In beginning its exploration for rare earths north of Esperance, OD6 Metals managing director Brett Hazelden says the company “has an elephant by the tail — we just need to see how big the elephant is”.
OD6 Metals drill rigs started work at the Splinter Rock project about 150km north-east of Esperance last week, with the initial aircore program across the 2579sqkm tenement package to last 3-4 weeks and aiming for 192 holes and up to 7000m of drilling,
Mr Hazelden told the Kalgoorlie Miner OD6 considered the area highly prospective for a range of clay-based rare earths elements, based upon historical exploration and the fact there were granite outcrops — “source rock” — throughout the area.
Mr Hazelden said clay-based rare earths were a lower-grade than the hard rock types mined by Goldfields-based Lynas Rare Earths but capital costs were lower and they could be processed more cheaply.
He said OD6 would undertake more drilling next year, with the aim of producing a maiden inferred and indicated resource by the end of 2023, as well as a scoping study.
The company would also conduct electromagnetic surveys with 400m spacings to examine the thickness and extent of the clay at Splinter Rock.
OD6 also has the Grass Patch project 30km-100km north of Esperance, making for 4828sqkm of tenements in the region, and Mr Hazelden said this project was considered a secondary priority at this stage.
“Splinter Rock’s granite is more prospective,” he said.
Mr Hazelden talked up the potential for a rare earths mine in the Esperance region, noting it would be close to the Port of Esperance, and there could be a nearby renewable energy supply if Andrew Forrest’s green hydrogen hub plans came to fruition.
He said the company would be focused on supplying material for the magnets that go into electric vehicle batteries, solar panels and wind turbines.
OD6 Metals made its ASX debut on June 22 followed a successful $8 million initial public offering, and Mr Hazelden said long-term investor sentiment for rare earths was healthy.