After completing desktop studies and an initial site visit, Auroch Minerals has hit the go button on a rare earths exploration program at its Arden project in South Australia. The campaign comes after a review of high-resolution airborne magnetic data that underlined a pair of compelling prospects, Hawker and Kanyaka.
Arden was initially flagged as a predominantly zinc and copper-focused operation and success at the site could turn the asset into a lucrative multi-commodity play.
The company says the data review highlights the prospectivity of the two sites because of the target’s covered mafic diapirs and diapiric breccias – geologic structures that are considered key sources of rare earths mineralisation.
Management believes one of the prospects, Kanyaka is prospective for both copper and rare earths. Rock chip analysis from samples bagged along shallow workings and historic trenches at the target in 2018 through up a raft of notable results including 1330.59 parts per million, 556.54 ppm and 388.99 ppm total rare earths oxides, or “TREO”.
The other prospect, Hawker could host the lucrative shallow ionic adsorption clay, or “IAC”-style rare earths mineralisation.
At present there are only a few Australian-based companies with IAC-style assets on their books. The deposits have sparked interest because of the similarity to some of the leading Chinese deposits that are responsible for more than two-thirds of the global supply. The deposits are seen as a major source of permanent magnet minerals and are cheaper to mine, involve lower processing costs and promote shorter mine-to-market opportunities.
Auroch says it got a whiff of Hawker’s potential after ASX-listed Taruga Minerals defined the material in a recent drill campaign at its Morgan’s Creek operation about 25km to the west.
Earlier this year Taruga delivered a suite of notable intercepts running up to 27m wide and 1050 ppm TREO.
The signs were promising given Hawker is believed to be sitting in a similar geological setting as Morgan’s Creek.
The exploration upside of the Arden project continues to grow. In addition to the potential for significant base-metals mineralisation, in particularly zinc and copper, we have now recognised the project’s potential to host significant REE mineralisation.
The company is now gearing up to run soil sampling programs at both prospects over the next few months.
Management says due to the lack of previous geochemical data acquired across the zones a systematic program will be completed to define anomalous trends that run along the ground’s tenure.
The new data will be used alongside the previously acquired geophysical data to draw up a list of drill targets for a first-pass drill program.
Auroch will also re-assess historic specimens to test the samples for rare earths mineralisation.
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