Northern Minerals expands NT rare earth target area

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Northern Minerals has been granted 13 additional tenements in the Northern Territory (NT), which has resulted in a significant expansion to the company’s Heavy Rare Earth Element (HREE) target area around the Browns Range Dome.

The tenements cover a combined area of 4,842 square kilometres, situated on the NT side of the company’s Gardiner Tanami and Browns Range project areas.

They include the eastern section of the Browns Range Dome geological structure, and extend southward toward the Tanami Gold mine and are also contiguous with ground where Northern Minerals is currently developing a number of HREE prospects.


Browns Range and Gardiner-Tanami projects – Tenement holdings highlighting newly granted tenements. Source: Company announcement


Northern Minerals said it is now planning to step up regional exploration activity across the newly granted area, which features an established HREE target from historical exploration activity.

This historical prospect is known as Boulder Ridge, and was explored by several companies including PNC Exploration, in the 1970s and 1980s, which resulted in the reporting of rock chip samples with up to 21.7 per cent toatal rare earth oxides.

Northern Minerals will commence an on-ground work program on the tenements once the necessary aboriginal heritage surveys have been completed.

This will include the first HREE exploration on the tenements within the Toro Energy Joint Venture area.

“In essence the acquisition of these additional tenements means that Northern Minerals now holds tenure over virtually the whole of the highly heavy rare earths prospective Brown Range Dome,” Northern Minerals managing director George Bauk said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The area within the latest acquisition has only been lightly explored in the past, but there are historical reports of xenotime mineralisation similar to what we have identified at Browns Range.

“This includes the exciting Boulder Ridge HREE xenotime target, which was identified from historical work.

“We are very keen to now commence a work program including airborne geophysics and reconnaissance mapping, which will initially target the historical occurrences of xenotime.”

Northern Minerals said the regional exploration program was a key to it building a HREE mineral resource in the region.

The company said it was focused on delivering a JORC resource at Wolverine and Gambit in the coming few months, and moving into first production by 2015.

At the same time, it is developing other targets in the region in order to build the company’s mineral inventory.