Remote Western Australian country town Mukinbudin recently took its place on the global critical minerals stage when two separate companies with two separate projects announced significant rare earth element (REE) results within hours of each other.
Located in the far north-eastern Wheatbelt region of WA, approximately 298 kilometres east of Perth, Muka (as it is known to the locals), is most famous for its wheat and sheep farming.
However, the area grabbed the attention of the mining industry in early May when Codrus Minerals (ASX: CDR) and Caprice Resources (ASX: CRS) both unveiled the discovery of high-grade REEs.
Codrus has big REE hits
Located 30km north of Mukinbudin, Codrus' clay-hosted Karloning project provided instant success when the first drill-hole completed in its maiden dill programme hit a significant zone of high-grade REE mineralisation.
Assays from that hole confirmed shallow clay-hosted REE's with impressive grades of up to 4,764ppm TREYO (total rare earth + yttrium oxide).
Managing director, Shannan Bamforth, says Karloning offers compelling exploration potential for the high-value REE's used in the manufacture of high-value, high-strength permanent magnets.
"This is a very exciting result from our first-ever drill hole at Karloning, confirming the presence of shallow clay-hosted rare earths mineralisation in addition to the hard rock hosted REE mineralisation that the project was originally acquired for," Mr Bamforth stated.
"This provides Codrus with the opportunity to pursue rare earths discoveries within two separate geological units – both the near-surface clay horizon and the pegmatites."
Caprice identifies sizeable target
Located 25km north-west of the namesake town, Caprice's recently acquired Mukinbudin rare earth element project has also provided early excitement.
The company is planning to follow up on the identification of a significant, 300m plus long anomaly which recently returned elevated readings of up to up to 3,761ppm rare earth oxides in rock chip and soil samples.
Caprice's next step is to undertake a further sampling programme to held define the remaining strike length and to systematically assess other areas within the project for REE bearing pegmatites.
Sampling to date has only tested three specific targets and the company's follow-up work will be undertaken to delineate future drill targets, as well as continue to explore other parts of the 380 square kilometre project.
To date, only 20% of the tenement has been actively explored.
"This initial exploration work is highly encouraging and confirms the prospectivity of the project," managing director, Andrew Muir, said.
With rare earths identified across the globe as minerals critical to the world's clean energy future, it is certain that little Muka will receive increasing exploration interest.