Dr Chris Baker July, 2021 (Bridge Street Capital)
A significant upgrade to the NdPr-dominated Cummins Range deposit, with a high grade zone (2% TREO) now the focus of a scoping study
The long-awaited resource from REE’s Cummins Range (CR) rare earths project has just been released. This was clearly worth waiting for with a 47% increase in tonnes at much the same grade as an earlier 13mt inferred resource.
The new Cummins Range resource is 18.8Mt at 1.15% TREO (inc. 0.23% NdPr) + 0.14% Nb2O5, with some 60% classified at indicated.
A high-grade zone (1% COG) has been delineated: 6.5Mt at an impressive grade of 1.98% TREO (inc. 0.38% NdPr) + 0.21% Nb2O5. 75% of this zone is of indicated status, so can readily move into reserves (subject to the completion of an economic scoping study).
REE has updated its basket price to US$34/kg for the REO assemblage, with just under 50% of the value attributable to Nd+Pr and some 36% to scandium. Scandium is used to alloy with aluminium for lightweight applications (eg aeronautics and sporting goods).
A potential by-product niobium resource (Nb2O5) has been reported for the first time. This may well be significant as current price of niobium is over $90/kg, or 3 times the CR basket price. Niobium is an important constituent of superalloys, and is used in toughening steel.
Drilling to extend this resource has already commenced. Geologists are progressively refining their exploration model which suggests CR is open along strike and down dip. The current CR deposit appears to be entirely hosted by a weathered host and may be the product of concentration within this zone (a concentration process known as‘deflation’). There is a suggestion from deeper drill holes that CR mineralisation may extend into the unweathered host. This thesis will be tested in the current programme.
As well, geologists have identified two largely untested, sub-parallel zones north and south of the current resource which will be followed up in the current programme.