Lanthanein Resources has received the green light to commence drilling at its Murraydium ionic clay-hosted rare earths project near Naracoorte in South Australia. The state government-issued approval for Lanthanein arrives just weeks after fellow ASX-listed junior, Australian Rare Earths confirmed high-grade rare earth mineralisation less than 50km away.
The 307 air core holes planned will be the first sunk into Lanthanein's SA rare earth project and will likely be closely monitored by market meerkats given the increasing evidence of rare earth mineralisation spread across southern SA.
Recent high-grade discoveries have been confirmed along a 700km expanse of southern SA from as far south as the Victorian border by Australian Rare Earths to the western edges of the Eyre Peninsula by fellow ASX-listed iTech Minerals.
The Exploration Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation, or “EPEPR” approval received by Lanthanein requires licence holders to identify relevant environmental, social and economic implications that could arise during exploration. It also requires the company to obtain several crucial clearances before launching any activities.
The company says its principal exploration target is the lower zone of the Loxton‐Parilla sands — an area that has established itself as a key zone in Australian Rare Earths’ Koppamurra play where the company has declared an inferred resource of 39.9 million tonnes at 725 parts per million total rare earth oxides.
Lanthanein management believes the sand unit that could host the rare earths might stretch across an extensive area around Murraydium with the hunt aimed at sniffing out elements within broad, near-surface, clay-hosted deposits.
Lanthanein is one of a number of ASX-listed companies chasing down the lucrative iconic clay-style deposits that have shot to prominence in recent times because they are similar to some of the leading Chinese deposits that form more than two-thirds of global supply.
Remarkably, ionic-style clay deposits are currently only mined in southern China.
Compared with traditional hard rock-style rare earth deposits, clay-hosted assets contain a much higher proportion of superior value rare earths used in the production of permanent magnets — key components of electric vehicles including neodymium, dysprosium, praseodymium and terbium.
Intriguingly, ionic clay-style rare earths deposits also have less complex processing requirements, driving down beneficiation expenses and reducing the time required to scrub up the raw materials into usable end products.
China currently controls about 86 per cent of global rare earths supply but has held off calls to increase output in response to rising demand for the in-vogue commodity.
Prices for super-magnet rare earth elements are on the rise because of a significant supply shortage and companies around the world snapping up the material.
Lanthanein will be looking to extend the run of recent high-grade rare earth discoveries in an area of SA that has quickly become a hotspot for the sought-after minerals. Given the increasing market focus on the importance of rare earths and of developing a local industry, the timing of Lanthanein’s approval to drill could prove exquisite.