Northern Minerals Starts New Exploration Program at Browns Range

- July 17th, 2018

Browns Range currently has an estimated mine life of 11 years, and the company hopes that its exploration efforts will allow it to boost that number to over 20 years. 

Australia’s Northern Minerals (ASX:NTU) has recommenced exploration at its Browns Range property in Western Australia, with a 5,000-meter reverse-circulation drill program planned. 

The news comes not long after the completion of a pilot plant at Browns Range, an initiative Northern undertook at the beginning of the year. The pilot plant will assess the technical and economic feasibility of a proposed full-scale operation at the site.

Browns Range currently has an estimated mine life of 11 years, and the company hopes that its exploration efforts will allow it to boost that number to over 20 years.

“In reality, we have hardly scratched the surface at Browns Range, with the vast majority of the tenement package yet to be assessed,” George Bauk, Northern’s CEO and managing director, said in a release.

He continued, “[w]ith the processing plant now moving into the operational phase, we are excited to be back on the ground, identifying new deposits and adding value for Northern Minerals’ shareholders.”

Northern Minerals is the sole owner of Browns Range, an asset that will make the company the first significant producer of dysprosium outside of China. Dysprosium is an essential ingredient in the production of DyNdFeB (dysprosium neodymium iron-boron) magnets, which are in increasing demand for clean energy applications and high-tech solutions.

As part of the pilot plant phase, Northern has identified high-priority exploration targets for assessment. This first program will assess the Banshee South, Dazzler, Gambit East and Polaris prospects.

The Iceman prospect will also be drill tested for the first time, with first-pass drilling being conducted along strike to the west of the Wolverine and Gambit West deposits. Both areas were part of a trial mining program commissioned in late 2017.

In 2016, two exploration holes were drilled at Banshee South with promising results. One of the test drill holes returned 4 meters at 1.5 percent total rare earth oxide from 5 meters. The positive results returned from Banshee informed the company’s decision to proceed with exploratory drilling at the site.

Northern expects the Banshee drill program to run for four weeks, with results estimated for release at the end of Q3 in September.

“As commissioning is completed and we move to production in the September quarter, we are also excited about the upside potential that the renewed exploration push will have on securing Browns Range as a long-life operation,” Bauk commented in a June announcement.

Northern’s share price was slightly down on Tuesday (July 17), ending the day at AU$0.084.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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