Rise of a world class rare earths project
Appia drills expand some of the highest REE grades on Earth Metal Tech News – October 14, 2020
Last updated 10/14/2020 at 9:12am
Appia Energy Corp.'s Alces Lake project in Saskatchewan hosts some of the highest rare earth element grades ever discovered and the Toronto-based exploration company is now investigating just how large this potentially world-class rare earths deposit is.
While a resource has yet to be calculated for the high-grade zones discovered in recent years at Alces Lake, drill intercepts of 15.6 meters averaging 16.1% total rare earth oxides and 2.7 meters of 31% TREO indicate the project could host a resource with rare earth grades multiples above the 1.89% average for REE deposits worldwide.
What is even more exciting is four of the most critical rare earths – neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, and terbium – make up nearly 25% of the rare earths in samples collected at Alces Lake.
Situated about 19 miles (30 kilometers) north of the Athabasca Basin area of northern Saskatchewan, Alces Lake is a 35,400-acre (14,300 hectares) property that has been explored for its uranium and rare earths potential since the 1950s.
The true potential of this property, however, was not revealed until Appia geologists collected samples from the Ivan zone that returned grades as high as 35.7% total rare earth oxides. Follow-up surface sampling of Ivan in 2017 turned up even higher grades – 49.6% TREO over 0.95 meters and 45.9% TREO over 1.85 meters. A boulder at Wilson, a zone about 100 meters southeast of Ivan, contained 30.8% TREO.
Surface sampling has also encountered high grades at six other zones – Bell, Charles, Danny, Dante, Hinge, and NW Wilson – near the Ivan discovery.
Drilling over the past couple of years is beginning to reveal that the high-grade rare earths seen on the surface continue undercover.
Highlights from three holes drilled at Ivan in 2019 include:
• 11.7 meters averaging 16.1% TREO, including a 2.7-meter section of 31% TREO in hole IV-19-003.
• 6.5 meters averaging 6.2% TREO, including a 1.1-meter section of 37.6% TREO in IV-19-011.
• 15.6 meters averaging 16.1% TREO, including a 7.9-meters section of 31.3% TREO in IV-19-012.
The 2019 drilling also discovered Richard, a new zone between Wilson and Charles. RI-19-001, the Richard discovery hole, cut 8.9 meters averaging 7.6% TREO.
The 2019 surface exploration discovered eight new zones – Biotite Lake, Bo, Cone, Danny Extension, Jason, Quartzite, Stan, and Thomas – that expanded the known surface rare earth mineralization to a 500- by 1,800-meter area. These discoveries begin to show the potential of sizeable deposit at Alces Lake with world-class rare earth grades.
Though assay results have yet to come back from the lab from 2,507 meters of drilling completed at Alces Lake this year, the geological evidence indicates that the 18 holes drilled this year merged Wilson, Richard, Charles and Bell into a single high-grade rare earths zone, now being referred to as WRCB.
"We have successfully confirmed high-grade mineralization over 145-meter strike length at the WRCB zone, and we've also identified two trends of the system occurring over a 875-meter strike length, which defines our current drill limits," said Appia Energy Vice President of Exploration and Development James Sykes. "The system was intersected down to 340 meters vertical depth, which indicates this system is large and extensive."
In addition to hosting a potentially large rare earths project with world-class grades, Alces Lake has the advantage of being in Saskatchewan, a central Canadian province that is investing in becoming a North American rare earths leader.
In August, the Saskatchewan government announced it is investing C$31 million in a facility with the ability to both concentrate ore and separate the concentrates into individual rare earth elements.
"Appia is very pleased and excited to learn that the Saskatoon rare earth processing plant will be up and running by the end of 2022, especially since it is in such close proximity to Appia's high-grade critical rare earth Alces Lake project," said Appia Energy President and CEO Tom Drivas.
More information on the Saskatchewan rare earths processing facility can be read at Saskatchewan REE separation plant coming in the Sept. 2 edition of Metal Tech News.