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White Cliff rare earth hits spark geological jigsaw puzzle

While White Cliff Minerals is encouraged by results from the first look at its Hines Hill rare earths project 200km east of Perth. Mother Nature is still holding out on the geological origins of the exciting rare earth oxide anomalies that have been showing up in field work at the project and White Cliff will now get stuck into more geochemical sampling ahead of its first air core drilling program.

The company just completed a reconnaissance soil sampling program as part of a first-pass field trip covering the 128 square kilometre tenement in WA’s wheatbelt. The exploration crew took away 81 roadside soil, rock chip and laterite samples of which White Cliff said 11 showed highly anomalous rare earths results above 300ppm total rare earth oxides or “TREO”, with a peak value of 550ppm TREO.

The roadside soil sampling was across two magnetic features tentatively interpreted as carbonatite intrusives, a major source of rare earth deposits around the world, although the company noted they may also represent differential non-carbonatite intrusives.

The secondary source target is clay hosted rare earths from supergene enrichment within the lateritic profile over the granite.

White Cliff said the high rare earth results from the sampling program also correspond precisely with the magnetic features identified in the northeast and the southwest, strongly suggesting the two features are directly related.

Clearly, we have work to do, as it is still unclear the precise source of the exciting rare earths results. Australian Rare Earths recently signed a JV at Woolgangie 200km to the east of us, specifically targeting clay hosted rare earths sourced from the underlying rocks and supergene enriched by the lateritic process.

The early indications from Hines Hill may indicate similar geological conditions and sources for the rare earths.

The Hines Hill project is just one arrow in the White Cliff quiver. It recently added to its WA-focused battery-metals portfolio after sealing a binding agreement to acquire explorer Abraxis Mining and its trio of adjacent tenement applications in the Pilbara and considered highly prospective for lithium.

White Cliff says much of its new tenure is considered prospective for lithium-bearing pegmatites; however, it remains largely underexplored.

On the flip side, the company has been rationalising its asset base. Only a few weeks ago White Cliff decided to offload its non-core Coronation Dam and Ghan Well nickel-cobalt projects in Western Australia, reinforcing its strategy of focusing in on its wholly-owned battery metals and rare earths projects.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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