American Rare Earths (ASX: ARR) has provided an updated mineral resource estimate for its wholly owned Halleck Creek project in Wyoming, showing a 64% increase in its in-situ tonnage compared to the previous estimate last fall.
In total, there are now 2.34 billion tonnes of material grading 3,196 parts per million (ppm) total rare earth oxides (TREO), including neodymium (Nd) and praseodymium (Pr) oxides, for 7.48 million tonnes of contained TREO. This includes 1.42 billion tonnes in the measured and indicated category, a 128% increase over the 2023 estimate, at a grade of 3,295 ppm TREO.
Magnet rare earth elements (Nd2O3, Pr6O11, Sm2O3, Dy2O3, and Tb4O7) comprise about 27% of the total resource with an average grade of 774 ppm MREO, with a contained metal estimate of 1.8 million tonnes.
The new estimate uses a cut-off grade of 1,000 ppm TREO as opposed to the 1,500 ppm used previously. Stantec, the engineering consulting provider with whom ARR is working with to develop a JORC-compliant scoping study at Halleck Creek, determined that a 1,000 ppm cut-off grade meets the conditions for reporting a mineral resource with reasonable prospects of eventual economic extraction.
The mineral resource update follows the results of ARR’s September-October 2023 exploration program as well as additional surface sampling and geological mapping at Halleck Creek. From April 2022 through October 2023, the company has drilled a total of 70 holes and 9,031 metres.
According to the Australia-listed miner, the drilling not only expanded the geological model for Halleck Creek, but also provided data to geo-statistically define measured resource extents at the Overton Mountain area as well as redefine the indicated resource extents at Red Mountain with high degrees of confidence.
“Typically, you’ll see the resource decrease as infill drilling takes place – instead we’re seeing the opposite, with only 25% of the project being drilled to this point,” CEO Donald Swartz said in a news release. “The 64% boost in resources accompanied by a 128% increase in the M+I category, as he points out, are “illustrative of the enormous potential of the project.”
“The low-cost mine plan when combined with the breakthroughs around metallurgy have increased our confidence and excitement about this world class deposit. At 27% MREO, we look forward to releasing the results of the scoping study that is nearing completion,” Swartz added.
On top of the scoping study to evaluate the technical, mining and economic designs for Halleck Creek, which is envisioned to be a traditional open-pit operation, ARR will also need to acquire the necessary licences to explore on Wyoming state mineral leases in order to collect rocks for bulk material testing and pilot-scale metallurgical testwork.
After that, the company will prepare and implement a detailed baseline environmental plan and mining permit to mine on state mineral leases. ARR currently controls approximately 33 sq. km. of mining claims and state mineral leases within the Halleck Creek district.
Shares of American Rare Earths were up 3.9% on the ASX following the resource update, trading at A$0.14 apiece. The company has a market capitalization of A$60.3 million ($39.3m).