Crossland believes the Charley Creek REE project represents a unique opportunity to become an REE producer, with a short lead time to production and a potentially long mine life.
Crossland’s extensive program of stream sediment sampling, auger and aircore drilling, and bulk sampling, has indicated the existence of very large volumes of alluvium containing Heavy Minerals (HM) with high concentrations of Rare Earth Elements (REE). Crossland considers that these alluvial deposits may support a high throughput/low unit cost alluvial mining project that recovers the minerals monazite and xenotime, which together contain the completer suite of REE elements.
The potential size of the deposits is of a scale that could support decades of REE production.
Although by hard-rock REE deposit standards the in-ground values are relatively low, this is offset by the following factors:
- The alluvial material is easily treatable using low-cost methods familiar to the mineral sands industry to produce high grade HM concentrates for very low unit costs.
- Significant recoverable REE values extend from surface to up to 30 metres depth, over very extensive areas.
- The volumes of REE rich alluvium are potentially huge. Within a 150 sq km area embracing Cattle Creek, Western Dam and Dad’s Dam prospects aircore drilling indicates an average depth of alluvium of 17m. Thus if the deposits are proved to be viable, there is potential for decades of REE production.
- Results of extensive testwork and processing on 4,200 stream sediment, auger and aircore drill samples, and bulk samples from test pits indicate that it should be possible for simple gravity processing to produce separate concentrates of Monazite (which contains Light and Medium REE), Xenotime (which contains the critical and valuable Heavy REE and Yttrium), Zircon and possibly other heavy minerals.
- Crossland’s test work on alluvium samples is showing that REE concentrates can be produced with generally higher REE values (typically 10-50% TREO) than at typical hard-rock REE deposits, at potentially lower costs than those expected from conventional hard rock mining and concentration operations.
- Compared with most hard-rock REE projects, the Charley Creek alluvial development concept could be brought into production in a short time frame to take advantage of current REE shortages and high prices.
- Crossland has demonstrated in test samples that monazite (containing light REE), and a separate mineral xenotime (bearing medium and heavy REE), contain most of the REE in its gravity concentrates. These minerals are regarded as primary feedstock for REE production, with few of the problems that may confront more complex mineralogy.
- The proportion of the critical heavy REE in concentrates produced from Charley Creek alluvium is substantially higher than most other known advanced REE resource projects The Charley Creek titles lie on pastoral leases to the west-north west of Alice Springs. There are several areas of known uranium mineralisation in central Australia, most of them sediment- hosted deposits in Palaeozoic basins. The Charley Creek area has not been intensively explored for uranium - or anything else for that matter - but has the elements that Crossland believes are necessary for formation of sediment–hosted uranium deposits.