Taruga Minerals (ASX:TAR) reports it has received an ‘exceptional’ second batch of key assays from rare earth (REE) focused drilling at the Morgans Creek Prospect, located within the Mt Craig Project in South Australia.
The drilling program consisted of 2,156m RAB drilling over 59 drillholes, focused on testing strike extensions of the clay-hosted REE mineralisation intercepted at Hydrothermal Hill in 2021 in weathered Yednalue quartzite.
The company states drilling intercepted ‘high-grade’ clay-hosted REEs from surface, with many holes ending in mineralisation, and the latest results have extended the strike at the Hydrothermal Hill Prospect to 4.3km with an additional 1.1km of strike remaining untested.
“These new results increase the mineralised strike at Morgans Creek from 1.4km to 4.3km”
Taruga CEO Thomas Line said these are remarkable intercepts, and are the highest the company has seen at Morgans Creek to date, with the highest grade exceeding 9,000ppm TREO.
“Many of the intercepts start from surface and end in mineralisation with some holes ending in high-grade.
“These new results increase the mineralised strike at Morgans Creek from 1.4km to 4.3km.
“We are excited to return to complete systematic drilling over the Yednalue formation and other new clay-hosted REE targets at Morgans Creek early in Q1 2023.
“We completed metallurgical proxy testwork on REE intercepts at Morgans Creek early in 2022.
“These results showed a high proportion of readily soluble REEs were extractable in a weak acid solution, supporting a low cost and simple metallurgical flowsheet consistent with ionically and colloidally bound REEs.
“We are very excited to be working with ANSTO, the world leaders in ionic REE leach metallurgy.
“We have selected a range of representative samples from Hydrothermal Hill which are on their way for analysis, with initial results expected in late November.”.
Significant intercepts recorded at Hydrothermal Hill include 43m @ 1,687ppm TREO from surface to end of hole (EOH) including 5m @ 3,343ppm TREO from 12m, with 1m @ 9,082ppm TREO from 13m; and 14m @ 2,979ppm TREO from 29m to EOH with 2m @ 7,052ppm TREO from 29m in MCRB044.
Drillhole MCRB045 intersected 40m @ 1,582ppm TREO from surface to EOH including 17m @ 2,636ppm TREO from 11m including 5m @ 4,930ppm TREO from 19m with 1m @ 6,234ppm TREO from 21m.
Hole MCRB053 intersected 31m @ 1,444ppm TREO from surface to EOH including 2m @ 2,656ppm TREO from 16m, and 6m @ 3,903ppm TREO from 22m with 2m @ 5,760ppm TREO from 24m.
Taruga reports the distribution metrics of the REE basket at Morgan’s Creek can be compared amongst other clay-hosted REEs, and highlights the ‘high’ proportion of heavy and magnet REEs and low levels of cerium present at Morgans Creek.
It says the assayed clays contain low deleterious elements including low cerium, low thorium, low calcium and low aluminium providing ‘significant’ processing benefits and higher-value REEs in the basket.
Taruga states the vast majority of the Yednalue formation strike remains undrilled, and infill and extensional drill planning is now underway.
The company believes several RAB holes have not reached the base of mineralisation, and says several holes were ended early due to poor sample return.
Aircore and RC drilling will also be used by Taruga for the next phase of drilling, aiming to drill underneath RAB drill intercepts which are interpreted to have not reached the base of mineralisation.
Taruga completed 2 rounds of RC drilling at Morgans Creek in 2021 focusing on copper targeting, however clay-hosted REE mineralisation was discovered in several drillholes at the Hydrothermal Hill Prospect, and significant intercepts have been recorded in sporadic drilling over an area around 6km by 2km.
Weak acid leach testwork conducted early this year indicated that the REE mineralisation has a ‘very high’ proportion of readily soluble REEs, and may be amenable to a ‘low-cost’ simplistic metallurgical flow sheet.
Taruga’s current exploration model is to focus on weathered zones of clay and saprolite over the Yednalue Quartzite unit, which outcrops for more than 5km of strike at Morgans Creek, and a further 5km of mapped strike in the northern portion of the Mt Craig.
The company believes large volumes of Yednalue Quartzite may be buried under shallow cover, and identification of further concealed prospects is underway.
Taruga also speculates that REE mineralisation is not constrained to the Yednalue Quartzite, and so other units in the stratigraphic sequence such as the Wirrawilka limestone are being investigated using soils geochemistry, magnetics and radiometrics geophysics.
Taruga Minerals is an Australian copper and REE exploration company focusing on discovering ‘world-class’ copper systems in Australia.
Its projects include the Flinders Copper Project, the Mt Craig Copper Project, and the Torrens Copper Project in South Australia, as well as the Manjimup Base Metals Project and the Meekatharra Nickel-Copper Joint Venture in Western Australia.
Images: Taruga Minerals Ltd