Australian exploration company Meteoric Resources is acquiring 21 ionic clay rare earth element (REE) licences near its Caldeira REE project in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

These licences are contiguous with Caldeira’s highly prospective areas.

The binding agreement will see Meteoric acquiring the licences from Varginha Mineração e Loteamentos, Minas Rio Mineradora and Fertimax Fertilizantes Organicos.

These include two mining licences, 12 mining licence applications, four exploration licences and three exploration licence applications.

The licences span a total of 49km², resulting in a 40% expansion of Meteoric’s total area in this province to 172km².

Of these licences, 11 are said to be freely transferrable whereas the remainder is subject to third-party encumbrance.

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By GlobalData

Meteoric noted that even though the licences have not undergone earlier exploration, historic drilling of Caldeira’s Capão do Mel, Soberbo and Figueira licences near the acquisition’s main area suggests ‘strong mineralisation’ that extends to the licence boundaries.

The company believes it is ‘highly likely’ that the REE mineralisation extends into the new areas.

Meteoric executive chairman Andrew Tunks stated: “The licences to be acquired perfectly consolidate our ground holdings in the southern, most prospective region of the project, creating a contiguous block of ground and tying the highly prospective Capão do Mel and Sorberbo licences back to Figueira in a single parcel.

“Evaluation of historic exploration drilling on Capão do Mel, Figueira and Sorberbo confirm REE mineralisation continues right up to the boundaries of licences to be acquired, and logically into these areas. This significantly increases our discovery opportunity and we will extend our current diamond drilling programme to complete several stratigraphic holes to test for REE mineralisation and depth to basement within these new licences.”

Last year, Meteoric agreed to divest its Juruena gold project in Brazil to Keystone Resources, with plans to use the proceeds to fund exploration programmes at the Palm Springs Gold Project in Western Australia.