MTM Critical Metals Limited (ASX:MTM) (MTM or the Company) has entered into a binding agreement to acquire 100% of Flash Metals Pty Ltd (Flash), the beneficial owner of three key exploration licenses prospective for niobium and rare earth elements (REE) in the West Arunta region of Western Australia.
MTM to acquire 100% of Flash Metals Pty Ltd, the beneficial owner of 3 granted exploration licences in Western Australia’s West Arunta region, immediately adjacent to ground held by WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1) and Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR).Deal includes acquisition of the Mukinbudin Niobium-REE Project, comprising 2 granted exploration licences located 250km northeast of Perth in the South West Mineral Field of Western Australia.Flash also holds an option to exclusively negotiate the rights to Flash Joule Heating technology developed by Rice University in Houston, USA which has demonstrated the potential to treat REE mineralisation and more efficiently recover critical metals from critical metal-rich recycling and waste streams.
Covering ~140km2, the granted West Arunta Niobium-REE licences are located immediately adjacent to tenements held by WA1 Resources Limited (ASX:WA1, $484m mkt. cap.) and Encounter Resources Limited (ASX:ENR, $107m mkt. cap.), where niobium-REE mineralised carbonatites have recently been discovered:
The West Arunta region is one of Australia’s critical metal exploration hotspots with over $60m in exploration expenditure collectively invested in the district by a number of ASX companies including Rio Tinto Limited (JV with Tali Resources Pty Ltd) (ASX:RIO), CGN Resources Limited (ASX:CGR), and IGO Limited (ASX:IGO).
The Flash transaction also includes the acquisition of the Mukinbudin Niobium-REE Project, comprising two exploration licences located 250km northeast of Perth in the South West Mineral Field of Western Australia. The tenements that are included in the Flash transaction comprising the West Arunta Niobium REE Project (E/80/5858, E80/5874 and E80/5875) and the Mukinbudin Niobium-REE Project (E70/6048 and E70/6359) are together, the WA REE Tenements (Appendix I).
Flash also has an option (FJH Option) to exclusively negotiate the licencing rights to an early-stage processing technology for REE and precious metals known as Flash Joule Heating (FJH), which has been developed by researchers at Rice University in the USA (see Rice University article at https://news.rice.edu/news/2022/rare- earth-elements-await-waste).
MTM Managing Director, Mr Lachlan Reynolds said the Flash acquisition provides the Company with compelling exploration opportunities in line with its strategy to discover and develop critical metal projects.
“We are very excited to acquire such prospective ground in the West Arunta province, where there is an opportunity to discover new niobium-rare earth deposits in historically untested ground right next door to some emerging mineralised carbonatite projects identified by both WA1 Resources and Encounter Resources,” Mr Reynolds said.
“Additionally, Flash Joule Heating has shown promise during test work for metal recycling and for treatment of waste such as coal fly ash but we are very keen to see what applications it may have for treating rare earth mineralisation, where a breakthrough could unlock immense value from otherwise economically marginal deposits.”
Mr Reynolds said the immediate focus at West Arunta is to complete heritage agreements with the local Native Title holders and proceed with a first-pass exploration program.
West Arunta Niobium REE Project
Historical exploration in the West Arunta WA REE tenement areas is very limited. There has been no drilling on the ground, nor have any systematic geochemical sampling or geophysical surveys been completed. The West Arunta region has historically been explored for gold and copper with reconnaissance airborne geophysics and limited ground geophysical and geochemical surveys. The location of the West Arunta WA REE Tenements and their proximity to tenements held by WA1 and Encounter are shown in Figure 1.
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