It began with hunting for nickel, then earlier this year Desert Metals (ASX: DM1) suddenly realised the fact that its Innouendy project northwest of Meekatharra contained traces of rare earths.
Today the company revealed it is now able to confirm that Innouendy is what it describes as a significant rare earths discovery.
Not only that, but this is another much sought-after clay-hosted deposit — meaning it is shallow (two intersects begin just 4m below surface), that it should be dominant in higher value heavy rare earths, and it will have much lower uranium and thorium content than the typical hard rock deposit.
Intersections appear to be thick and continuous
The first batch of assays have been released, covering 1,128m of the planned 12,475m aircore and reverse circulation drilling program.
They include 21m at 1,176 parts per million total rare earth oxides (TREO) from 4m down hole; 8m at 2,734ppm TREO from 24m; 17m at 1,347ppm TREO from 28m; and 48m at 665ppm TREO from 20m.
All intersections from the 12 holes reported comprised higher grade intervals, with a notable one of 4m at 4,104ppm.
“TREO intersections within the clay appear to be thick and relatively continuous from the limited results received,” the company said.
More expansive drilling program planned
Managing director Ron Stuart said this is a “great” result for Desert Metals.
“The mineralisation assayed to date is showing encouraging grades over significant widths from close to surface.”
“The drill program extends over a 20km area, so we look forward to seeing just how large this system becomes.”
Mr Stuart added that, once all assays are compiled, the company plans to return to the field as soon as possible with a more expansive drill program
The Innouendy project was identified in 2010 by the former Aurora Minerals as potentially prospective for nickel and copper sulphides after it had mapped outcrops.
Desert Metals later promoted this project as “the next Nova-Bollinger”, referring to the large nickel-copper-cobalt mine in the Fraser Range operated by Independence group (ASX: IGO).