Diagnostic metallurgy on historic samples from iTech Minerals’ (ASX: ITM) Eyre Peninsula project in South Australia has confirmed ionically adsorbed rare earth elements (REE).
The diagnostic test work aimed to determine whether the ionic adsorption of REE onto clays was a geological process present at the Ethiopia and Burtons prospects within the project.
“The confirmation of the presence of ionically adsorbed REE is a positive for the potential economics of this project,” iTech managing director Mike Schwarz said.
“This new data will help define our exploration strategy going forward and gives us confidence to invest in a far more rigorous metallurgical program with fresh samples from our best prospects,” he added.
Further test work
iTech will now carry out an optimised metallurgical assessment on samples from recent drilling at the Ethiopia, Burtons and Bartels prospects.
As part of this, the company is having discussions with ANSTO to determine the best sample size, location and leaching conditions for a comprehensive program of metallurgical optimisation.
Samples from the recent drilling program at the three prospects are undergoing analysis for mineral components at geochemical laboratories.
Once assays have been received, iTech will send representative samples for the metallurgical optimisation program.
iTech noted these samples will be selected to broadly assess metallurgical performance of mineralisation from differing geological characteristics and depths.
REE present in historical drill core
Although prospective for Kaolin, iTech revealed on its ASX debut in October last year that its Eyre Peninsula project was prospective for REE.
Analysis of historical holes at Ethiopia returned highlight intercepts of 32m at 1,633 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO) from 0m, including 24m at 1,966ppm TREO from 4m.
Over at Burtons, previous drill core had unearthed 23m at 1,065ppm TREO from 12m, including 3,019ppm TREO from 20m.
Drilling at Eyre Peninsular is also targeting kaolin mineralisation with 194 holes planned for the Caralue Bluff prospect.
At Caralue Bluff, previous shallow drilling and analysis revealed a relatively high kaolinite content of 70% in one hole with raw brightness of 87% and low iron oxides of 0.55%.