01/09/2020 - 14:22

Northern Minerals set to drill at Browns Range

01/09/2020 - 14:22

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Heavy rare earth explorer and developer Northern Minerals is gearing up to hunt for Dazzler lookalikes having set aside $5 million for exploration and development drilling at the company’s Browns Range project in the Kimberley. Drill rigs are expected onsite in October and results will feed into an updated feasibility study. The resulting document could well be the precursor to Northern Minerals emerging as the first supplier of heavy rare earths outside China.

Drilling at Browns Range. Credit: Northern Minerals.

Heavy rare earth explorer and developer Northern Minerals is gearing up to hunt for Dazzler lookalikes having set aside $5 million for exploration and development drilling at the company’s Browns Range project in the Kimberley. Drill rigs are expected onsite in October and results will feed into an updated feasibility study. The resulting document could well be the precursor to Northern Minerals emerging as the first supplier of heavy rare earths outside China.

A total of 16,500 metres of drilling is planned to follow up previous drilling at the Dazzler and Banshee deposits, according to the company.

Spectacular drilling intercepts from Dazzler have previously hit up to ten times the total Browns Range project resource grade, including 19m grading 6.05 per cent total rare earth oxides, or (TREO), 21m grading 7.71 per cent TREO and 52m grading 4.15 per cent TREO.

The Browns Range project currently includes seven mineral resource projects containing high-value dysprosium and other heavy rare earth minerals with an open pit and underground probable ore reserve of 3.29 million tonnes of total TREO grading 6.78 kilograms per tonne for over 22.3 million tonnes TREO.

Northern Minerals CEO, Mark Tory said:

“This significant commitment to exploration in the next 12 months will underpin the company’s ongoing ambition to realise the potential of Browns Range beyond the pilot plant project, which if successful would create significantly greater opportunities for the company, the state and Australia in the global context of producing these critical, strategic minerals within our borders.”

Northern Minerals’ pilot plant commenced production of heavy rare earth carbonate in 2018 and the company expects to take the plant to capacity this year. It said beneficiation test work is continuing and hydrometallurgical plant test work should kick off later this year.

The company is the only producer to have exported a commercial shipment of heavy rare earth carbonate outside of China.

Heavy rare earths are used in military applications and the production of clean energy for electric vehicles. China currently dominates the supply for these critical minerals, supplying 98 per cent of the global market.

Perth-based Northern Minerals holds the most advanced heavy rare earth project in the world and is set to provide the United States and Australia with the security of supply as concerns arise around the reliability of supply from China. The US and Australian Governments have recently formed a “Critical Minerals Taskforce” to identify and develop new heavy rare earths opportunities.

Northern Minerals said it has also sourced equipment for an ore-sorting system, which uses x-ray transmission to concentrate mineralisation in the beneficiation circuit by selecting the heavy rare earths and rejecting waste using x-ray radiation. The company previously said its trials identified the potential to double the grade of the feed into the mill.

Northern’s balance sheet is set for a cash injection courtesy of a near $10 million refund from the ATO following the company’s successful settlement agreement for its research and development claims.

The ATO will provide the funds to Northern Minerals in mid-September, and with drill rigs soon to follow, the company should be in a good position to evaluate the commercial viability of a full-scale mining operation at Browns Range.

 

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

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options