The La Paz Rare Earths + Scandium Project was founded in August 2019 with the initial US claims purchase in La Paz County, Arizona, approximately 105 miles northwest of Phoenix and 16 miles northeast of Bouse. The road transects the claims into southwestern and northeastern portions. With a contiguous footprint of over 218 federal lode mining claims over approximately 4,503 acres plus an Arizona state exploration permit for 640 acres, the increasing energy surrounding the La Paz Rare Earths Project has resulted in an assemblage that has the potential to be the largest rare earths project in North America. The full 5,143 +/- acres and considerable surrounding area lies fully in the Opportunity Zone and New Market Tax Credit Zone of Census Tract ID: 04012020100.
In addition to the vast area of claim control held in this Project, it is bolstered by excellent local infrastructure, including electricity, water, and gas lines all within 11km of its western boundary. Additionally, this project has the local asset of a skilled local workforce that is supported by a state of Arizona training mine and workforce development incentives. The location is in a non-conflict jurisdiction, earning a top 2 rank of 83 global mining jurisdictions by the Fraser Institute. Furthermore, the vast network of transport routes optimizes production and distribution channels, and provides an additional sense of safety and security to the local community. Located within the structural domain known as the Harcuvar metamorphic core complex within the Basin and Range Province, the La Paz area is also known for favorable weather conditions that allow for year-round mining and exploration.
By leveraging Arizona’s history of being mining-friendly, our various stakeholders have a vested interest in preserving the area with responsible mining requirements that can meet the growing needs for rare earths as well as maintain respect for the land. Unearthing penalty elements that have plagued rare earths projects globally, such as radioactive thorium and uranium, is also kept at a minimum. The radioactive penalty element content in other rare earths projects is 30-100X higher than in La Paz. Thus, the La Paz project is unique in its negligible Thorium content of less than 10 parts per million.
“La Paz offers a unique opportunity for shareholders for exposure to the US rare earths market, where security of supply is critical because of rising global trade tensions.”
Clarence McAllister, PE | Board Chair
La Paz is a large-tonnage, bulk deposit comprising high-value magnet rare-earth element (MREE) assemblage with the potential to be the largest rare earths projects in North America.
La Paz contains very low-penalty elements such as radioactive thorium and uranium, and an independent NI 43-101 Report and Resource estimate was completed in 2011 and upgraded to a JORC compliant report in 2020.
A 2021 drilling campaign doubled the size of the Indicated Resource and increased the size of the total Resource estimate to more than 170 Million Tonnes of rare earths mineralized ore plus added a new resource estimate of 4.4 Million Kg of high value Scandium Oxide.
La Paz Southwest Area
The La Paz area was first shown to contain rare-earth elements during exploration sampling programs in mid-2010. During 2011, Australian American Mining Corporation Ltd. drilled 195 percussion holes for 5,120 meters, which supported a maiden resource estimate under independent NI 43-101 guidelines. The resource displayed a relatively uniform distribution of total rare-earth elements (TREE) across and along strike covering a resource area of 2.5km by 1.5km. The entire deposit of the maiden resource is exposed at surface, or lightly concealed by an alluvial cover. The majority of the deposit outcrops are at the surface, but it is open at depth and is currently defined to 30m below surface.
Composite and selected interval samples were submitted to leading independent groups at SGS Canada, Inc. (Vancouver) for mineralogical investigations through QEMSCAN, XRD, and electron microprobe analysis, and the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC, Saskatoon) for preliminary metallurgical test work for pre-concentration and leaching. The opportunity for an environmentally sound and profitable mining project was clear with concentration studies demonstrating excellent separation (up to 70%) of high-value, LREE-rich allanite; successful leaching of concentrate via a H2SO4 acid-roast dilute solution leach method; and a TREO assemblage split of 81% LREE and 19% heavy rare-earth elements (HREE).
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. More than 500 surface samples were collected between 2010 and 2019, including an extensive surface sampling program in 2019 consisting of 15 trenches that were excavated through alluvium to expose bedrock for sampling.
Surface sampling across the La Paz SW area was performed in 2019 and 2020. Out of approximately 487 surface samples, about 215 of these samples TREO values exceeding 350ppm.
In March 2021, WRE drilled two core holes in the La Paz SW area, called LP21-03 and LP21-04. Drill hole LP21-03 contains approximately 11m of TREO mineralisation, exceeding 400ppm, and drill hole LP21-04 has approximately 30m of TREO mineralisation, exceeding 450ppm.
Mining Claims and Surface Control
All surface land and minerals are owned by the United States and administered by the BLM. WRE controls 281 federal mineral lode claims covering 4,900 acres (1,983 ha) across the La Paz project area. The claims include 20 additional mining claims covering 414 acres (167 ha) staked by WRE in late July 2021. The federal lode mining claims provide WRE the exclusive right to explore, develop, and ultimately mine at La Paz Southwest.
Exploration Target Estimate
It must be noted that these Exploration Target estimates are based on assumptions made from sparse geological data. The estimates cannot be construed as resources or reserves.
Each mapped rock type was defined in ArcGIS to determine an Exploration Target tonnage. WRE applied a 75% geological uncertainty factor to the calculated area to select a factored area in hectares. A mineralised thickness of 30 meters (vertical) was assumed. An in-place volume was calculated using the factored area and the mineralised thickness. A density factor of 2.68 was applied to the volume to derive in-place tonnes. An average grade of 400ppm was used to estimate TREO and an average grade of 24.5ppm was used to estimate Scandium Oxide.
An Exploration Target with a range of approximately 742.5 – 928.1 million tonnes as estimated using the parameters listed above. It should be noted that a general range of 20% was applied to the tonnage, grade values.
Drilling at La Paz Delivers Indicated Resource Estimate Increase of 217%* to 35.2 Million Tonnes (MT)
This result demonstrates the potential for La Paz to be one of the largest rare earths projects in North America, making our asset significant in the development of the US domestic rare earths supply chain.
- JORC 2012 compliant total resource tonnage increased 33.1% to 170.6 MT
- Indicated resource estimates increased to 35.2MT from 16.2MT, an increase of 217%*
- Resource estimation report demonstrates approximately 66.6 million kilograms TREE, approximatley 80.0 million kilograms TREO
- The overall TREE grade increased 5.2% to 391ppm from 372ppm
- New Resource Estimates include 4.4 million kg of Scandium Oxide (Sc2O3)
- Opportunities exist to extend the Maiden Resource laterally and vertically where mineralisation is not closed off by drilling
- Discovery of a new potential resource in the Southwest area where one diamond core hole terminated in mineralisation
- material below 75 metres. New claims are being staked
- Assay results demonstrate La Paz is an environmentally sustainable resource with low Thorium and Uranium compared to most other projects in the market
- PEA Planning and Design underway
- Scale and grade consistency support the economics of the project
*Corrected from press release
Resource Update Summary
ARR commissioned Mr Alfred Gillman of Odessa Resources, Pty Ltd (Odessa) to update the JORC 2012 resources for the La Paz Project area in La Paz County, Arizona, USA, refer to Figure 1. The Mineral Resource estimates are classified in accordance with the 2012 edition of The Australian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (JORC Code 2012).
The Report estimated that the in-place Total Rare Earth Elements (TREE) resource at La Paz comprises 170.6 million tonnes with an average grade of 391ppm TREE, refer to Table 1. Table 4 shows a 33.1% increase in both the JORC resource tonnage and the amount of TREE in the ground. Further drilling will be planned to help define the resource area.
JORC 2012 Resource Upgrade
The JORC Resource estimation has exceeded the expectations of the Company the results are shown from Tables 1 to 4:
Table 3 and Table 4 show an estimated increase in Inferred resources of 23.4 million tonnes (20.9%), with an increase in estimated grade of 21.5ppm TREE (5.8%). The total increase in estimated in-place resources is approximately 42.4 million tonnes (33.1%), increasing the estimated grade of 19.9ppm TREE (5.2%).
Recommendations and Opportunities to Increase Resources
The Report noted that approximately 112 (57%) of the 195 drill holes intersected material with TREE grades >300ppm. Drilling deeper at La Paz could provide an opportunity to increase the resources.
ARR is developing phased exploration plans across the La Paz resource area. The objectives of the exploration plans are:
Increase the overall depth of the resource by drilling holes to approximately 150m to 200m.
Delineate the planimetric spatial extent of the resource by drill hole holes around the perimeter.
Increase indicated resources by drilling uniformly spaced drill holes in a systematic method.
Exploration plans will also include both geotechnical and metallurgical core holes together with monitoring wells deemed necessary from a gap analysis study currently being performed by Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.
ARR is developing exploration targets for the La Paz Southwest area based on favourable results observed in several 2021 drill holes. The South West area is five times larger than the original resource area.