iTech Minerals (ASX: ITM) has announced the start of a maiden drilling program on its Eyre Peninsula rare earth elements (REE) and kaolin project in South Australia.
The company had been preparing for the extensive campaign for the last three weeks and today revealed it has been able to secure a drill rig earlier than anticipated.
Drilling has commenced at the Bartels prospect, where it is targeting ionic adsorption clay (IAC) REE mineralisation. The rig is then expected to move to drill test IAC REE prospects at Burtons (formerly named Salt Creek) and kaolin-IAC REE prospects at Ethiopia.
iTech has advised the drill rig was available on the condition it can meet a previous commitment for two weeks of drilling at a nearby project commencing in late February.
Following this, the rig will be redeployed to iTech’s project to complete drilling of high purity kaolin prospects at Caralue Bluff.
The company expects drilling to take a total of six weeks to complete with samples being submitted in batches as drilling progresses.
“At the completion of the program, we will have a good understanding of the potential for both REE ion adsorption clay deposits and high purity kaolin deposits across our tenure on the Eyre Peninsula,” iTech managing director Mike Schwarz said.
Located in the southernmost part of the Eyre Peninsula tenement package, Bartels is the first prospect iTech is drilling in its maiden campaign.
A total of 50 holes are planned across an area of approximately 4km by 2km to test a zone of REE mineralisation in a weathered, clay rich horizon.
Previous drilling by Archer Materials in 2012 intersected significant REEs in what is described as kaolinised coarse grained felsic, returning 21m at 2,298 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO) from 55m, including 9m at 3,054ppm TREO and 7m at 2,626ppm TREO.