Initial aircore drilling at the Mitre Hill project in Victoria has identified widespread clay rare earth elements (REE) for junior explorer Resource Base (ASX: RBX).
The shallow program focused on broadly-spaced holes along roadside reserves at newly-granted tenement EL007646, which is a small part of the company’s 2,600 square kilometre landholding in the region.
Drilling aimed to establish the depth and consistency of targeted clayey-sediments and a limestone geological horizon, which is known to host clay REE in the area.
Resource Base’s aircore program uncovered clay REE concentrations of up to 1,421 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO) just 3m below surface, while 70% of holes drilled returned a grade above 500ppm TREO.
Resource Base noted the grades it has intercepted are comparable to those at the nearby Red Tail and Yellow Tail deposits owned by Australian Rare Earths (ASX: AR3), which host a combined mineral resource of 39.9 million tonnes at 725ppm TREO.
The high-grade zone to the west of tenement EL007646 remains open to the west, north and south.
Resource Base said further drilling using a recently-acquired rig would extend the regional roadside program across neighbouring tenements.
Executive chairman and chief executive officer Shannon Green said the drilling program proved that clay REE mineralisation is widespread across the tenement.
“These maiden results are excellent. This tenement makes up only a small part of our landholding and results showing that the mineralisation is as expected from our regional geological model is very positive,” he said.
“In only 10 months, we have achieved a great deal and we are confident we will keep hitting our drill program milestones across this very large landholding moving forward.”
Second largest position
The Mitre Hill tenements give Resource Base the second largest land position in the southern margin of the Murray Basin, which is an emerging clay REE precinct at the border of Victoria and South Australia.
The company owns two granted tenements and is awaiting a response on 15 tenement applications.
Murray Basin geology
The Murray Basin extends over 300,000sq km predominated by Cainozoic sediments.
In the Mallee region to the west, the Cainozoic Loxton Parilla sands are concealed beneath semi-arid landscape of quaternary dune fields.
The Mitre Hill tenements are located over the transition from the concluding phases of the Loxton-Parilla strandlines to the more broadly-spaced Bridgewater formation in South Australia and Victoria.
Resource Base listed on the ASX in July last year and is also actively advancing its Black Range copper-gold project in Victoria, in parallel with exploration at Mitre Hill.