Northern Territory Government Creating Opportunities for Resource Exploration

Rare earth elements

The Northern Territory has high potential for rare earth elements, particularly in the Arunta Region, Pine Creek Orogen and Tanami Region.

The Territory’s most significant rare earths deposit at Nolans Bore in the Arunta Region, 135 km northwest of Alice Springs, owned by Arafura Resources Ltd. Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resources total 56 Mt at 2.6% rare earth oxides (REO), 12% P2O5 and 0.02% U3O8, for 1.46 Mt contained REO. The most abundant rare earth-bearing minerals at Nolans Bore are fluorapatite, allanite and monazite. The deposit is relatively rich in elements that are important for production of magnets (neodymium and praseodymium) and phosphors (europium and yttrium). Elsewhere in the Arunta Region, a number of pegmatite-hosted and hydrothermal occurrences demonstrate the high potential of the area, particularly in the Harts Range.

The Skyfall rare earths prospect, located 140 km west of Katherine occurs over an area of 6 x 1 km, and is a flat lying, surficial, mostly clay-hosted rare earths prospect, between 0.9 and 4.3 m in thickness, grading between 0.17% and 0.8% TREO, of which 36-38% are Magnetic End Use Rare Earth Oxides (classified by Spectrum Rare Earths Ltd as Dy, Tb, Nd, Pr, Sm and Gd). The main rare earth minerals at Skyfall include secondary yttrium phosphate (xenotime-churchite) and aluminium phosphate/crandalite group minerals such as florencite.

Potential also exists for alluvial deposits of rare earths. At the Charley Creek project area, 120 km west of Alice Springs, Crossland Strategic Metals Ltd are investigating the potential for mining of surface alluvial deposits containing monazite and xenotime. Crossland has defined a maiden resource at Charley Creek, contained within unconsolidated alluvial outwash. The deposit includes an Indicated Resource of 387 Mt at 295 ppm TREO and an Inferred Resource of 418 Mt at 289 ppm TREO.

The Tanami Region also has high potential for rare earths given the existence of xenotime-hosted heavy rare earth element resources at Northern Minerals’ Browns Range project in adjacent regions of WA. Similar potential extends into the NT where there are a number of rare earth element occurrences that have not seen modern exploration.

Last updated: 29 Sep 2017