Mt. Ridley grows REE acreage to 1,200km² on latest drill results; 50,000m campaign starts this month

Thu 06 Oct 22, 2:33pm (AEST)
A road stretching to the horizon in the Australian outback beneath a blue sky
Source: Unsplash

Key Points

  • Rare Earth Element (REE) mineralisation identified at 9 prospects within 20km radius from project centre, equalling a 1,200km² footprint
  • 50,000m drill campaign is planned to start this month; today the company reports its strongest REE assay results
  • Testwork from ANSTO laboratory pending

Mount Ridley Mines’ (ASX:MRD) share price is up 20% in mid-afternoon trades to 0.006c (read: a sixth of a cent) as the company unveils its strongest early-stage REE results hit in drilling yet; as well as a significant expansion of its project footprint. 

Today, Mt. Ridley makes the impressive boast that it has grown its project footprint to an impressive 1,200km² footprint. That calculation comes by way of a circular radius from the centre of the project expanded to 20km. 

That measurement comes on the back of strong REE results at nine known prospects on-site. Company geotechs believe mineralisation remains open in all directions up to that 20km mark. 

Worth noting is that later this month, the company will embark on a 50,000m drilling campaign (in terms of core collected) for which it is funded up to $6m.

The lion’s share of that campaign will focus on extensional and infill drilling, though another 1,000m of fresh diamond drilling is planned. Diamond drill cores will be used to progress metallurgical testing on Mt. Ridley’s REE materials. 

Currently, Australia’s nuclear regulator ANSTO is set to return its first batch of metallurgy results back to the company, too. ANSTO is tasked with doing all REE testwork, given that REEs tend to coincide with radioactive materials like monazite and thorium underground. 

 What is Mount Ridley reporting? 

The company highlights assay results from four drill holes in particular. 

Companies reporting Rare Earths projects tend to clump trace elements into parts per million (ppm) divisions, with Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO) often the going term to capture a number of metals. 

Mount Ridley flags: 

  • 23m @ 0.36% TREO from 6m depth 

  • 15m @ 0.21% TREO from 15m depth 

  • 47m @ 0.15% TREO from 33m depth 

  • 12m @ 0.21% TREO from 45m depth 

On an average weighted basis per interval sample (including those not included in the quadrette highlighted above,) the company states average magnet REO (MREO) quantity sits at 26%. 

MREOs include minerals like neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium. 

Worth noting is that high-value Neodymiun-Praseodymium (NdPr) magnetic material can thus be found at relatively shallow depths under 50m on-site. 

NdPr prices have been rising for a decade and continued to remain robust through the first two years of covid. 

The price rise is due to the metals' inclusion in EV batteries and, what may be lesser known on household investing radars, wind turbines. Over 600kg of rare earth elements are needed for each wind turbine brought online. This list of applications is not exhaustive. 

Results inspire confidence: management 

“With over 90% of assays now received, the regional drilling programme has been an outstanding success in demonstrating widespread clay hosted REE mineralisation throughout the entire project area,” company chair Peter Christie said. 

“We are very encouraged by these results with new higher grade and thicker intersections at shallower depths.” 

“These results give us confidence to commit to a substantial drilling programme, with more than 50,000m of drilling commencing later in October.” 

The $6m in funding to support the exploration run comes by way of an “underwritten options exercise” which triggers in November. The company currently has a market cap of $35m. 

Watch for sharp edges: a look at Mount Ridley's three month charts
Watch for sharp edges: a look at Mount Ridley's three month 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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