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Ark Mines (ASX:AHK) has been spared the battering of a red day down under on delivery of its maiden resource for rare earths (REEs) at Sandy Mitchell in north-northeast QLD.

The company has published an indicated mineral resource estimate (MRE) for 21.7Mt of ore at 1,419ppm Monazite Equivalent, “calculated using a 700ppm MzEw lower cut-off grade.”

Ark Mines describes Sandy Mitchell as the first surface-expressed placer REE deposit, with a JORC compliant MRE, on the Australian share market.

The company further expects its MzEq grades to support “strong economics,” boosted by low-cost downstream processing – referring to the price of monazite concentrate. Beneficiation testwork has shown well-established simple gravity separation is able to produce downstream products.

Among the basket of heavy minerals included in the resource – which complement the larger REE mineralisation targets – are included zircon and rutile used in industrial applications, as well as ilmenite and the lesser-known xenotime.

Neodymium-Praseodymium are also present, which are likely the best known magnetic rare earths on the market, with NdPr often touted as a necessary material for a wind turbine engine to work (along with copper and steel.)

Notably, management pointed to a combined heavy minerals grade of 13,450ppm – which works out to be 1.3%, a relatively high grade if taken in aggregate.

Ark’s MRE, published Wednesday, also has room to grow – the company developed the estimate on “only 1.2% of the available anomaly area at Sandy Mitchell.” A further 100sq.km remains “available for further exploration … and [with] substantial potential for MRE expansion.”

Ark Mines Exec Director Ben Emery said the MRE went beyond initial expectations held by the company’s geotech team.

“We have consistency in grade from surface to basement for a basket of high value minerals including combined Heavy Mineral grades of 13,450ppm,” Emery said.

“The commercialisation pathway for Sandy Mitchell is now more clearly defined, given the fact it is the simplest REE style of deposit to mine and beneficiate.

“We are also pleased to have the resource in an Indicated category, which bodes well for our upcoming pre-feasibility study and the Mineral licence application.”

AHK last traded at 13.5cps.

AHK by the numbers
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