Aguia Resources dusts off old drill results, confirms rare earths in Brazil

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By Robin Bromby - 
Aguia Resources ASX AGR Tres Estradas Brazil drill result rare earths REE TREO phosphate neodymium

Aguia Resources (ASX: AGR) reports that drilling in 2011 at its advanced Tres Estradas phosphate project in Brazil also intercepted rare earth elements (REE).

The REE results are from only one of six known carbonatites within the company’s tenements.

While the phosphate development remains its top priority, Aguia plans to begin exploration and assessment of the five other carbonatites.

Development of the phosphate at Tres Estradas is currently being held up.

While the company has received its construction permit, that work cannot begin until a dispute there is resolved.

Neodymium found in drill cores

The best assays from the 2011 diamond drilling came from two holes, although a total of 19 returned REE values.

One of the two best holes returned 24.7 metres at 1.27% total rare earth oxides (TREO) while the other assayed over 18.6m at 0.75% TREO.

Cerium (45%), lanthanum (30%) and the key battery element neodymium (15%) dominated the basket of rare earths elements.

Niobium was also detected averaging between 1,000 and 1,400 parts per million.

New chair triggered REE assessment

Well known analyst and resources financier Warwick Grigor, who last month joined the Aguia board as non-executive chairman, said one of his first tasks has been to assess the company’s rare earth potential.

“This historical data confirms this thesis and the results are highly encouraging based on a limited number of assays, so I am confident that we are just scratching the surface,” Mr Grigor said.

“Companies get excited if they have one carbonatite on their ground; Aguia has six.”

First reported in 2011

Tres Estradas is located in southern Brazil at Rio Grande do Sul, about three hours travel from Port Alegre.

Aguia has a total phosphate resource of 105 million tonnes.

On 14 November 2011 the company reported the discovery of the Tres Estradas carbonatite.

Aguia says that, because it was the first company to recognise the potential of the region, it was able to secure various prospective targets.

This subsequently led to the discovery of the other five carbonatites, named Santa Clara, Joca Tavares, Porteira, Mato Grande and Passo Feio.

Not then considered a priority

The company notes that 12 years ago it focused on the phosphate contained within the carbonatites, not the REE.

This was just a year after the 2011 rare earth bubble had burst, sending prices down dramatically and many rare earths juniors abandoning the sector for other more investor-friendly mineral commodities.

Now, with the growing demand for REE, underpinned by the transition to green energy, is seen by Aguia as having considerable upside for its discovery of 12 years ago.