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Exploring For Unconformity-Related REE Deposits
The Australian Rare Earth Conference, 1 November 2022
A DIVERSIFIED, WELL-FUNDED EXPLORER
Unlocking new Rare Earths and gold discoveries
- Specialist team – proven track record of Rare Earth Elements (REE) discovery and development
- Focused on the greenfields Tanami REE Project, WA:
- 18km long corridor with strong potential for a major new unconformity-hosted heavy REE discovery
- Watts Rise and Castella prospects (Killi Killi), rock chip assays up to12.45% TREO
- HREE mineralogy confirmed as xenotime– Significant high-grade gold potential
- Maiden drill program completed in September this year:
- ~10,000m of RC complete, ~16,000m of AC drilling complete
- Widespread REE mineralisation in initial RC drilling
- Gold drill results up to 8m @ 2.58 g/t Au
WHAT ARE UNCONFORMITY-RELATED REE DEPOSITS (“HURREE”)
Similar geological setting to unconformity-related uranium deposits of Australia and Canada
- HURREE model first proposed by Nazar-Dehkordi et al, 2018 based on Browns Range
- Best known examples at Browns Range – e.g. Wolverine and Gambit deposits
- Browns Range – xenotime-rich veins and breccias
- Watts Rise/Castella (Killi Killi) – xenotime disseminated, in stratiform horizons, or within veins and breccias close to regional unconformity between Palaeoproterozic Killi Killi Formation and overlying younger Pargee Sandstone
- Maw Zone, Athabasca Basin, Canada (Rabiei et al, 2017) – xenotime in brecciated sandstones above regional unconformity
This article includes content from PVW Resources, licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.
Firetail Resources (ASX:FTL) is an Australian exploration company building a strategic portfolio of battery metals in Australia and Peru.
Batteries are a critical foundation of the transition to a greener and more sustainable future. Consequently, between electric vehicles and renewable energy, global demand for batteries is expected to increase from 185 GWh in 2020 to over 2,000 GWh by 2030. This is expected to have a profound impact on the market for battery and base metals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper.
Firetail Resources aims to leverage this significant opportunity to find the critical resources to support the world’s journey to electrification. Under the direction of a proven board and management team with decades of collective experience in mining exploration, development and production, Firetail Resources boasts a diversified asset portfolio with multiple drill-ready targets and advanced exploration projects that all have tremendous potential to increase shareholder value.
Firetail's Australian Yalgoo-Dalgaranga, Mt. Slopeaway and Paterson projects are all located in proven geologic domains and display significant upside for substantial mineral resources. The company's more recent acquisition of two projects in Peru strongly complements these assets.As the world's third-largest copper producer, Peru has a massive mining industry with a strong prominence in the country’s national economy. Long recognized as an excellent, low-risk mining jurisdiction, the country recently approved roughly $600 million worth of new mining projects. Unsurprisingly, nearly every major global mining company is either operating in the jurisdiction or is aware of it.
Although only recently acquired, Firetail's Picha Copper project is now one of its most promising assets. The Picha Project was acquired as part of a deal that includes a farm-in agreement with Barrick Gold Corporation (TSE:ABX) for an earn-in of up to 70 percent interest in the Charaque Project.
Picha is located along a NNW regional trend of carbonate-replacement (CRD) and epithermal deposits, including the San Gabriel Gold Project (Buenaventura NYSE:BVN), which is fully permitted and in construction; and the Berenguela Ag, Cu, Mn, Zn Deposit (Aftermath Silver TSXV:AAG).
With a diversified portfolio of battery and base metals assets in two leading mining jurisdictions, Firetail is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the transition to green energy, driving considerable shareholder value in the process.
- Demand for batteries is expected to exponentially increase by 2030, consequently driving the demand for battery and base metals.
- An Australian exploration company, Firetail Resources is well-positioned to take advantage of this market trend via a portfolio of Australian and Peruvian battery metals projects.
- Firetail's drill-ready assets are supported by smart field exploration and drilling programs to unlock their resource potential and increase shareholder value.
- The company's current portfolio of assets includes lithium, copper, cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, lead, zinc and nickel.
- All of Firetail's exploration activities are directed by a board and management team with a proven track record in mineral exploration, development and production.
Located in Southern Peru's Moquegua and Puno departments, Picha represents Firetail's most recent acquisition. Intended as a complement to the company's portfolio of battery metals assets, the highly prospective 200-square-kilometre copper project hosts multiple drill-ready targets which Firetail plans to test in the coming months. Picha was obtained as part of a deal that included a farm-in agreement with Barrick Gold Corporation for the Charaque Project located 30 kilometres to the northeast.
Firetail recently confirmed its official drill permit for Picha and site preparations are underway for a October drilling campaign.
- Promising Geology: Picha is located within Peru's Epithermal Au-Ag-Cu-Pb-Zn metallogenic zone along a north-northwest regional trend of carbonate-replacement and epithermal deposits.
- Nearby Projects: Picha is situated roughly 17 kilometres east-northeast of Compania de Minas Buenaventura's San Gabriel gold-copper-silver project, which hosts:
- Reserves of 14.9 Mt with 4.04 grams per ton (g/t) gold and 6.43 g/t silver representing 1.94 Moz gold.
- Resources of 24.86 Mt with 2.10 g/t gold and 8.46 g/t silver.
- Multiple Mineralisation: The project is prospective for multiple styles of copper mineralisation, including epithermal, stratabound, polymetallic carbonate replacement and porphyry-style. It also hosts several untested and geologically significant geochemical and geophysical anomalies, displaying similar mineralisation to the Storm/Seal copper project on Somerset Island.
- Significant Exploration Potential: Firetail has identified 13 exploration targets through a combination of geological mapping, surface sampling and geophysical surveys. Thus far, the company has collected 651 rock/chip samples and 289 soil samples and performed 118 line-kilometre IPs and 240 line-kilometre magnetic surveys. Highlights of its exploration work include:
- Widespread surface copper mineralisation coincident with IP anomalies.
- Channel Sample Results
- Cobremani: 41.6 metres at 1.12 percent copper and 22.85 g/t gold.
- Maricate: 17.6 metres at 1.95 percent copper and 29.58 g/t gold.
- Cumbre Coya: 32.85 metres at 0.61 percent copper and 209.76 g/t gold.
- Fundicion Target: Identification of a large chargeability anomaly reflecting potential sulphide mineralisation and/or alteration at depth indicative of a large porphyry body. This anomaly is roughly 2 kilometres long and 2 kilometres across at its widest point.
- Additional Drill Targets: Firetail's second IP survey revealed additional anomalies, including:
- Ichucollo: Semi-contiguous 2.5-kilometre long IP anomaly with coincident surface mineralisation and sample results of 24 metres at 1.08 percent copper, 13 metres at 1.38 percent copper and 30 metres at 0.79 percent copper. Manto-type mineralisation at the target's southern end also averages 1.45 percent copper over 18 metres.
- Huancune: A 1.5-kilometre long anomaly coincident with surface mineralisation. Multiple channel samples ranging from less than 0.5 percent copper up to 3.95 percent copper.
The Charaque Copper Project is located roughly 30 kilometres northeast of Firetail's Picha project, consisting of eight claims covering roughly 60 square kilometres. The region around the project is an active exploration area where multiple leading mining companies maintain significant landholdings, including Barrick Gold, Teck Resources (TSE:TECK.B) and Fresnillo (LON:FRES).
Charaque was acquired via a farm-in agreement between Firetail and Barrick Gold which entitles the latter to earn up to a 70 percent interest in the project.
Yalgoo & Dalgaranga (Lithium)
Firetail's Yalgoo and Dalgaranga lithium projects collectively span more than 1,750 square kilometres in Western Australia's highly prospective Murchison region. Located close to Geraldton Port and with easy access to all necessary infrastructure, the two projects host known lithium-caesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatites with a strong rubidium association. Firetail recently completed a small maiden drilling program in the Johnson Well area of Yalgoo, itself the site of a historic lepidolite mine.
Rock chip sampling of surrounding areas is ongoing along with a detailed analysis of lithium prospectivity. Results and a project update are expected within four to six weeks.
- Yalgoo Exploration Results: Thus far, exploration at Yalgoo has returned highly promising results, including:
- A 25-kilometre "Goldilocks Zone" at Yalgoo confirmed to host LCT pegmatites with historic results of up to 3.75 percent lithium oxide.
- Rock chip assay results of up to 0.54 percent lithium oxide and under 1 percent rubidium.
- High-grade rubidium, including 10 metres at 0.44 percent rubidium from 10 metres.
- Dalgaranga Exploration Results: Firetail has completed detailed geological mapping in the project's north, returning anomalous lithium, rubidium, caesium and tantalum values indicative of LCT pegmatites. The company plans to undertake further mapping in the area.
- Dalgaranga's Strong Prospectivity: Dalgaranga counts several advanced critical minerals projects amongst its neighbours which together confirm its prospectivity:
- King Tamba (ASX:KTA): Maiden mineral resource estimate (MRE) of 5 Mt at 0.14 percent rubidium oxide with a lithium oxide credit. Open mineralisation in all directions with a planned infill drill program to expand MRE.
- Aldoro Resources Limited (ASX:ARN): Aldoro's Niobe Tantalum-Lithium project has delivered a maiden inferred JORC MRE of 4.6 Mt at 0.17 percent rubidium oxide and 0.07 percent lithium oxide. Potential to upgrade is present thanks to mineralisation at shallow depth.
- Farm-in Agreement on Southern Yalgoo Tenement: Completion of the farm-in agreement completed with SensOre (ASX:S3N), through its joint-venture subisidiary Exploration Ventures AI Pty (EXAI) in partnership with German resource investment group Deutsche Rohstoff AG, on tenement E59/E2252, a part of the Firetail Yalgoo Lithium Project. As per the agreement, EXAI is to earn up to 80 percent of lithium rights on E59/E2252 by spending $3.5 million in two stages. Additional considerations of up to $600,000 will be fulfilled upon the delivery of maiden mineral resource estimate (MRE) and pre-feasibility study (PFS). SensOre will further provide Firetail access to its proprietary AI technology across the Yalgoo and Dalgaranga Lithium Projects. The two companies will work closely together to identify and confirm Lithium exploration targets in the region.
Mt. Slopeaway (Nickel)
Situated in Central Queensland, Firetail's Mt. Slopeaway Nickel Project contains an existing JORC 2012-compliant inferred mineral resource of 4 MT at 1 percent nickel, 0.2 percent cobalt and 1 percent manganese. Having recently been awarded project status, Firetail plans to conduct environmental and heritage surveys. Planning of an onsite drilling program is also underway.
- Current Progress: In addition to drilling, heritage and environmental surveys, highlights of Firetail's work at Mt. Slopeaway include:
- Development of a geological model indicative of a manganese-cobalt-nickel layer at the base of a limonite section.
- Finalisation of a project land access agreement and completion of site earthworks.
- Phase 1 reverse circulation (RC) drilling with results exceeding historical nickel and cobalt assay data.
- A planned Phase 2 RC and diamond drilling program to upgrade the project's current resource classification.
- Extensional drilling to potentially expand the project's current inferred resource.
- Drilling Results: A drilling program completed in Q4 2022 returned up to 51 metres of thick laterite nickel-cobalt mineralisation.
Firetail's Paterson Copper Project spans five tenements across roughly 1,000 square kilometres in Western Australia. Heritage agreements for the project are in place and desktop studies are currently progressing, with multiple prospective target areas identified for drilling.
- Shallow Intercepts: Paterson displays the shallowest known historical gold/copper intercepts in the region, with up to 6.5 percent copper, 0.99 g/t gold and copper, 0.99 g/t gold and 1,330 parts per million (ppm) molybdenum across an approximately 50-metre wide magnetite alteration zone.
- Drilling Targets: Paterson has identified the following potential targets for drilling at Paterson:
- 87WDRC2: 17 metres at 1.6 percent copper and 317 ppm molybdenum including 9 metres at 2.6 percent copper and 456 ppm molybdenum from 84 metres.
- 87WDRC6: 9 metres at 2 percent copper and 272 ppm molybdenum including 5 metres at 3.1 percent copper and 430 ppm molybdenum from 84 metres.
- 87WDRC8: 11 metres at 1.5 percent copper and 181 ppm molybdenum including 7 metres at 2.1 percent copper and 250 ppm molybdenum from 83 metres.
- 87WDRC14: 13 metres at 1.1 percent copper including 6 metres at 2 percent copper from 107 metres.
Brett Grosvenor — Executive Chair
Brett Grosvenor is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in the mining and power industry. He holds a dual tertiary qualification in engineering and a Master in Business. Prior to his current position, Grosvenor was the director of development at Primero Group, focused on the development of projects from an initial concept through to contract delivery and operation.
Grosvenor is currently a director of ASX-listed Perpetual Resources and Firebird Metals. He is a member of the project steering group for Patriot Battery Metals and also the Australian Industry Consultation Group for Battery and Critical Minerals.
Simon Lawson — Non-executive Director
Simon Lawson is a professional geoscientist with more than 16 years operational experience spanning multiple commodities and jurisdictions, and was a founding member of Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST).
He holds a Master of Science in geology from Auckland University and has more than 15 years of exploration, production and management experience in gold and base metals. He is currently the managing director of Spartan Resources (ASX:SPR) formerly Gascoyne Resources (ASX:GCY).
Cai Kecheng — Non-executive Director
Cai Kecheng is a representative of Hong Kong Jayson Mining Co. (Jayson), a substantial shareholder of Firetail. Kecheng has over eighteen years of experience in financial investment and corporate strategy. He is currently the associate president and head of investment & strategy for Jayson. Prior to that, he served as managing director at a number of private equity firms in Shanghai
George Bauk — Non-executive Director
George Bauk is an experienced director with over 17 years as a listed company director and 30 years within the resources industry including global operational and corporate roles.
He has experience managing everything from exploration to production in Australia and internationally, with expertise across a variety of commodities including rare earths, lithium, graphite, gold, uranium and copper. During his time as managing director of Northern Minerals, he led his team from a greenfields heavy rare earth explorer to one of the few global producers of high-value dysprosium outside of China.
Alongside his position as director at Firetail, he is also an executive chairman of ASX-listed Valor Resources (ASX:VAL) and Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT), as well as an executive director of PVW Resources (ASX:PVW).
Robin Wilson — Technical Director
Robin Wilson has held senior exploration positions in several exploration and mining companies, including Valor Resources, Polaris Metals, Tanganyika Gold, Troy Resources, CRA Exploration and Northern Minerals. He has also spent five years working in oil and gas exploration for Woodside Energy.
During nearly 30 years of involvement in mineral exploration, Wilson has worked on gold, nickel, REE, uranium, copper, lithium and phosphate projects throughout Australia, Africa, South America and North America and was involved in the initial discovery and outlining of several gold deposits in Australia. Between 2006 and 2021 he led the Northern Minerals exploration team that discovered the Browns Range REE deposits that have advanced through development to production of HRE carbonate.
Frank Bierlein — Technical Consultant
Dr. Frank Bierlein is a geologist with 30 years of experience as a consultant, researcher, lecturer and industry professional. He served on the Firetail board of directors from the time of its listing on ASX in April 2022 until July 2023. He remains a technical consultant to Firetail, in particular for ongoing technical work on the Mt Slopeaway Project.
Bierlein has held exploration and generative geology management positions with QMSD Mining, Qatar Mining, Afmeco Australia and Areva NC and consulted for, among others, Newmont Gold, Resolute Mining, Goldfields International, Freeport McMoRan and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
He is currently a Non-executive director of Blackstone Minerals, Impact Minerals and Variscan Mines.
Leon Bagas — Senior Exploration Geologist
Leon Bagas is an exploration geologist with forty years of industry experience. He has held senior exploration roles with multiple Australian companies and senior research positions for the University of Western Australia.
Bagas is highly experienced in developing mineralisation models using geochemistry and geochronology. Combined with his proficiency in the field, this makes Bagas an excellent candidate to assist in the development of the exploration and drilling programs at Firetail's Paterson Orogen and Yalgoon-Dalgaranga project areas.
Phillip Mackenzie — Senior Exploration Geologist
Phillip Mackenzie has worked in Central Queensland over several decades, exploring the Marlborough and Yeppoon terrain to assess and explore for nickel, cobalt, chromite, magnesite and gold related to the Princhester Serpentinite. His work included management of projects and teams to perform activities ranging from regional sampling to resource drilling. As a result of his work, several hundred drill holes targeting lateritic nickel and cobalt were assessed and an indicated resource determined for a mining lease.