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“World record”: Viridis Mining hails Brazil rare earths recoveries

Viridis Mining & Minerals’ Colossus rare earths project in Brazil. Credit: File

Viridis Mining & Minerals (ASX: VMM) has banked what it says are “world-record” rare earths recoveries as high as 67 per cent in maiden bulk composite metallurgical testing of clays from its Colossus project in Brazil.

The company says the average recovery rates of critical magnetic rare earths – neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), dysprosium (Dy) and terbium (Tb) – at all four of its concessions have outperformed every publicly-known clay-hosted rare earths prospect and deposit globally that has conducted similar bulk tests.

And in addition to the superior recoveries, management says the northern concessions of Colossus have outperformed all other global clay-absorption projects in all aspects, including head grade, magnet rare earths content and overall Dy and Tb recovery, while showing negligible radioactive element recovery.

Colossus is comprised of four concessions – the northern concessions, Cupim South, Capão da Onça and Ribeirão. The peak average Nd and Pr recovery of 67 per cent was from the Cupim South concession and the northern concessions were not far behind, throwing up 63 per cent average recovery for the same elements.

Capão da Onça and Ribeirão also put up some solid Nd and Pr recoveries, with both prospects averaging 59 per cent.

The average Dy and Tb recoveries peaked at 65 per cent from the northern concessions. Cupim south threw up Dy and Tb recoveries averaging 53 per cent, while Capão da Onça and Ribeirão went 59 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively.

This positions Colossus as one of the leading projects worldwide for Nd, Pr, Dy, and Tb recovery using simple, effective extraction. Our Northern Concessions continue to demonstrate why they remain the foundation for building Colossus into the premier ionic adsorption clay (‘IAC’) deposit globally.
Viridis Mining & Minerals chief executive officer Rafael Moreno

Moreno said the company would now follow up with ANSTO (the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation) to identify spot locations of significantly higher recoveries through metre-by-metre drillhole testing to support its mine planning and overall development strategy.

The metallurgic testing program was carried out using 91 bulk composites weighing about 100kg and formed from 37 separate holes drilled across Colossus. Management says the superior recoveries were achieved using a standard ammonium sulphate test at a pH of 4, at room temperature in a 30-minute leach cycle.

The latest head-turning results are in line with others previously presented by ANSTO, which also show negligible uranium and thorium contents in the final product.

Viridis says it is taking aim at the northern concessions for its initial production facility, with drilling progressing alongside environmental permitting, while resource modelling and scoping studies mature for the project. Earlier this month, the company reported an eye-watering drill intercept from step-out drilling at Colossus that confirmed two new discoveries in separate areas of the massive alkaline complex.

Assays from the Tamoyo discovery went as high as a whopping 27,087 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO) in a 1m thick interval that sat within a thicker 15m section grading 6153ppm TREO. That hit adds significant exploration upside to the Colossus project, which has now also shown its solid down-stream potential.

Tamoyo already has a mining licence, which will expedite near-term production if sufficient mineralisation is discovered within the area.

The second new discovery at the Centro Sul prospect returned hits of 22m going 2848ppm TREO with 10.5m at 3929ppm containing 31 per cent of the highly-valuable magnet rare earths. Notably, Centro Sul adjoins Meteoric Resources’ JORC-compliant Soberbo resource of 92 million tonnes grading 2948ppm TREO.

Viridis’ Brazilian ground has shown its world-class potential with huge recoveries from Colossus. With today’s news confirming that the clays at Colossus can be unlocked to give up their precious load, one wonders just how big the project may be with step-out drilling unlocking more and more pay.

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