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Strategic Elements targets, gold, rare earths on underexplored West Coast, New Zealand

Strategic Elements (ASX: SOR) has kicked off an aggressive program of field work on New Zealand’s underexplored West Coast, part of a wider program aimed at discovering new sources of strategic and precious metals.

The program over the next few months will involve fieldwork across a number of projects on the West Coast, as well as on the Mandamus rare metals project on the country’s East Coast and on projects in Australia, along with the grant and commencement of a tungsten/tin project in Ireland.

Strategic managing director Charles Murphy said the program will put the company in a good position for an upturn in the market.

“An intense period of activity has started that will lead us strongly into the New Year,” Murphy said.

“General market conditions are still tough, however we are positioning ourselves to take advantage of any rebound that may occur in the first quarter of 2012.”

Fieldwork on the West Coast is focused on a geologically rich belt adjacent to the regional Alpine Fault on the South Island, and is expected to be completed by the end of January 2012.

Strategic has begun a geochemical survey over a range of prospects related to a belt of 10 separate granites adjacent to the fault, seeking gold, silver, rare earths, rare metals, tin and tungsten.

The West Coast is believed to contain considerable mineral potential, however vegetation in the area makes it difficult to see, and a lack of airborne geophysical data has impacted on exploration in the area.

A government-funded multi-million dollar geophysical survey to provide information on the area is expected to begin this month.

“This is practically a virgin area untouched by modern exploration. It’s hard for Australian investors to comprehend that an area as geologically rich as this has never been investigated by geophysics,” Murphy said.

“We are excited to have exclusive rights over such an area. Our project area warrants an aggressive exploration program, we will release ongoing results as we receive information from the geological team”.

Strategic was admitted to the ASX in early August, following an oversubscribed IPO that raised more than $4 million in cash, four times the company’s original target of $1 million.

The IPO received strong support from the investment community as the company is believed to be the world’s first listed rare earths-focused pooled development fund.