We are excited to announce that Ark Mines Ltd (ASX: AHK) has recently completed the acquisition of the ‘Sandy Mitchell’ rare earths project, a valuable opportunity situated in Far North Queensland, Australia. This project, well-advanced and particularly promising, uniquely boasts both light and heavy rare earths, the latter of which includes several high-value elements.
A vast amount of historical work has been conducted at the ‘Sandy Mitchell’ site, owing to its sandy nature that hosts the Rare Earths Elements. Over 100 augur drill holes have been completed, accompanied by sediment and stream sampling, and a great deal of pan concentrates. These collective efforts have granted us a clear picture of the project’s grade.
In 2010, the Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC) carried out an in-depth mineral analysis using Qemscan, which concluded that the Rare Earths at ‘Sandy Mitchell’ were derived from Monazite and Xenotime. This historical work, along with the results from drilling and sampling, is currently being meticulously reviewed by our team at Ark to formulate a first-time mineral resource estimate for the project.
Despite the ongoing review, our team at Ark has strong confidence in the previous exploration efforts. Thus, we have decided to move forward with the application for a Mining Licence. This strategic step would enable us to establish a cost-effective gravity separation and processing operation right on site. Furthermore, considering the project’s prospective nature and historical data, we have initiated applications for 46 subblocks covering an area of 138km around the project.
Given that pan concentrates are the most accurate measure of Rare Earths Elements in sands, our team is planning comprehensive panning around already defined high-grade concentrates.
We managed to secure 100% ownership of the ‘Sandy Mitchell’ project under favourable terms, acquiring it for A$200,000 cash. This became possible due to the previous owner’s declining interest in further exploration and development of the asset.
At Ark, we believe that ‘Sandy Mitchell’ offers us an extraordinary opportunity. It aligns seamlessly with our strategic focus on projects within stable, Tier 1 jurisdictions that hold the potential for near-term, low-cost mining operations.
“Sandy Mitchell stands out with compelling geology and its amenability to a straightforward gravity separation processing. We are making steady progress in reviewing the historical data, and our follow-up exploration will likely focus on defining more pan concentrates across various areas of the tenement,” said our Executive Chairman, Roger Jackson.
Reflecting our confidence in ‘Sandy Mitchell’, we have already begun preliminary discussions with potential customers who are setting up processing operations in Australia. An interesting aspect of our project is the potential extraction of higher-priced Heavy Rare Earths Elements, which have been consistently reported in past evaluations. This aspect, in particular, increases ‘Sandy Mitchell’s’ commercial appeal.
We are eager to get started with additional pan concentrates to develop our geological models. We also promise a regular stream of updates to keep our stakeholders informed about our progress.
In addition to ‘Sandy Mitchell’, we are concurrently advancing our other Queensland assets, particularly the Gunnawarra Nickel Project. We are committed to keeping our shareholders fully informed about our progress on these ventures.