RareX clears key environmental study hurdle at Cummins Range rare earths project

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By Colin Hay - 
RareX ASX REE Cummins Range final baseline studies

RareX (ASX: REE) has completed key environmental baseline studies as it progresses its 100%-owned Cummins Range rare earths and phosphate project in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

With support from environmental consultants, including MBS Environmental and Rapallo Environmental, RareX has completed the key work required for meaningful engagement with environmental permitting agencies.

Importantly, the information collected and reported upon for the studies is considered sufficient to develop a project description that can be used to formally engage the regulators.

“The results of this extensive, year-long survey were in line with expectations, with all the project’s environmental aspects able to be successfully managed via standard operational plans,” chief executive officer James Durrant said.

“The completion of these surveys paves the way for RareX to formally engage with the regulators to progress the next phase of regulatory approvals for Cummins Range.”

Substantial resource

In late January 2024, RareX released an updated mineral resource estimate (MRE) for Cummins Range.

The project contains Australia’s largest undeveloped rare earths deposit and the second-largest rare earths deposit overall, making it a significant potential source of neodymium and praseodymium magnet and battery-quality phosphate in northern WA.

Drilling in the lead-up to the update underpinned an updated resource estimate totaling 524 million tonnes at 0.31% total rare earth oxide (TREO) and 4.6% phosphorus pentoxide, including a higher-grade resource of 44Mt at 1.02% TREO and 5.8% phosphorus pentoxide based on a 6,500 parts per million TREO cut.

The favorable phosphate mineralisation makes Cummins Range a unique rare earths project.

Development strategy

RareX followed up the updated MRE with the release in mid-February of a Cummins Range development strategy.

The strategy identified a need to focus development activities at the project on offtake, permitting and approvals.

On the exploration side, RareX focused its attention on targets being prepared for near-mine anomalies identified recently at Cummins Range with the potential to add material value to the project.

Further work to be done

RareX has a number of key milestones to achieve to complete the project descriptions sufficient to engage the regulator and firm up the pathway to approvals, including the signing of the mining heritage agreement and completion of the project’s pre-feasibility study (PFS).

The PFS has progressed to the requisite level, with offtake being the final catalyst to close this level of study.

The company is confident that permitting can be completed within 12 months once approval engagement has formally been initiated with the regulators and with consideration for the scale and nature of the Cummins Range project.