Northern nails heavy rare earths resource upgrade

Local heavy rare earths producer, Northern Minerals, has upgraded the mineral resource estimate for its Dazzler deposit in the Kimberley region of WA by 50 per cent to 214,000 tonnes and delivered a small uplift in grade to 2.33 per cent total rare earth oxides, or “TREO”.  The company said Dazzler is now the second largest deposit at its Browns Range heavy rare earths project behind the Wolverine resource.

Northern Minerals said its resource upgrade at Dazzler comes on the back of a maiden resource estimate just over a year ago and it underlines the potential value of the deposits that surround the Browns Range pilot plant.  Dazzler is only 15kms from the plant and several recently reported RC and diamond drill hole assay results have now been integrated by Northern’s technical team to deliver the upgraded resource.

The latest inferred mineral resource estimate for Dazzler comprises 5,000,000kg of TREO using a cut-off grade of 0.15per cent TREO. The TREO grade of 2.33 per cent includes 2.17kg/t dysprosium oxide, 13.93kg/t yttrium oxide and 0.29kg/t terbium oxide.

Most importantly, the company said the deposit contains a very high proportion of heavy rare earths, over 95 per cent, including 2,170ppm dysprosium which compares favourably with the Wolverine deposit that contains only 750ppm dysprosium.

Dysprosium, which is only currently mined in China, is utilised in the manufacture of magnets used in commercial scale electric motors, particularly for clean energy generation. 

Northern is now in the second year of its pilot plant project at Browns Range as it looks to include the larger resource at Dazzler in its technical and economic feasibility study for a larger scale development of its 100 per cent-owned Browns Range project.

Northern Minerals Managing Director and CEO, George Bauk said: “We are extremely pleased with the growth of the Dazzler resource in a short period of time.  This is a significant increase in high-grade tonnes for the project and highlights the potential of this style of mineralisation.  We look forward to getting back on the ground in the future to further test extensions of Dazzler, as well as other unconformity-related targets.”

The company looks to be pushing all the right buttons as it homes in on a larger scale operation, coming on the back of the recent solid drill results at Dazzler, where one hole returned 15m grading 2.72 per cent total rare earth oxides from just 20m down hole.

Northern’s strategy at Browns Range is to prove up the metallurgy, processing flow sheet and economics in the pilot plant ahead of a decision to build a full scale plant that is some ten times larger – improving the resource at Dazzler by 50% will no doubt add to the economics of the full scale plant.


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