iTech Minerals releases exploration target for Caralue Bluff rare earths prospect

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By Imelda Cotton - 
iTech Minerals ASX ITM Caralue Bluff REE Kaolin Eyre Peninsula South Australia rare earth

iTech Minerals’ exploration target for Caralue Bluff sits between 110-220Mt at 635-832ppm TREO and 19-22% aluminium oxide.


Adelaide-based iTech Minerals (ASX: ITM) has released an exploration target for the Caralue Bluff rare earth elements-kaolin prospect along South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

The target sits between 110 million tonnes and 220Mt grading from 635 parts per million to 832ppm TREO (total rare earth oxides) and 19-22% aluminium oxide.

The mineralisation is rich in key magnet elements of neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium, averaging 25% of the rare earth elements (REE) basket.

The target is based on 80 drill holes from a program of 260 holes across an area of approximately 12 square kilometres and remains open in multiple directions, allowing for possible expansion in future exploration.

Earlier this month, iTech published assays from 109 holes of the same program, which defined an expansive area with “consistent” clay-hosted REE mineralisation and open in all directions.

Notable intersections included 14m at 1,148ppm TREO, 9m at 1,286ppm TREO, 8m at 1,437ppm TREO and 10m at 1,157ppm TREO.

Project potential

Managing director Mike Schwarz said the exploration target would uncover the potential of the project.

“This target shows Caralue Bluff’s potential to contain significant REEs and high purity kaolin resources,” he said.

“We have been able to focus the target on areas where both commodities are present to boost the economic potential of the project and leave a lot of room to grow any resource in the future.”

Metallurgical test work

iTech said it was awaiting the results of metallurgical testing on 50 samples from Caralue Bluff to determine if the REE are in an ionic or colloidal form and if they can be economically extracted.

Samples were selected to be representative of the entire range of geological environments within the prospect and results are expected before month end.

Positive results will see the company launch a major drilling program in the new year to convert the exploration target to a mineral resource estimate.

Caralue Bluff was initially established as a high purity kaolin prospect with the identification of thick intervals of bright white kaolin close to surface in several historic drill holes.

The company has also previously discovered REE mineralisation in the kaolin-rich intervals at the Ethiopia, Burtons and Bartels prospects, which are also within the Eyre Peninsula tenement package.