iTech Minerals continues to uncover REE potential at Eyre Peninsula project

iTech Minerals ASX ITM rare earth REE potential Eyre Peninsula project South Australia kaolin Ethiopia
Samples from iTech Minerals’ Ethiopia and Salt Creek prospects will now undergo scoping test work by ANSTO.

iTech Minerals (ASX: ITM) has revealed more rare earth potential at its kaolin project on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula with the release of the final batch of resampled historical drill results from the Ethiopia prospect.

The battery and critical minerals explorer said the latest beneficiated samples are the “best reported to date” and show an increase in thickness and extent of rare earth element (REE) mineralisation across the prospect.

The company previously reported the unbeneficiated (bulk) results from the Ethiopia prospect drill holes in December.

One hole in particular has confirmed iTech’s expectation of thick, high-grade REE at the end of a line of drilling, returning 32 metres at 1,633 parts per million total rare earth oxide (TREO) from surface including 24m at 1,966ppm TREO from 4m.

“The rare earths in [hole] ETH-029 continue to display enrichment of neodymium and praseodymium, which are critical in the production of permanent magnets for electric vehicles and renewable energy,” the company reported.

“Significantly, this drill hole also shows a greater enrichment of high value heavy rare earths (about 36%). The beneficiation process of sieving the bulk sample, to obtain the -45 µm (less than 45 micrometres) clay fraction, increases the REE grades between 153 – 311%.”

Samples sent to ANSTO for scoping tests

iTech has now sent representative samples from its Ethiopia and Salt Creek prospects to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in Sydney to undertake scoping test work.

The main objective is to assess the leachability of rare earths, under typical desorption conditions applied to ionic clay deposits.

iTech managing director Mike Schwarz said the test work being undertaken by ANSTO will be a good first step in determining the extent to which the REEs can be ionically leached.

“With continued good grades and thick intervals of REEs in the kaolin-rich clay at Ethiopia, it is now important to determine how cost effectively the REEs can be recovered,” he said.

Results are anticipated before the start of drilling in mid-February. The company said it will release further details of its Eyre Peninsula drilling plans and timing “shortly”.

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