Desoto Resources Sets Sight On Unlocking Rare Earth Opportunity In The NT

DeSoto Resources Ltd (ASX:DES) has enhanced its landholding in the Northern Territory by acquiring the Spectrum rare earth element (REE) project.

Spectrum is strategically located inside DeSoto’s existing Fenton Project, with the company well positioned with a team on the ground ready to explore.

DeSoto plans to spend A$2 million for exploration activities at Spectrum in its first 15 months, supported by the company’s A$6 million cash position.

Watch: DeSoto Resources MD Chris Swallow Tells JustStocks Video More About New High-Grade Rare Earths Acquisition

Uranium-focused drilling hits REEs

Interestingly, historical uranium-focused drilling at Spectrum, completed before REEs were recognised as a valuable critical minerals opportunity, intersected high-grade REEs.

REEs were identified over 350m of a potential 4.5km strike along the Fenton Shear Zone (FSZ) corridor, with mineralisation open to the north and south.

Highlight drill results include:

  • 50m (metres) at 1.55% TREO (total rare earth oxides) from 245m including 6m at 6.55% TREO from 248m; and
  • 21.9m at 2.55% TREO from 276m, including 9.2m at 3.78% TREO from 288m.

Emerging rare earths hub

Rare earth exploration is gaining traction in the Northern Territory, signifying a turning point for the region.

A prime example is the Nolans Rare Earths Project owned by Arafura Resources Ltd (ASX: ARU).

Backing this initiative is the Australian Government, committing up to $840 million (US$550 million) to support the development of Australia’s inaugural combined rare earths mine and refinery in the Northern Territory.

Capitalising on the region’s REE potential

DeSoto Managing Director Chris Swallow: “This highly complementary acquisition gives us a strategic, critical minerals position in the Northern Territory.

“With the confirmed mineralisation and supporting geophysical anomalies in the surrounding Fenton Project, we are now positioned for an accelerated phase of exploration and drilling.

“Moreover, the recent government investment to expedite rare earths mining in the Northern Territory perfectly aligns with this new acquisition, enhancing our capacity to capitalise on the region’s REE potential.”

China’s rare earth dominance

REEs are vital components in various high-tech and green energy applications.

However, China controls ~90% of all rare earth oxide production and almost 100% of significant heavy rare earths.

The country’s monopolistic tactics create risks for supply disruptions and price volatility, showcasing the demand for rare earths production ex-China.

To counter this, Australian mining companies and the government are supporting projects to enhance domestic REE mining and processing.

Base metals potential

In addition to the REE potential, Spectrum contains a strong EM (electromagnetic) anomaly identified in a SkyTEM survey co-funded by DeSoto and the NT Government.

This 2km long by 0.5km wide anomaly known as “Vesper” is located ~1.5km to the southwest of the Quantum REE-gold-silver discovery.

The discrete mid to late time EM anomaly is associated with a high magnetic intensity anomaly.

It is also associated with a strong, semi-coincident copper-lead-zinc anomaly identified by Homestake.

Next steps

  • Due diligence and compilation of project data.
  • Ground gravity and ground Fixed Loop Electro Magnetic surveys over the Quantum and Vesper targets to assist in drill planning.
  • Commitment of 3,500m of RC/DD drilling planned in first 15 months across the REE and base metal targets.
  • Develop working geological and mineralisation models for antiformal hinge zone style REE-gold-silver mineralisation and base-metal +/- uranium skarn style deposits.
  • Re-evaluate DeSoto and Homestake drilling results to determine if any analogous REE mineralisation is present.

 

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