rare earths project. Credit: File

Venus Metals Corporation has gained a boost to exploration plans for its Marvel Loch East rare earths project after its subsidiary Redscope Enterprises scored a co-funded drilling grant from the WA Government.

The Exploration Incentive Scheme funding will contribute 50 per cent of the direct drilling and mobilisation costs, with Redscope successfully applying for a maximum amount of $157,500 to explore the project near the town of Southern Cross, in Western Australia’s Central Wheatbelt.

Just last month, Venus identified high-priority drill targets for clay-hosted and fresh-rock rare earths mineralisation within a 25km-long magnetic trend and a 2.5km-by-3km zoned magnetic anomaly, following a successful aeromagnetic and radiometric survey.

The co-funded drilling program will comprise air-core, diamond and RC programs aimed at testing rare earths-enriched monzogranite at depth and the potential for clay-hosted rare earths mineralisation near surface using the survey data for targeting.

The funding program is a WA Government initiative that aims to encourage local exploration for the long-term sustainability of the State’s resources sector. A total of 40 applications were successful from 35 different companies, in addition to a single prospector application.

In September, soil and laterite sampling at Marvel Loch East produced impressive results, including one sample grading an eye-catching 6092 parts per million total rare earths oxides (TREO).

The company recently collected 38 rock-chip samples and 93 historical drill-spoil samples from its operation, with one spoil sample recording a grade of more than 3000ppm TREO.

Venus technicians have analysed both the company’s own samples and others from historical Geological Survey of Western Australia work, with results showing rare earths anomalies in soil, laterite and rock chips along a 25km strike length.

Assay highlights from samples in the eastern target area of the project include the 4365ppm TREO result, while the western target returned samples of up to 2292ppm TREO.

Venus says the results suggest the presence of rare earths-rich bedrock associated with prominent magnetic features. One sample found on and adjacent to the bedrock recorded more than 700ppm neodymium oxide, while several others tested above 700ppm TREO.

The company says it is planning shallow air-core drilling to test areas of deep weathering and preserved regolith for clay-hosted rare earths mineralisation. RC drilling is planned to test the monzogranite for potential enriched zones of bedrock-hosted rare earths mineralisation, which may be associated with stronger magnetic responses based on the results of the current aeromagnetic survey.

Clay samples were taken from historical drill spoil across the northern part of the target area at Marvel Loch East and have been submitted for diagnostic metallurgical tests. Clay-hosted rare earths deposits are highly sought-after due to the relatively cost-effective and quick extraction processes.

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