White Cliff confirms WA rare earths discovery


White Cliff Minerals has confirmed the discovery of clay-based rare earths mineralisation at its Hines Hill project in WA after tabling a suite of new results including 3m at 1602 parts per million total rare earth oxides or “TREO” from 6m via a maiden 49-hole campaign.

The headline strike sat inside a larger 25m intercept running 837ppm TREO from a shallow depth of 6m and was joined by an almost equally impressive 4m parcel grading 1182ppm TREO from 45m.

Some of the longer results include a 36m interval grading 639ppm TREO from surface with a higher-grade 3m inclusion at 1126ppm TREO from 12m. Other results carved out in the campaign include 16m at 693ppm TREO from 24m and 12m going 637ppm from 42m.

The assays are courtesy of a drilling program completed in November last year and follows the discovery of a pair of potentially mineralised magnetic features that yielded soil sample results of up to 550ppm TREO. Notably, White Cliff states the magnetic features are tentatively interpreted to host carbonatite-hosted rare earths mineralisation – a deposit-style that sent shockwaves around the ASX floors last year when WA1 Resources landed a major discovery at its West Arunta project in WA.

Banner intercepts from WA1 Resources’ landmark discovery include a 54m strike going 0.62 per cent niobium pentoxide and 0.18 per cent TREO from 162m. The hit sat inside an even longer 142m interval running 0.31 per cent niobium pentoxide and 0.17 per cent TREO from a depth of 74m. Notably, WA1 Resources’ work set tongues wagging and spiked the company’s share price to a high over $3 – a remarkable turn of events given a week previously the share price was bumping along around 13.5c. WA1 stocks are currently trending at about $1.48.

White Cliff will no doubt be hoping its work at Hines Hill will be equally fruitful with its share price settling at 1.5c on Monday.

Perth-based White Cliff has also seemingly bolstered its success rate at the project after tying down a contiguous tenement at Hines Hill that has stretched the operation’s footprint to around 576 square kilometres.

It appears at this early stage that the granitoid basement is highly elevated in REE’s and the REE Clays are the weathered granitoid. The Hines Hill project sits on salt affected broad acre farmland, which gives us the ability to work all year round; and with a land access agreement with the landowner, further encouraging results bodes well for progression of the project.

The company is now eyeing off additional geochemical work at Hines Hill along with more drilling, a review of the project’s technical data and the delivery of more assays.

As work advances at Hines Hill, White Cliff will be hopeful its rare earths hunt can be as transformative as WA1’s massive hit last year. Rare earths are commonly used to construct permanent magnets which ultimately find their way into the motors of electric vehicles and have been hitting the headlines of late following Sweden’s state-owned mining company LKAB’s discovery of what is claimed could be Europe’s largest deposit of rare earths.

LKAB made the chance discovery after stumbling on more than 1 million metric tonnes of rare earth oxides at its Kiruna underground iron ore mine in North Sweden. The discovery could help the Nordic country break its dependency on China-sourced material and White Cliff will be hoping it can do the same with its Hines Hill project in WA.

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