Taruga Minerals confirms ionic adsorption clay REE at Mt Craig copper project

Taruga Minerals ASX TAR ionic adsorption clay REE rare earths Mt Craig copper project South Australia
Ionic adsorption clay REE can generally be processed using “a simple and low-cost flowsheet”.

After Taruga Minerals (ASX: TAR) confirmed ionic adsorption clay (IAC) rare earth elements (REE) at its Morgan’s Creek prospect within its wider Mt Craig copper project in South Australia, the company plans to assess it further in a focused exploration program in July.

Mt Craig is within the Adelaide Fold Belt (AFB) at the intersection of the G2 and G8 structural corridors, which host BHP’s (ASX: BHP) Olympic Dam operation and other major base metal deposits in the state.

To-date, Taruga has focused on the copper potential at Mt Craig; however, its drilling in 2021 uncovered REE at Morgan’s Creek.

Notable intercepts from this drilling were 6m at 1,210 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO) from 9m; 22m at 1,050ppm TREO from 27m, including 10m at 1,940ppm TREO; and 3m at 1,715ppm TREO from 39m, including 2m at 2,456ppm TREO.

Analysis confirms IAC REE mineralisation

Samples from drilling at Morgan’s Creek have been analysed to determine the concentration of readily soluble REE.

Readily soluble REE is a key feature of IAC REE deposits. IAC REE deposits open the door for a simple metallurgical flowsheet and reduced operating costs, which can boost the commercial viability of the deposit.

Taruga’s analysis generated an average recovery of 85% TREO in the clay zone. Recoveries of 93% were achieved of the high-value magnetic REO (MREO).

In the weathered ore zone, recoveries averaged 68% TREO and 70% MREO.

Taruga chief executive officer Thomas Line said the company was “very encouraged” by the test work results, which indicate “a simple and low-cost flowsheet” could be used to extract REE from Morgan’s Creek.

“The ability to easily extract REE is a critical factor in assessing the commercial viability of any REE deposit.”

“The presence of high-value magnetic REE complements our strong copper portfolio extremely well, and aligns Taruga perfectly with the growing demand for electric vehicles and renewable green technologies.”

Exploring for more REE

Mr Line said the results provide the company with more confidence to advance its REE exploration at the project, with another sample subset to be submitted for further metallurgical evaluation to determine an optimal recovery approach.

“We are looking forward to conducting the first targeted REE program, which will form part of the next round of fully-funded drilling,” Mr Line added.

REE exploration that is underway entails processing and interpretation of aeromagnetic, radiometric, spectral satellite and soil geochemistry data to firm up any potential new targets.

This will be followed by infill soil sampling and auger geochemistry to gather more information on the prospective REE anomalies.

Then, in July, Taruga plans to undertake shallow reverse circulation drilling to expand the current mineralised footprint and test new targets.

In addition to its being prospective for copper and REE, Taruga noted Mt Craig could potentially host lead, zinc, cobalt, platinum group elements, silver and gold.

Meekatharra joint venture

Over in Western Australia, Taruga’s exploration at the Meekatharra nickel-copper project is advancing.

Peak Minerals (ASX: PUA) is earning 80% of the project where a fast-tracked exploration program is underway at the Green Rocks tenements.

Peak completed 18 holes for a total 1,810m as part of a phase two aircore program at the Tal Val, Target B and Target C areas to test mafic-ultramafic intrusions.

The program confirmed the presence of intrusions at all targets while at Target B, broad zones of “highly encouraging” nickel intercepts were identified below the regolith/fresh rock interface.

Assays of 17m at 0.29% nickel from 56m, and 10m at 0.32% nickel from 50m were returned, while one of the Target B holes intersected a stringer of pyrrhotite-chalcopyrite in fresh rock.

Peak has confirmed it will conduct a moving loop electromagnetic survey (MLEM) over Target B this month with follow-up reverse circulation and diamond drilling planned for mid-year.

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