Peak Resources' (ASX: PEK) Ngualla Rare Earth Project in southern Tanzania, in well under two years, has gone from a virgin discovery to the high grade rare earth development project it is today, with the next phase of drilling set to take it to the next level.
The extensive 30,000 metre drilling program will allow for the completion of a Scoping Study, scheduled for the end of 2012, which will then lead into a Pre-Feasibility Study in 2013.
Astute investors will realise that Ngualla is a company maker, with the project already drawing comparisons toLynas Corporations' (ASX: LYC) Mt Weld, being rare earth enrichment in the deeply weathered regolith profile of a large carbonatite.
The project has been ranked as the fifth largest rare earth deposit globally outside of China and the highest grade of the top seven following the delivery of a maiden JORC Resource earlier this year.
From the Southern Rare Earth and South West Alluvial Zones the Resource is 170 million tonnes at 2.24% rare earth oxides for 3.8 million tonnes of contained rare earth oxides (1% lower grade cut-off).
Using a 3% lower grade cut-off, the total Resource includes a higher grade near surface zone of 40 million tonnes at 4.07% rare earth oxides for 1.6 million tonnes of contained rare earth oxides.
The next phase of drilling at Ngualla will be supported by a second reverse circulation rig due to arrive within the next two weeks followed by a diamond drill rig in July.
This aggressive exploration program is designed to upgrade the highest grade, near surface portion of the current resource to the higher confidence Indicated and Measured categories.
Importantly, the higher data density will allow for the development of a Reserve once metallurgical and other economic parameters are determined through Scoping and Feasibility studies.
Drilling will also better define the amount of high grade, low carbonate, low uranium-thorium, weathered mineralisation within the Southern Rare Earth Zone that may be amenable to simple sulphuric acid leach.
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