La Paz Rare Earth Project
ARR formed a 100%-owned US-based subsidiary called La Paz Rare Earth LLC to acquire and develop the La Paz Rare Earth Project, located in La Paz County, Arizona, US in August 2019. The project lies approximately 170 km north- west of Phoenix (Figure 1).
La Paz covers over 890 hectares comprising 107 unpatented lode mining claims on federally controlled land and a prospecting permit over one section of Arizona State Trust land (259 hectares). The tenements are unencumbered and 100% controlled by La Paz Rare Earth LLC.
In October 2019 ARR announced that its initial field activities including mapping, sampling and the review of historical datasets which identified mineralisation at a higher grade to the South East of the existing Resource. As such, the Company moved to double its US footprint with the application to acquire a further 660 hectares directly adjacent to the existing tenements to secure the full rare earth potential of the region.
The La Paz area was first shown to contain rare earth elements during exploration sampling programs in mid-2010. The area is located in western-central Arizona within the structural Detachment Fault Domain of the large Basin-Range Province.
During 2011, Australian American Mining Corporation Ltd drilled 195 percussion holes for 5,120 metres, which supported a maiden resource estimate under independent NI 43-101 guidelines. The resource displays relatively uniform distribution of total rare earth elements (TRRE) across and along strike covering a resource area 2.5 km by 1.5km. The entire deposit is exposed at surface, or lightly concealed by alluvial cover. It is open at depth and is currently defined to 30m below surface (Figure 2).
Composite and selected interval samples were submitted to leading independent groups at SGS Canada Inc (Vancouver) for mineralogical investigations (QEMSCAN, XRD and Electron Microprobe analysis) and the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC, Saskatoon) for preliminary metallurgical test work (pre-concentration and leaching).
The maiden resource estimate and preliminary metallurgical test work formed the basis of an independent NI 43-101 report completed late 2011. Additional metallurgical test work was completed in early 2012.
ARR is investigating the conversion of the NI 43-101 Report and supporting data to JORC 2012 standards and will announce further technical and project details once completed.
From a US perspective, the search for and development of rare-earth deposits, particularly in the US, has been identified as being strategically essential and thus has strong government support. The US Federal government and Pentagon have published recent articles highlighting the need for domestic supplies of strategic metals including rare earth elements and titanium/zirconium. The current trade and political landscape offers shareholders exposure to growth markets that are seeking to diversify supplies globally.
ARR has a track record of implementing development projects in strategic metals and the opportunity at La Paz is another case in point.
ARR’s management have been looking to expand the company’s exploration horizons from principally the Murray Basin/Broken Hill regions but also, to use the expertise and knowledge gained from the successful development of the Thackaringa cobalt project at Broken Hill. Thackaringa is a large low-grade strategic metal deposit with good infrastructure and the La Paz rare earths deposit offers similar opportunities, though with a number of unique strategic properties.
Applying the successful techniques that ARR utilised to advance the Thackaringa cobalt project and taking advantage of the expertise and low cost structure utilising North American resources, the Board of ARR believe that this acquisition and development of a resource base in Arizona will transform the company.
The company plans to commence work onsite at La Paz with extensive mapping and re-sampling of bulk samples to progress metallurgical test work in support of technical and commercial project analysis. Additional drilling programs may be required for JORC 2012 conversion to underpin a Scoping Study to Pre-feasibility Study level analysis.