HEAVY rare earth element (HREE) explorer and developer Northern Minerals has announced a completed share placement that raised $10 million to fund exploration and the further development of its projects in northern Australia.
The placement incorporated 22.727 million fully-paid shares at an issue price of $0.44 each, which ranks equally with existing Northern Minerals ordinary shares quoted on the ASX.
Northern Minerals managing director George Bauk said the funds raised would be used to continue work at the Browns Range and John Galt
HREE projects, as well as for working capital.
“A priority will be the diamond drilling for targets at the Wolverine and Gambit prospects [at Browns Range], which we expect to commence in May, as well as the employment of additional exploration staff to boost our current team,” Mr Bauk said.
“We are targeting a JORC resource in the third quarter of 2012, and will be continuing to advance our scoping studies, environmental and our metallurgical studies in line with our proposed path to production by 2015,” he said.
Northern Minerals’ flagship Browns Range project, which straddles the WA/NT border, contains a number of prospects with high-value HREE – including dysprosium and yttrium – in xenotime mineralisation.
Following a number of spectacular drill results in 2011, the company has focussed on moving the project toward first production in 2015. Northern Minerals’ John Galt, which covers an area of 65 square kilometres in WA’s East Kimberley region, is about 200km south of Kununurra and 35km from the Great Northern Highway.
The company has an aggressive exploration program under way at John Galt – which is geologically similar to Browns Range – with the HREE talus in the process of being studied to assess the volume of rare earth mineralisation.
By Reuben Adams