Hastings Technology Metals Limited (ASX: HAS) has engaged a drilling contractor for the 2020 Yangibana rare earths exploration programme in the Upper Gascoyne Region of Western Australia.
The priority focus of the programme is to test a series of highly prospective extensional targets within the Yangibana project, with the intention of increasing the existing 21.25Mt JORC Resource and extending planned mine life.
The primary target of the programme is the Bald Hill – Simons Find – Frasers and Auer trends which are the closest deposits to the permitted processing plant.
Drilling is scheduled to commence this week and will run until October 2020, with site preparation and mobilisation of the drilling rig, consumables, field staff and equipment already underway.
Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Reid, said diamond drilling samples are primarily to advance further ongoing ore sorting and processing variability test work programmes, whilst the grade control drilling will be used to validate and quantify the Bald Hill Mineral Resource estimate and convert Resources to Reserves.
Mr Reid said Hastings has spent many months reviewing data illustrating lithological, structural and geochemical controls on mineralisation at Yangibana.
This review, which commenced in early February, has given Hastings geologists an improved understanding of the architecture controlling mineralisation on the project, and in particular the targets where structural control is most likely to have resulted in the emplacement of significant mineralisation.
The aim of the RC drilling is to target immediate extensions to the Bald Hill, Frasers, Auer and Yangibana Rare Earth Deposits, with the aim of adding tonnages to the Mineral Resource and additional mine life,” Mr Reid said.
“This drilling is designed to initiate systematic testing of large strike extensions of the prospective ironstones that have never previously been tested.”
Hastings proposed beneficiation and hydro metallurgy processing plant at Yangibana will treat rare earths deposits, predominantly monazite, hosting high neodymium and praseodymium contents to produce a mixed rare earths carbonate that will be further refined into individual rare earth oxides at processing plants overseas.
Neodymium and praseodymium are vital components in the manufacture of permanent magnets which is used in a wide and expanding range of advanced and high-tech products including electric vehicles, wind turbines, robotics, medical applications and others. Hastings aims to become the next significant producer of neodymium and praseodymium outside of China.
Hastings holds 100% interest in the most significant deposits within the overall project, and 70% interest in additional deposits that will be developed at a later date, all held under Mining Leases. Numerous prospects have been identified warranting detailed exploration to further extend the life of the project.