Australian heavy rare earths developer, Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU) has started exploration drilling work at its Browns Range project, with about 5,000 metres planned. The renewed exploration push follows the construction of the pilot plant at Browns Range, which is set to become the only dysprosium-producing operation outside of China. The company has set a target of defining sufficient ore for the operation to have a mine life in excess of 20 years, up from the current 11 years for a full-scale project at Browns Range.
- Reverse Circulation (RC) exploration drilling program has commenced
- Program consists of approximately 5,000m, targeting seven prospects
- Exploration program designed to increase potential mine life of full scale Browns Range Project from 11 years to 20+ years
Australian heavy rare earths producer Northern Minerals Limited (ASX: NTU) (the Company) is pleased to announce that exploration drilling has recommenced at Browns Range, with approximately 5,000 metres planned.
The renewed exploration push follows the construction of the Browns Range Pilot Plant Project, soon to be the only dysprosium producing operation outside China.
As part of the Pilot Plant Project, which is designed to assess the technical and economic feasibility of the proposed full-scale operation, the Company has set a target of defining sufficient ore for the operation to have a mine life in excess of 20 years, up from the current 11 years for a full-scale project at Browns Range.
In this context, the Company has prioritised exploration targets for assessment during the Pilot Plant Project. The first program will assess the Banshee South, Dazzler, Gambit East and Polaris prospects, all identified during earlier drilling campaigns, while the Iceman prospect will be drill tested for the first time (see figure below). First-pass drilling will also take place, along strike to the west of the Wolverine and Gambit West deposits, both of which underwent trial mining in late 2017.
Drilling has initially commenced at the Banshee South prospect, following up on two exploration holes drilled there in December 2016, with one of those holes returning 4m @ 1.5% TREO from 5m. The drilling program is expected to take approximately four weeks to complete, with results towards the end of the September quarter.
Commenting on the renewed exploration push, Managing Director and CEO, George Bauk, said “In reality, we have hardly scratched the surface at Browns Range, with the vast majority of the tenement package yet to be assessed.
“With the processing plant now moving into the operational phase, we are excited to be back on the ground, identifying new deposits and adding value for Northern Minerals’ shareholders.”