(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia) Northern Minerals (ASX: NTU) has extended the heavy rare earths mineralisation at the Wolverine prospect, part of the Browns Range Project in northern Australia, to a vertical depth of 250 metres in recent diamond drilling.
High grade intercepts have been returned over significant widths, including 11 metres at 2.25% and 27 metres at 1.28% total rare earth oxides, and show the mineralisation is open at depth.
All data has now been received, paving the way for a maiden resource to be delivered before the end of 2012.
The assays improve on preliminary results from portable XRF testing released earlier this month, and deliver a considerable increase in the size of the mineralised zone at depth.
The deeper drilling results confirm the potential for significant additional resource tonnages beyond the scope of current modelling, which has been limited to a depth of 150 metres.
The mineralised zone also remains open beyond this depth, which will be a target for future drilling.
Northern Minerals has now defined xenotime mineralisation over a strike length of around 200 metres, and now to a depth of 250 metres, with a feature being the high grades and a dominance of high value heavy rare earths.
The company has completed an additional program of check sampling at a second independent assay laboratory to verify assay results.
Northern Minerals has also drilled three metallurgical diamond drill holes which will be used for further metallurgical test work.
The planned geotechnical drill holes for pit design studies have been deferred until 2013.
The company is also awaiting further results from regional drilling across Browns Range, including the recently identified new area of high grade heavy rare earths mineralisation west of the Gambit prospect.
Earlier this month Northern Minerals added A5 million to its cash reserves to advance the Browns Range Heavy Rare Earth project in northern Australia.
The project contains a number of prospects with high value, heavy rare earth elements in xenotime mineralisation.
This contains high levels of dysprosium and yttrium, which are in short supply globally.
Northern Minerals plans to advance Browns Range towards production using a relatively simple and low cost processing flow sheet to produce a high grade concentrate.