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EANS-News: Tantalus Rare Earths AG
Drilling Update (with document)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Corporate news transmitted by euro adhoc. The issuer/originator is solely responsible for the content of this announcement. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Company Information/Drilling Update Düsseldorf (euro adhoc) - Tantalus Rare Earths AG Drilling Update (Tantalus Rare Earths AG, Düsseldorf, June 28th 2011) The Directors of Tantalus Rare Earths AG ("TRE"), the German exploration company exploring a primary bedrock rare earth mineralisation and a very extensive, secondary rare earth mineralisation at surface in north-western Madagascar (the "TRE Project"), are pleased to provide the following update on its exploration activities. Highlights: Latest drilling results confirm the top surface layer contains continuous rare earth ("REE") mineralisation. The ratio of more valuable heavy rare earths to light rare earths is consistently in the range of 20:80. China Nonferrous Metal Industry´s Foreign Engineering & Construction Co. LTD recently conducted a field visit and sampled the REE bearing argillaceous laterites. The samples are currently being analysed and processed in China. China Nonferrous Metals´ technical staff believe these argillaceous laterites are potentially comparable to the heavy REE ("HREE") bearing clays mined in southern China. As previously announced, TRE entered into a memorandum of understanding with China Nonferrous Metals. TRE is conducting metallurgical testwork in three separate laboratories, one in conjunction with China Nonferrous Metals in China, one in Germany and one in South Africa. The aim of the test work is to identify as soon as possible a low-cost extraction process through leaching or combined magnetic/gravity separation. Initial test work suggests a combined magnetic/gravity concentrate of mineral phases containing REE, plus tantalum, niobium, zirconium, tin and perhaps gallium can be extracted, which has potential to add significant value to the project. Pitting on Target 4, which potentially has REE bearing argillaceous laterites over 30 sq km, is progressing well. To-date, 113 pits have been excavated, with another 14 in progress. The first of five `man portable´ drill rigs ("window samplers") have reached the site, with the remaining four expected to arrive in early July 2011. Diamond drilling has continued on the hard rock REE target sites. At Target 1 - Ampasibitika, a total of 11,151 m has been drilled to date. The Group recently hired eight Malagasy junior geologists in order to accelerate its exploration activities and now employs a total of two senior geologists and 12 junior geologists. Background: The TRE Project is an exploration project located in north-western Madagascar and comprises rare earth-tantalum-niobium-zirconium-hafnium enriched dykes and sills and REE bearing argillaceous laterites derived from the weathering of underlying alkaline intrusives. Previous exploration, most notably an airborne geophysical survey, has defined three main zones with bedrock REE mineralisation, which TRE has targeted as separate prospects. These have been identified as radiometric anomalous areas as well as from surface mapping and sampling. The three main prospects for bedrock REE mineralisation are: Target 1 - Ampasibitika - approximately 6 km long this target is located on the north eastern coastal regions of the Ampasibitika intrusion; drilling to date has concentrated here, Target 2 - Ambaliha - around 3 km long this target has three sub-parallel anomalous areas to the north west of Ampasibitika; and Target 3 - Befitina - two sub-parallel, approximately 3 km long zones of minor dykes and REE mineralised argillaceous laterites to the west and south west of the Ampasibitika intrusion. There are early indications that in fact most of the alkaline intrusive bodies are overlain by REE bearing argillaceous laterites. TRE is therefore considering the whole area underlain by alkaline intrusives (150 to 170 km²) as prospective for secondary REE mineralisation in the weathering crust. In a first step, TRE has subdivided the following target zones: Target 4 - Caldera, the centre of the Ampasibitika intrusion with a surface area of approximately 31 km²; Target 5 - Ampasibitika South, the southern 6 km long extension of Target 1; besides REE bearing argillaceous laterites this prospect could also hold primary, i.e. bedrock hosted REE mineralisation. Target 6 - Antsirabe North, the area south of the main intrusion with a surface area of approximately 8.5 km². The Argillaceous Laterites Results for a further 38 diamond drill holes from Target 1 (Ampasibitika) have been received (see Table 1 below). All drill holes intersected REE mineralisation in the overlaying layer of argillaceous laterites. This further confirms the occurrence of a widespread, continuous REE mineralisation in the top surface layer. The latest results indicate average total rare earth oxide ("TREO") grades (771 ppm) and the percentage of heavy rare earth oxides (17% of TREO) of the mineralised surface layer is slightly lower than in the previous sample batch. However, the average thickness of the surface layer is considerably higher, adding more tonnage of potential ore. The average thickness of these mineralised argillaceous laterites is approximately 9 m, whereas earlier results indicated an average thickness of 7.62 m. Average thorium and uranium grades remain low, with 51 ppm for ThO2 and 10 ppm for U3O8. Gallium grades were again on average 38ppm Ga in the argillaceous laterites. Core Drilling Diamond drilling has continued on Target 1. To date, a total of 11,151 m has been drilled. A large number of holes have intersected primary (i.e. vein and skarn hosted) REE mineralisation. Several drill holes have intersected multiple mineralised zones, some of which are the widest mineralised zones so far encountered, reaching locally 29 m drilled width. The percentage of heavy rare earth oxides ("HREO") is constantly around 20% of TREO. Although the mineralisation is relatively low grade, the higher proportion of more valuable HREO suggests potentially high revenue per tonne if the ore proves amenable to a low cost extraction process. Metallurgical Testwork Detailed mineralogical work on the REE bearing argillaceous is ongoing and the primary REE-Ta-Nb-Zr-mineralisation has already been studied in detail. The secondary REE-(Ta-Nb-Zr) mineralisation of the argillaceous laterites is undergoing detailed metallurgical testwork by both China Nonferrous Metals and TRE´s independent metallurgical consultants, Metallicon in South Africa. These studies aim to demonstrate as soon as possible that a low-cost leaching process to recover the rare earths contained in the argillaceous laterites is possible. In addition to the leaching testwork, another sample has been submitted to a third laboratory in Germany to test mineral separation by gravitational and magnetic methods. First results indicate the possibility to recover not only the rare earth bearing phases but additionally the tantalum, niobium, zirconium, tin and perhaps gallium bearing phases by gravity and magnetic methods. TRE considers this method has the potential to add significant value to the project. Pitting Progress Pitting on Target 4, the central part of the main south-eastern intrusion, is progressing well. An earlier reconnaissance geochemical soil sampling survey has indicated the potential presence of REE bearing argillaceous laterites. With a total surface area in the range of 30 sq km, this target may become one of the major prospects of the Tantalus concession. In a first step, pitting has been done on a 100 m x 200 m grid. In the outer parts pitting is done either on a 200 m x 200 m or 400 m x 400 m grid. To-date 100 pits have been excavated, 17 more are in progress. The maximum depth of the pits is 10 m. In total, it is planned to excavate some 365 pits. On Target 3, Befitina, pitting will start this week. For this purpose, a second fly camp is currently built near the village of Befitina. On this prospect, earlier trenching, pitting and soil geochemistry has revealed the presence of continuous REE mineralisation in argillaceous laterites which is to-date the highest grade mineralisation of this kind on the concession area. TRE plans to dig a total of 450 pits in order to evaluate its economic potential. Man Portable Drill Rigs The first of five window samplers has reached the camp site near Ankatafa. The remaining window samplers are expected to arrive in early July 2011. The `man portable´ window samplers allow shallow drilling to a maximum depth of 20 m, producing a continuous core of argillaceous laterites, which will be sampled on 1m intervals. These drill rigs will partly replace the pitting operations as they are faster and less invasive. New Staff to speed exploration work The Group has recently retained the services of an additional eight Malagasy junior geologists in order to speed up the exploration activities. Four of whom are currently working on Target 4, and the four others will work on Target 3. All Malagasy geologists will receive on the site training on the window samplers by the director of the manufacturing company. Another six geologists will be hired in July 2011. Apart from window sampling/pitting on already identified prospects, these geologists will also work in the more remote but prospective areas of the concession. In total, the Group currently employs two senior geologists and 12 junior geologists. Commenting on the results, Ivan Murphy, Executive Director of Tantalus Rare Earths said: "This drilling update sets out the significant progress we have made with this potential world class rare earth project. In addition to the test work being undertaken by China Nonferrous Metals, our own testing partners continue to make progress on defining and understanding the separation process for this very large potential resource, with the latest results from gravitational and magnetic treatments being particularly encouraging, as this would be extremely advantageous, both economically and environmentally. Our latest drill results continue to show a high proportion of the higher value, strategic heavy rare earths. Together with the encouraging extraction results, we remain confident that this asset has the potential to be one of the most important rare earth assets in the world. The eight new Malagasy geologists joining our existing local team will support our exploration programme going forward and we are delighted to have them on board." Detailed information on the drilling results and the target areas are available at the following link. Attachments with Announcement: ---------------------------------------------- http://resources.euroadhoc.com/us/k1wOkBGm Further inquiry note: Ivan Murphy, executive director Tel: +44 (0) 208 566 1579 Ana Ribeiro Tel: +44 (0) 207 138 3206 Blythe Weigh Communications or +44 (0) 7980 321 505 end of announcement euro adhoc -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Attachments with Announcement: ---------------------------------------------- http://resources.euroadhoc.com/us/k1wOkBGm company: Tantalus Rare Earths AG Berliner Allee 12 D-40212 Düsseldorf phone: +49 (0)211 52391 430 FAX: +49 (0)211 52391 200 mail: contact [at] tre-ag.com WWW: http://www.tre-ag.com sector: Holding companies ISIN: DE000A0SMSL4, DE000A1KRQE7 indexes: stockmarkets: free trade/entry standard: Frankfurt language: English