Western Rare Earths: La Paz Scandium and Rare Earths Project Drilling Approvals Received

Newsfile Corp.
·11 min read

Highlights

  • Drilling permit approvals received

  • Exempted from Biden Administration moratorium

  • Project drilling in its second decade of development

  • Advancing on recommendations of 2020 Technical Report

  • Potential Scandium resource opportunity

  • Drilling to double the depth of the current resource

  • 50% larger drilling program planned

  • Potential to expand and upgrade the resource

  • Friendly jurisdiction confirmed

Phoenix, Arizona--(Newsfile Corp. - March 9, 2021) - Western Rare Earths ("WRE") ("the Company") is pleased to provide the following activities update as it develops the La Paz Scandium and Rare Earths Project on behalf of its publicly traded, Australian parent company American Rare Earths Limited (ASX: ARR).



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Drilling Permit Approvals Received

Western Rare Earths (Company) is pleased to announce that it has received approval of all necessary permits to begin its 2021 Core Drilling campaign at the La Paz Scandium and Rare Earth Project.

The La Paz Scandium and Rare Earth Project is a low-grade, critical mineral target with the extraordinary advantage of its sheer volume, and possible opportunity for 1) simple concentration via magnetics, 2) ultra-low penalty element content (Thorium <7ppm), and 3) low cost of open-pit production. In addition, the project has the advantage of being in a Fraser Institute global Top 10 mining friendly jurisdiction, and is one of the very few mining asset classes referenced favorably by the Biden Administration.

Work project exempted from Biden Administration moratorium

On the day of inauguration of US President Joe Biden, the new Acting Secretary of the Interior called for a 60-day halt on grounding disturbing activity approvals on federal lands. This created some confusion within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) around ongoing processing of the permit applications for the La Paz Scandium and Rare Earth Project drilling campaign. After internal deliberations by the relevant government agencies and inquiries by elected officials on behalf of WRE, the BLM permit application quickly received approval. This occurred while developers in the fossil fuel industry remain held up on ground disturbing activity approvals due to the moratorium by the new Administration.

Project drilling in its second decade of development

La Paz was first drilled in 2011 and a maiden resource was established according to National Instrument 43-101 guidelines. In 2011, the resource was established via 195 extremely shallow percussion drill holes to 30 metres. In 2020 this data was reviewed to confirm the previous defined resource when the parent company (ARR) announced the first formal JORC 2012 classified resource estimate of 128.2Mt @ 373.4ppm (0.037%) Total Rare Earth Elements ("TREE") for the Company's wholly owned La Paz Rare Earths Project in Arizona, USA [refer ASX Release: 11 November 2020].

The updated classification followed an extensive review of the La Paz Rare Earths Project by Chief Technical Consultant and Consulting Geologist Mr Jim Guilinger (Competent Person), who brought the project within reporting requirements for mineral resource inventories in compliance with JORC 2012 protocols.

The new inventory description in Table 1 below is a straight conversion of the resource estimate with no change in actual classified mineralised volumes under either code.

Mr Guilinger, who reviewed the La Paz Project, is a Competent Person (CP) under JORC 2012 and NI 43-101 standards. He is also head of Colorado-based independent consultants World Industrial Minerals LLC.

La Paz Resource Estimate 2012 JORC


Mt

Grade (%)

Contained REE (kg)

Contained REE (Mlbs)

Inferred

112

0.037

37,586,080

83.3

Indicated

16.2

0.037

5,436,558

12.1

Total

128.2

0.037

43,022,638

95.4


Table 1: La Paz Rare Earths Project JORC 2012 Classified Mineral Resource Estimate

Advancing on Recommendations of the 2020 Technical Report

In the Recommendations section of the 2020 JORC 2012 compliant technical report, Mr Guilinger stated that "it is imperative that better quality samples in the form of cores be drilled in select high-grade areas previously identified by the percussion drilling. Additionally, scandium recovery needs to be investigated." [Refer ASX Release: 24 November 2020 for full Technical Report]

Potential Scandium Resource Opportunity

Additionally, in the Recommendations section of the 2020 JORC 2012 compliant technical report, Mr Guilinger states that "Scandium values tend to be high also in areas of high ppm TREE so the drilling will also likely identify a scandium resource greater than 11ppm." Therefore the company will utilise the core drill assay results from this campaign to determine if a maiden resource of Scandium can be established, concomitant and additional to the Rare Earths resource estimate of 128.2Mt. Also in the Interpretation and Conclusions section of the 2020 JORC 2012 compliant technical report, Mr Guilinger states that, "After the planned 2021 drilling program we expect to be able to upgrade the Rare Earths resource and separately establish a maiden resource for Scandium."

Developing a new Scandium resource estimate in the United States is especially attractive to the Company for several reasons. According to the US Geological Survey's 2021 Mineral Commodity Summaries publication: "Domestically, scandium was neither mined nor recovered from process streams or mine tailings in 2020. Limited capacity to produce ingot and distilled scandium metal existed at facilities in Ames, IA; Tolleson, AZ." Notably, Tolleson, AZ is only 200km from the La Paz Project site.

Additionally, Scandium, along with Rare Earths, was identified by the US Government on its Final List of Crital Minerals pursuant to a 2017 Presidential Executive Order. This list targets "mineral commodities that are vital to the Nation's security and economic prosperity. This dependency of the United States on foreign sources creates a strategic vulnerability for both its economy and military…"

Drilling to Double the Depth of the Current Resource

As stated by Mr Guilinger (CP) in the the 2020 JORC 2012 compliant technical report Interpretations and Conclusions, "a detailed review of the previous drilling at different elevations indicates opportunity for more than 60m thickness of higher-grade Rare Earths values in the lower plate gneiss. Thus, the topography lends itself to the opportunity to substantially increase the resource by deeper drilling in the lower plate, where higher grade Rare Earths is prevalent. This analysis supports the plan for a core drilling campaign to 61M depths…"

50% larger drilling program planned

The nine (9) drill holes to 61 metres each is 50% more than the six (6) holes originally announced by the Company. In addition to further exploring the maiden resource area, the expanded campaign allows for reconnaissance at depth in the new project areas southwest of the maiden resource. This may indicate the possibility that the ore body extends several kilometres as indicated by robust surface sample results similar to those in the maiden resource area. See attached map (figure 2) for drill hole locations and areas of surface samples similar to the resource area.

Potential to expand and upgrade the resource

The core samples have two major purposes, first to explore the opportunity to expand and upgrade the resource in both size and grade. As mentioned above and referencing the Interpretation and Conclusions section of the 2020 JORC 2012 compliant technical report, Mr Guilinger states that "After the planned 2021 drilling program we expect to be able to upgrade the Rare Earths resource…" The second purpose of collecting core is to provide material for advanced metallurgical work by both proven traditional methods as well as promising high efficiency new technologies.

Friendly jurisdiction

The project is located in La Paz County, Arizona USA approximately 200km north-west of Phoenix and 320km south-east of Mountain Pass (the only operating Rare Earths mine in the USA). The project is surrounded by world class infrastructure within a mining friendly jurisdiction and accessed via paved and well-maintained dirt roads (Figure 1).

The permit approvals for the drilling campaign have included the BLM, which is the largest land holder of the US Government on behalf of the Department of the Interior. These federal lands have the unique position of requiring no mineral revenues royalty from producing mines, thus improving the potential economic viability of projects on BLM land.

Approvals were also granted by the Arizona State Land Department and the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

The Company engaged approved experts for surveys to support the applications. These experts completed the appropriate, detailed plant survey and an archeological survey report. The Company has been keen to maintain a collaborative and professional relationship with the permitting authorities, developing positive relationships for future permitting. After multiple delays due to the US elections closing some offices temporarily and the Arizona area being one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 Pandemic, permits were issued. The Company reports that the State of Arizona is living up to its reputation of being a Fraser Institute #2 ranked mining friendly jurisdiction globally.

Additionally, the local community of La Paz County has been exceptionally supportive. Notably supplying the water needed by the drilling crew in short order at a fair market price. The Economic Development Agency of La Paz County and elected County Supervisors have made this project a top priority for support due to the potential for bringing jobs to a high poverty area.



Figure 1: Location of La Paz Scandium & Rare Earths Project in the US State of Arizona.

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Figure 2: La Paz Proposed Drill Hole Locations


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This press release is based on an earlier market announcement by the parent company (ASX: ARR) that was authorised for release to the market by the Board of American Rare Earths Limited.

This press release refers to information extracted from market announcements, which are available for viewing on ARR's website https://americanrareearths.com.au

ARR confirms it is not aware of any new information or data that materially affects the information included in the original market announcements, and, in the case of estimates of Mineral Resources, that all material assumptions and technical parameters underpinning the estimates in the relevant market announcements continue to apply and have not materially changed. ARR confirms that the form and context in which the Competent Person's findings presented have not been materially modified from the original market announcements.

Competent Persons Statement: The information in this report that relates to Exploration Results is based on information compiled by Mr. Jim Guilinger. Mr. Guilinger is a Member of a Recognised Overseas Professional Organisation included in a list promulgated by the ASX (SME Registered Member of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Inc). Mr. Guilinger is Principal of independent consultants World Industrial Minerals LLC. Mr. Guilinger has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity which they are undertaking as a Competent Person as defined in the 2012 Edition of the 'Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves'. Mr. Guilinger consents to the inclusion in the report of the matters based on their information in the form and context in which it appears.

About Western Rare Earths

Western Rare Earths (WRE) is progressing assets in the growing rare earth metals sector, itself emerging as an alternative international supply chain to counter China's market dominance of a global rare earth market expected to balloon to US$20 billion by the mid-2020s. WRE owns 100% of the world-class La Paz Scandium and Rare Earths project, located 170km northwest of Phoenix, Arizona. The project's highly shallow 2012 JORC resource (128.2Mt @ 373.4ppm (0.037%) Total Rare Earth Elements), is less than 30m below surface and is contained within just 525 acres of the total La Paz footprint of 5,143 acres that points to potential resource upside. As a large tonnage, bulk deposit, La Paz is also potentially the largest, rare earth deposit in the USA and benefits from containing very low penalty elements such as radioactive thorium and uranium. WRE plans to deliver its first Preliminary Economic Assessment for La Paz in late 2021 and is working with leading USA research institutions to have La Paz's mineral profile incorporated into emerging US advanced rare earth processing technologies. WRE is also acquiring a second USA rare earth asset, the Laramie REE project in Albany County, Wyoming. Transaction completion is due by mid-2021.

Tel +1 623 469 0000 Email info@westernrareearths.com Web: https://westernrareearths.com

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