Red Mountain Mining (ASX: RMX) has discovered mineralisation containing heavy rare earth elements (REE) at its Mt Mansbridge project in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.
Rock chip sampling conducted at the Solo prospect during the year confirmed a xenotime-dysprosium composition including a 6m zone associated with a silica-altered structure and hosted within a broader package of quartz and quartz-mica greywackes and occasional finer grained pelites.
Visual estimations showed the xenotime ranges up to 10% of the total composition of minerals over the zone.
Onsite analysis using portable x-ray fluorescence confirmed it to be anomalous in yttrium and dysprosium.
Samples have been prioritised for assay at the laboratory for processing within the fortnight.
Petrology work will also be performed in the coming weeks.
Déjà vu drilling
Drilling also intersected altered peridotite at the Déjà vu prospect which has potential for cobalt mineralisation.
Déjà vu was first identified by CRAE in the early 1990s as a layered mafic-ultramafic intrusion prospective for nickel-copper-cobalt-platinum group elements.
The prospect was originally targeted for diamond bearing kimberlites, however it encountered serpentinised peridotite.
Sporadic sampling and assaying returned encouraging cobalt grades from between 70m and 100m, including 0.34%, 0.32% and 0.22%.
Red Mountain drilled a hole to “twin” CRAE’s work and provide further geological information and a set of samples around the existing cobalt anomaly.
However the drill rig experienced mechanical issues and was demobilised to avoid it being stranded over the wet season.
The company has planned further deep drilling and an additional hole to the north and south in the new year.
REE increasingly popular
REE are becoming increasingly popular for the important part they play in modern technology.
They contribute to the development of smaller and faster electronic parts; more powerful magnets (especially in wind turbines); stronger metal alloys; brighter flat screen TV pictures; faster chemical reactions; and more efficient fuel cells (for some types of hybrid cars).
REE are now classified as critical minerals with China controlling over 70% of global supply and accounting for up to 98% of production.
China recently announced it would severely restrict the export of REE due to rising environmental problems with its mines, polluted waterways and radiation exposure affecting workers and communities.
With limited alternative options, there has been rising global interest for new and sustainable sources of heavy REE supply.
Red Mountain said its wholly-owned Mt Mansbridge project has the potential to become a strategic asset, prospective for critical and high value HREE in an emerging province.