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  • AusQuest (AQD) claims it’s identified the potential of both base metals and rare earth elements at the Balladonia project in Western Australia.
  • The company said recent drilling results from the Telegraph Prospect at Balladonia, coupled with earlier drilling figures from the Cantebury Prospect, indicates the potential of widespread carbonatite activity.
  • AusQuest will now explore the similarities between what it has found in the Balladonia region to the prolific Eastern Succession in north-west Queensland, which has been mined for base metals for over half a century.
  • Despite the encouraging results the company said it will need to conduct further drilling to fully grasp the potential of the region.
  • Company shares fell 15.4 per cent to be selling for 1.1 cents each at market close.

Australian mining outfit AusQuest (AQD) claims it has identified the potential for base metals and rare earth elements (REE) at the Balladonia project in Western Australia.

The company said recent drilling results from the Telegraph Prospect at Balladonia, coupled with earlier drilling figures from the Cantebury Prospect, indicates the potential of widespread carbonatite activity.

Carbonatites are a type of igneous rock which are a major source of REE worldwide.

AusQuest will now explore the similarities between what it has found in the Balladonia region to the prolific Eastern Succession in north-west Queensland, which has been mined for base metals for over half a century.

The findings

The company said the assay results within the last 12 months from the diamond drilling program at Telegraph have confirmed the presence of a carbonatite intrusion with a layered sovite core beneath the silica-clay alteration intersected by the earlier air-core and Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling.

The sovite core was intersected in three of the four holes drilled, and contains between 20 to 35 per cent Oxocalcium and 15 to 25 per cent Magnesium Oxide, indicating the presence of a highly fractionated evolving system that is capable of producing both base metal and REE concentrations under the right conditions.

The carbonatite has an iron-manganese-potassium alteration halo which grades outwards into potassic only alteration which in turn is overprinted by the silica-clay alteration that contains half a dozen anomalous base metals including Zinc and Silver.

After detailed geochemical assessments, the company now believes that base metal mineralisation occurs to the south and east of the current drilling, below the anomalous copper, silver and zinc values that occur within the silica-clay alteration zone near the eastern margin of the target.

What’s next?

Similarities between the Balladonia region in WA and the Eastern Succession of north-west Queensland (to the east of Mt Isa) are also now being explored by the company, following the discovery of carbonatite activity at Balladonia.

The Eastern Succession, which has been explored by many companies over the past 50 years, contains numerous base metal mines as well as documented REE prospects within the same belts of rock that host copper, silver, lead and zinc mines.

AusQuest’s Managing Director, Graeme Drew, said the exciting discovery of carbonatite activity within the Balladonia region would provide new exploration opportunities for the company.

“While we are still working on the implications of this development, we are excited about what it could mean and geological comparisons with the Eastern Succession in north-west Queensland only add to our strong interest in the area,” he said.

“It’s important to remember that developing a solid understanding of geological context and what it means for discovery potential only comes from drilling, and our drilling activity is still at a really early stage in this region.

“We look forward to reporting further on the Balladonia Project over the coming months.”

Company shares closed at 15.4 per cent to be selling for 1.1 cents each.

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