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Rare Earth Elements

Australian Bauxite’s exploration technology has been carried out over 15 months to investigate rare earth elements (REE) occurring within the Australian Bauxite horizon. Initial results showed promising early signs in both the Binjour bauxite deposit in Queensland and in two prospects in Tasmania, DL130 and Fingal Rail. Following the initial results, confirmatory results revealed the DL130 prospect showed especially high grade REE, indicating a different origin of the REE.

Figure 1:

Location of Binjour Bauxite Project where ABx’s REE exploration began.

ABx considers Binjour Project to be the best source of gibbsite-rich, trihydrate bauxite in Queensland (QLD) and has a Mining Lease Application over the Sunrise Bauxite Project on Binjour Plateau that is now being assessed.

 

Figure 2:

Locations in Tasmania. 

ABx’s Rare Earth Element exploration is focused across the northern Tasmanian project areas of DL130, Rubble Flat, Westbury and Rosebourne.

Early testwork indications are that the rare earth elements are easily leached and could be concentrated at low cost, with no deleterious elements. The exploration technology has also been adjusted to start exploring for zones with enriched scandium grades.

Further testing confirmed strong enrichment of the super-magnet rare earth element (REE) neodymium (Nd) in the northern Tasmanian DL130 bauxite project area. The new sample which returned the highest Nd grade to date is located 500 metres east of the next most Nd-enriched sample. This is interpreted to be an ideal “Source Rock” that is deeply corroded and enriched in Nd. This strata is described as a “Source Rock” because of the strong corrosion of the rock which would have allowed Nd to be released into the ancient groundwaters.

Elevated Nd values in source rock has been found over an area of 500 x 500 metres so far and is open in all directions. New exploration programs are investigating a much wider area and testing more structures.

Neodymium is a critical strategic metal used in super-magnets used in electric vehicles, wind turbines, smart phones and military electronics.

Figure 3:

Rare Earth Elements in ABx’s source rock at DL130 Project, Northern Tasmania.

The strong enrichment of neodymium (Nd2O3) is clearly evident compared to other REE.

NOTE: The latest sample DL31510 is the most enriched in neodymium discovered to date.

ABx’s Exploration Strategy is as follows:

  1. To explore for REE that are in strongest demand. ABx is exploring for Neodymium because its price is growing strongly (see Figure 3) and it is the main metal used for super-magnets that are critical strategic components in electric vehicles, wind turbines, smart phones and military electronics
  2. To focus on a deposit type that can be quickly developed with a low capital cost and has a low operating cost. So, ABx explores for the Ionic Adsorption Clay (IAC) style of mineralisation which is analogous with the IAC deposits that have produced REE in southern China using simple leaching.
  3. To explore in areas where an IAC leaching project will not interfere with alternative land use

To always comply with ABx’s paramount policy to leave land better than we find it and only operate where welcome.

Figure 3:

Recent prices for Neodymium REE.