Meeka Metals launches drills at WA’s Circle Valley to form rare earth JORC

Wed 25 Jan 23, 1:20pm (AEST)
A gloved hand in an outback setting reminiscent of a geologist holds some kind of illustrious rock
Source: iStock

Key Points

  • Meeka is dead set on turning its Circle Valley Gold Project into a dual rare earths play
  • Once current campaign winds up, Meeka will move straight to infill drilling
  • A recent research note from Macquarie showed the prices of high-value rare earths neodymium-praseodymium continue to rise

WA-based junior polymetals explorer Meeka Metals (ASX:MEK) confirmed it has commenced resource definition drilling at its WA-based Circle Valley Rare Earth Element (REE) Project on Wednesday. 

The move to early 2023 drilling remains on-schedule with a plan first announced back in September 2022, when the company first hit rare earths on-site. 

Circle Valley was originally envisioned as a gold project, but in what is a familiar trend for many ASX-listed explorers in recent years, the company quickly pivoted to critical minerals as prices continue to rise.

“Confidence to advance our rare earth projects to the Mineral Resource development stage is bolstered by the positive results from our ongoing metallurgical test program…[showing] the mineralisation can be upgraded using low cost and simple processes,” Meeka boss Tim Davidson said. 

Gold potential

The company has found shallow mid-grade gold at Circle Valley in the past.

“We will commence extensional drilling at Anomaly A in the coming weeks, where broad zones of high-grade gold were intersected during 2022,” Davidson added.

Case in point with a view to REE pivots, though: Meeka found high-value rare earth scandium on-site at Circle Valley in September of last year, which in June 2022, was trading at A$1.49m a tonne and US$1,000/kg. 

It also found high-value magnetic rare earths. 

NdPr potential 

In a recent research note, Macquarie Bank noted that prices for high value magnet rare earths in particular—namely neodymium-praseodymium (NdPR)—were continuing to rise through early 2023. The bank’s analyst team expect this to continue. 

“Results received in 2022 show a shallowing cover profile to the northwest at Circle Valley, corresponding with a +1,000ppm high-grade component of the rare earth mineralisation, rich in NdPr magnet rare earth elements,” Meeka boss Tim Davidson said. 

Infill drilling for March 

The company will move ahead with infill drilling in March after this current drill run, with an initial REE mineral resource for circle valley expected to be published “for the June 2023 quarter.”

It’s easy to see why. Meeka cites research from analyst house Argus predicting a supply deficit of all Magnet Rare Earth Oxides (MREOs) by 2031 that would take out 31% of global supply. 

Approximately 650kg of NdPr is used in wind turbine engines, too, regarding which Meeka highlighted research suggesting wind power projects will continue rising globally into 2030.

MEK's one year charts
MEK's one year charts


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Written By

Jonathon Davidson

Finance Writer

Jonathon is a journalism graduate and avid market watcher with exposure to governance, NGO and mining environments. He was most recently hired as an oil and gas specialist for a trade publication.

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