Neotech Metals, a Canadian mineral exploration company, has reached an option agreement with Willoughby & Associates to acquire a 100% stake in 22 mining claims within the Thor REE project in the US state of Nevada.

Earlier owned by Elissa Resources, Thor is a mid-stage exploration property. It includes contiguous unpatented lode mining claims, which were staked from late 2009 to 2010.

As part of the option agreement, Neotech agreed to pay $200,000 (C$267,420) in cash and issue its shares with a combined value of $400,000. The number of shares will be decided based on their value-weighted average price on the Canadian Stock Exchange.

The total consideration is payable before 1 December 2025, including a $50,000 cash payment within seven business days from the date of the agreement and $75,000 in shares within ten business days.

This will be followed by $75,000 in cash and $125,000 in shares on or before 1 December next year and $75,000 in cash and $125,000 in shares on or before 1 December 2025.

The Thor project is in the eastern Mojave Desert Region.

This area has a history of exploration with earlier programmes during the 1950s having identified occurrences of REE and thorium. It was also targeted for precious metals, turquoise and uranium.

It is located near Mountain Pass Mine, one of North America’s most important REE deposits.

The Mountain Pass project is estimated to account for nearly 15% of the global rare earth supply. Its net present value (NPV) post tax is $2.6bn, at a 6% discount, as per a 2021 pre-feasibility study.

The primary REE mineralisation zone, Lopez Trend, within the Thor project is spread across a 2,500m-long area.

Initial exploration and sample assays have shown significant REE values.

The highest-grade sample within the trench returned 10.6% total REE and Yttrium (REE+Y) and 1.45% of thorium (Th). An 11m-long channel from a trench along the mineralised trend has also returned an average of total REE+Y at 1% including 1.5m 3.71% total REE+Y and 0.49% Th.

Neotech intends to start a phase I exploration programme to define the potential REE targets using detailed ground geophysics, trenching, focused sampling and an initial phase of shallow drilling.