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 is the Nolans Bore rare earth elements-phosphate-uranium orebody in the Arunta Region, 135 km northwest of Alice Springs. Mineral 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.
Charley Creek project
Potential also exists for alluvial deposits of rare earths in central Australia. At the Charley Creek project area, 120 km west of Alice Springs, a large (800 million tonnes) resource occurs in unconsolidated alluvial and eluvial sediments within 30 metres of the surface. The combined resource includes 235 150 t of contained TREO, contained within the minerals xenotime and monazite.
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: 03 May 2016