WATCH: A drilling update from the field
o Ethiopia Kaolin-IAC REE Prospect completed
o Bartels IAC REE Prospect completed
o Burtons IAC REE Prospect nearing completion
o Caralue Bluff Kaolin Prospect to commence in the coming days
Over 130 drill holes completed, averaging 18m in depth across the three prospects for a total of 2300m
All samples from Bartels and a third of the samples from Ethiopia submitted for analysis
Second batch of samples from Ethiopia and Burtons to be submitted by the end of the week
Initial drill results (sample analysis) expected in approximately 4 weeks
iTech Minerals Ltd (ASX: ITM, iTech or Company) is pleased to report significant drilling progress on its Eyre Peninsula tenement package, targeting REE ionic adsorption clay (IAC REE) and high purity kaolin mineralisation.
The Company has been achieving very high rates of drilling, averaging 330m and 19 holes per day placing the program well ahead of schedule.
Bartels IAC REE Prospect
iTech has identified a new zone of REE mineralisation in a weathered, clay rich horizon at the Bartels Prospect, in the southernmost part of the Eyre Peninsula tenement package (Fig. 2). In 2012, Archer Materials drilled 3 reverse circulation drill holes targeting gold mineralisation in epithermal systems. One drill hole, EPIRC12_003, intersected significant rare earth elements in what is described as kaolinised coarse grained felsic.
EPIRC12_003 intersected 21m @ 2298 ppm TREO from 55-76m
o including 9 m @ 3054 ppm TREO from 55-64m
o and 7 m @ 2626 ppm TREO from 69-76m
iTech has completed 49 drill holes for 630m at an average depth of 13m across an area of approximately 4km x 2km to test this target.
Ethiopia Kaolin – IAC REE Prospect
Having identified extensive enrichment of REE’s in kaolinitic clays, across an area in excess of 1.3 km x 1 km, at the Ethiopia Prospect, iTech has drilled 62 additional holes. The average hole depth was 20m which demonstrates a thick weathered profile in which to host kaolin and REE mineralisation. The program has been expanded due to the identification of thick intervals of bright white kaolin in the west of the project area. The zone of drilling is now designed to infill and extend the mineralisation to an area of approximately 2.5 km x 2.5 km with a focus on extending high grade mineralisation at the end of historical drilling in ETH-029 which intersected 32m @ 1633 ppm TREO (<45mm).
Burtons IAC REE Prospect
iTech has identified significant rare earth element mineralisation in the clay rich, weathering profile at the Burtons Prospect on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia (Fig. 5). The rare earths display significant enrichment of neodymium and praesidium (~23% Nd+Pr), which are critical in the production of permanent magnets for electric vehicles and renewable energy. They also display significant enrichment in desirable heavy rare earth element oxides (~39% HREO) which command a premium price. Representative samples from Burtons Prospect have been sent to the ANSTO laboratories in Sydney where they specialise in the metallurgical extraction of REE from IAC deposits. The results will give an indication of expected recoveries and whether ionic adsorption plays a significant role in the REE mineralisation style. iTech has currently drilled approximately 18 of 50 planned holes at the Burtons Prospect over an area of 12km x 3km to test the full extent of the clay hosted REE mineralisation. Drilling is expected to be completed within 5 days after which the drill rig will move to the Caralue Bluff Prospect.
Caralue Bluff Kaolin Prospect
The Caralue Bluff Prospect has bright white kaolin confirmed in drilling at <10m depth, up to 17m thick, in two drill holes over 5 km apart (Fig. 6). Historical partial chemical and mineralogical analyses of the bulk raw clay from one drill hole recorded relative high kaolinite content (~70%) with total Fe2O3 of 0.55% and raw brightness of 87% according to the TAPPI 646m-54 standard. The high purity and brightness of this material makes it well suited to high purity alumina feedstock, paper coating and filler applications (ASX Release, Replacement Prospectus, 19 October 2021). The Company has an extensive drilling program planned to cover an area of 12km x 12km for a total of approximately 194 holes. In addition to the two drill holes that intersect bright white kaolin, numerous dams and council rubble pits in the region reveal white kaolin exposed at surface.
Ethiopia Prospect Drill Location
Ethiopia Prospect Drill Location
Caralue Bluff Prospect Drill Location
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