Our Projects

Salazar Critical Minerals

Salazar
Project Background

The Project benefits from its proximity to essential infrastructure (including port, rail, and air services) in nearby Esperance. 

The Salazar Project (consisting of both the Newmont and O’Connor deposits) is situated in the Esperance district approximately 120km north-east of the township of Esperance and all tenements are located on non-agricultural undeveloped state land (Figure 1). With a total area of 1,171km2, the project features some of the highest grade saprolitic clay-hosted rare earth element and co-product resources discovered in Australia.
Figure 1: Location of the Salazar Critical Minerals Project and Tenements.

Total approximately 1171 square km

High grades of REE

Granted
Tenements

Substantial upside via exploration

Table 1: Newmont and O’Connor Deposits – Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource estimated by AMC Consultant

[1] TREO = La2O3 + CeO2 + Pr6O11 + Nd2O3 + Sm2O3 + Eu2O3 + Gd2O3 + Tb4O7 + Dy2O3 + Ho2O3 + Er2O3 + Tm2O3 + Yb2O3 + Lu2O3 + Y2O3

The Salazar project, consisting of Newmont and O’Connor, is a substantial 190 Mt at 1172 ppm TREO as per below:

Cut-off
(TREO ppm)
Deposit Category Tonnes (Mt) TREO1 (ppm)
600 Newmont Indicated 39 1216
Inferred 44 1029
Indicated + Inferred 83 1117
O’Connor Inferred 107 1216
TOTAL Indicated + Inferred 190 1172

Newmont Deposit

West Cobar’s Newmont deposit contains a large and advanced indicated and inferred REE resource (which stands at 83Mt at 1117ppm total rare earth oxide) as well as a TiO2 inferred resource (29Mt at 5.0% TiO2) and an alumina inferred resource (4Mt at 29.6% Al2O3).

Recent metallurgical works have enabled the company to focus development studies on a project which could potentially have a Ti product stream (ilmenite concentrate), a rare earth element (REE) stream and scandium as a co product.

West Cobar’s Newmont deposit consists of saprolite clay host rock which overlies amphibolite and is a unique deposit in the region due to a number of factors:

  • The Newmont REE, TiO2 and Al2O3 resources are comparatively high grade
  • High grade zones of scandium overlie the amphibolite
  • Potential for high value co-products including, TiO2, Al2O3 (4N), scandium and gallium
  • Successful beneficiation tests have shown excellent upgrade potential
  • High content of valuable heavy rare earths dysprosium and terbium
  • Low content of radioactive minerals uranium and thorium, thereby improving processing options
  • Shallow, thick saprolite (clay) hosted mineralisation amenable to low cost mining

 

AMC Consultants were engaged to update the Mineral Resource estimate of the Newmont deposit. The previous resource estimate in 2015 by CSA Global (“CSA”) comprised an Inferred Mineral Resource of 43.5 Mt at 1192 ppm TREO.[1]

Following thae results of the phase 1 AC drill program, AMC Consultants have estimated a Total Mineral Resource of 83 Mt of 1117 ppm TREO (600ppm cut-off) at Newmont, including an Indicated Mineral Resource of 39 Mt of 1216 ppm TREO, in accordance with the JORC Code (2012). This Mineral Resource is shown below:

[1] CSA Global, 2015. Mineral Resource Estimate for Salazar Gold Pty Ltd, Esperance rare Earth Project, WA. Unpublished Report No R254.2015

Cut-off
(TREO ppm)
Category Tonnes (Mt) TREO3 (ppm) Magnet Rare Earths
Pr6O11 ppm Nd2O3 ppm Dy2O3 ppm Tb4O7 ppm
600 Indicated 39 1216 51 206 36 6.1
Inferred 44 1029 46 180 29 5.1
Indicated + Inferred 83 1117 48 192 33 5.6

Table 2: Newmont Deposit Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource estimated by AMC Consultants

[1] CSA Global, 2015. Mineral Resource Estimate for Salazar Gold Pty Ltd, Esperance rare Earth Project, WA. Unpublished Report No R254.2015

[1] TREO = La2O3 + CeO2 + Pr6O11 + Nd2O3 + Sm2O3 + Eu2O3 + Gd2O3 + Tb4O7 + Dy2O3 + Ho2O3 + Er2O3 + Tm2O3 + Yb2O3 + Lu2O3 + Y2O3

Figure 2: Newmont block grades and air core drill holes. Looking NW, map grid = 1km x 1km

Newmont deposit co-products

AMC Consultants have estimated Inferred Mineral Resources for titanium dioxide and HPA-alumina.
Included in, and outside, the Newmont REE Mineral Resource is a Mineral Resource (JORC Code 2012) of 29 Mt of 5.01% titanium dioxide (2 % Ti cut-off) – see Table 3.

Cut-off Ti %
Category Saprolite Zone Mt Ti % TiO2% TREO ppm Fe % FeO %
2 Inferred TREO >=600 20 3.1 5.2 1,183 8.9 11.4
Inferred TREO <600 9 2.8 4.7 428 10.2 13.1
Total 29 3.0 5.0 942 9.3 12.0

Table 3: Newmont Deposit, Inferred TiO2 Mineral Resource

Table notes:
Saprolite 20 Mt >=600ppm TREO is contained within the current Newmont Mineral Resource estimate. Saprolite 9 Mt <600ppm TREO is additional to the current Newmont MRE. The model is currently not reported within a constraining nominal pit shell of any sort. This might change in future reporting.

A high titanium content in the REE mineralised saprolite (see Figure 3) occurs largely over amphibolite bedrock that contains ilmenite (FeTiO3).

Figure 3: Newmont deposit, section 6351000N, looking north, x10 Vertical exaggeration, block grades.

Additionally, AMC has estimated a Mineral Resource (JORC Code 2012) of 4 Mt of 29.6 % Al2O3 (alumina) potentially upgradeable for HPA feedstock, also included within, and outside, the Newmont REE Mineral Resource. High alumina material, as soft kaolinite (see Appendix 2 for chemical composition) occurs mostly in the upper saprolite. Overburden is about 10m depth and the mineralised interval about 10m thick. The alumina Mineral Resource estimate is divided into two parts, blocks within the 600ppm TREO Mineral Resource and blocks outside the Resource, see Table 4.

Cut-off AI %
Category Saprolite Zone Mt AI % AI2O3 % TREO ppm Fe % K % Si %
15 Inferred TREO >=600 2 15.6 29.5 909 4.22 0.25 20.1
Inferred TREO <600 2 15.7 29.6 276 2.84 0.21 22.6
Total 4 15.6 29.6 657 3.67 0.23 21.1

Table 4: Newmont Deposit, Inferred Al2O3 (alumina) Mineral Resource

Table notes:
Saprolite 2 Mt >=600ppm TREO is contained within the current Newmont Mineral Resource estimate. Saprolite 2 Mt <600ppm TREO is additional to the current Newmont MRE. The model is currently not reported within a constraining nominal pit shell of any sort. This might change in future reporting.

O’Connor Deposit

The O’Connor deposit overlies granitic bedrock and has different geological characteristics to the Newmont deposit – but benefits from a large resource (107Mt at 1216ppm TREO) with substantial undrilled upside.

AMC Consultants have also estimated a maiden Inferred Resource at O’Connor based on 24 historical air core drill holes and 30 air core holes drilled recently during phase 1. Inferred Reserves are limited conservatively to 250 m away from the drill lines.

Cut-off
(TREO ppm)
Status Tonnes (Mt) TREO1 (ppm) Magnet Rare Earths
Pr6O11 ppm Nd2O3 ppm Dy2O3 ppm Tb4O7 ppm
600 Inferred 107 1216 61 195 11 2.3

Table 5: O’Connor deposit – Inferred Mineral Resource estimated by AMC Consultants

Compared to the Newmont deposit, the O’Connor deposit is higher in praseodymium and lower in dysprosium and terbium, reflecting the underlying granitic origin of the REE’s within the saprolite at O’Connor.

[1] TREO = La2O3 + CeO2 + Pr6O11 + Nd2O3 + Sm2O3 + Eu2O3 + Gd2O3 + Tb4O7 + Dy2O3 + Ho2O3 + Er2O3 + Tm2O3 + Yb2O3 + Lu2O3 + Y2O3

Figure 4: O’Connor Deposit, NE-SW section, looking north-west, x10 Vertical exaggeration, block grades

Newmont Metallurgy & Studies

Over the past eight years, Salazar Minerals has commissioned Nagrom, Amdel, CSIRO Hydrometallurgy and TSW Analytical to conduct several programs of REE metallurgical testwork on Newmont mineralised samples collected in aircore drilling.

Recently Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) have been commissioned to advance the leach testwork further, and a phase 1 has been completed. Excellent rare earth metallurgical recoveries of up to 94% Magnet Rare Earth Oxide (MREO) were obtained from Newmont samples using a hydrochloric acid pathway, including an average of 68% (25g/L HCl) to 78% (100g/L HCl) MREO recovery from 7 out of 8 samples (8 hour liquor test). An average of 61% (25g/L HCl) to 76% (100g/L HCl) MREO recovery from 7 out of 8 samples (3 hour liquor test) was obtained. These leaching kinetics from the Newmont deposit indicate that further reduction in acid strength is achievable.

Simple screening has delivered up to 151% upgrade of rare earth grades, with the average TREO grade across the 8 samples averaging 3149 ppm at <38 µm.

A number of additional metallurgical test work and beneficiation studies are currently underway with ANSTO, Nagrom and the University of Newcastle.

Registered Office

Suite B9,
431 Roberts Road,
Subiaco WA 6008

T. +61 8 9287 4600

E. info@westcobarmetals.com.au