Drilling at the Ethiopia Prospect, Eyre Peninsula


  • Results from the first 23 of 115 drill holes at the Ethiopia IAC REE – Kaolin Prospect confirms substantial intervals of REE mineralisation in the clay rich, weathering profile

  • Intersections include:

    o   ETAC22-002 – 12m @ 1,057 ppm TREO from 7m (-45µm)

    o   ETAC22-003 – 26m @ 972 ppm TREO from 0m (-45µm)

    o   ETAC22-021 – 19m @ 988 ppm TREO from 2 m (-45µm)

    o   ETAC22-022 – 10m @ 1142 ppm TREO from 2m (-45µm)

  • 16 of the 23 drill holes had significant intervals of kaolin and were screened to concentrate the kaolin fraction

  • 15 of the 16 of these drill holes had significant REE mineralisation in the kaolin (clay) fraction and confirm results from sampling of historical holes

  • Samples from the remaining 92 holes, which cover an area of 5 km x 3 km, are currently being analysed and results will be reported as they become available

Figure 2. Partial drill results from the Ethiopia Prospect – Eyre Peninsula, South Australia

“The first 23 drill holes at the Ethiopia Prospect have returned thick intervals of kaolin that host substantial REE mineralisation. With a further 92 drill holes from the Ethiopia Prospect, covering an area of 5km x 3km, currently undergoing analysis, we are excited to see the extent of REE mineralisation at this prospect as well as the other three prospects that were tested during our recent drilling program.”


iTech Minerals (ASX: ITM) recently completed a 115-hole drill program at the Ethiopia Prospect on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. The aim of the program was to test the potential for ion adsorption clay (IAC) REEs within high purity kaolin mineralisation. Recently received drill results show that significant intersections of REEs occur within the kaolin rich weathered horizon. Ethiopia can now be confirmed to have the potential to form IAC REE style mineralisation. Metallurgical work on mineralised samples confirms that an ionic component is present at Ethiopia, however, further test work will be required to test the extent to which the REEs are easily leachable.

Ethiopia Prospect

The Ethiopia Prospect was initially established as a high purity kaolin prospect with the identification of thick intervals of bright white kaolin, close to surface, in several historical drill holes. iTech geologists observed that the weathering profile contained significant levels of the REE indicator element, Cerium, and submitted historical samples for analysis for the full suite of REEs. The results revealed thick intervals of elevated REE mineralisation in the fine (-45µm), kaolin rich fraction (see ASX Release 12 November 2021).

In the last 3 months, 115 drill holes were completed across an area of 5 km by 3 km at the Ethiopia Prospect. Thick intervals of kaolin were visually identified over large areas in the drilling program, and selected number of holes were submitted for kaolin test work and REE analysis to test the high purity kaolin and IAC REE potential of the prospect. The Company is very pleased to receive positive results for REEs for the first 23 drill holes and will now eagerly await the results from the remaining drill holes across the prospect.

The current results suggest that mineralisation extends over a distance of at least 1.3 km by 1.2 km, however results from pending drill holes have the potential to significantly expand this area (Fig. 2).

Next Steps

As the drill results become available, iTech is selecting representative samples to send for metallurgical test work. Samples are being selected to be representative of the entire range of geological environments within the prospect, not only laterally (east-west and north-south), but also at various levels within the weathering profile (vertically). Samples will be tested for their easily leachable REE component with a straight acid leach at pH 1-2 and then for the ionic component with a leaching solution at pH 4 and 0.5M ammonium sulphate.

Having received positive partial drilling results from Ethiopia, iTech is eagerly waiting on results from drill holes sampled for kaolin test work from the remaining 92 drill holes as well the bulk of drill holes at Caralue Bluff (further 240 drill holes). Drill results which have been submitted for both kaolin and REE analysis have a longer lead time due to the need to separate the clay fraction prior to analysis.

Play Video

WATCH: Managing Director Mike Schwarz discuss the drilling program while in the field at the Ethiopia Prospect. This video update was released on the 16th of February 2022.


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