Aussie explorer’s promising rare earths encounter in WA

Thu 01 Jun 23, 11:28am (AEDT)
Galena mineral

Key Points

  • Horseshoe Prospect in southwest WA borders other projects operated by IGO and Chalice Mining
  • Further field checking and rock chip sampling is underway
  • Potential nickel-copper-PGM and lithium deposits are also targeted

Soil testing conducted by Impact Minerals (ASX: IPT) has uncovered a large area rich in both heavy and light rare earths elements (REE) in southwest Western Australia.

Dubbed the Horseshoe Prospect, initial testing in the 10km long, 2000m wide area suggests the “intrusion” of felsic and alkaline/carbonatite minerals has come into contact with surrounding rocks. This intrusion may have originated from deeper within the Earth and moved along a major fault line.

For context, felsic, or feldspar, minerals are among the world’s most abundant, containing varying amounts of potassium, sodium and calcium. 

Carbonatites are igneous rocks that consist largely of the carbonate minerals calcite and dolomite. They sometimes also contain rare-earth ore minerals including bastnaesite, parisite, monazite, and niobium.

Further field testing and rock chip sampling is now required to help determine drill sites.

Mike Jones, managing director of Impact Minerals, is excited by the new prospect, emphasising its prime location near a major fault zone.

The Horseshoe Prospect is also adjacent to IGO's (ASX: IGO) Greenbushes lithium and Chalice Mining's (ASX: CHN) Julimar nickel-copper-PGE projects.

“Horseshoe is just one of numerous REE anomalies we have identified in roadside sampling, and so we look forward to further results from infill soil surveys that are underway,” Jones said.

“This and other recent discoveries in the region suggest that southwest Western Australia could also become an REE province like the Gascoyne Province and the Albany-Fraser Belt near Esperance."

Further soil geochemical testing is also underway to determine the presence of nickel-copper-PGM and lithium deposits.

Impact Minerals

Next steps

Due to begin next quarter, follow-up work will include field checking and rock chip sampling. Previous soil geochemistry sampling has indicated other REE sampling, which has not yet been thoroughly investigated. 

Follow-up surveys are underway, with the planned collection of 1,000 soil samples for testing. Additionally, other regions that show potential for nickel-copper-PGM (platinum group metals) and lithium mineralisation are also being targeted for investigation. The results of these surveys are expected to be available in the next quarter.

In addition, ground-penetrating radar surveys have been conducted at the Arkun-Jumbo-Beau project. The data collected from this survey is currently being interpreted, with the specific aim of identifying lithium deposits.

A collaboration with SensOre (S3N) is also helping to create “prospectivity mapping” for both nickel and lithium deposits. SensOre applies artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to analyse large datasets and predict potential locations for mineral deposits.

Once all the above data is synthesised to identify sites, initial drilling is expected to begin in late 2023 or early 2024.

Written By

Glenn Freeman

Content Editor

Glenn is a Content Editor at Livewire Markets and Market Index. Glenn has almost 20 years’ experience in financial services writing and editing. Glenn’s journalistic experience also spans energy and automotive, in both Australia and abroad – including the Middle East – where he edited an oil and gas publication in the United Arab Emirates.

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