Tantalus Rare Earths AG (XETRA:TRE) today unveiled an in-house resource estimate for its rare earth project in Madagascar.
It said that a preliminary in-house resource estimate of surface or near surface mineralisation totalling 55 million tonnes of mineralisation, containing 46,000 tonnes of rare earth oxides with an in-ground value of US$8.28 billion - based on Q2 2011 prices.
Additionally it also revealed that initial leaching tests suggest the Tantalus clay mineralisation is comparable to the ion absorption clays of southern China, which provide most of the world's current heavy rare earth. In these parts of China total recoveries average 79 per cent.
Notably though Tantalus said that, unlike other rare earth oxide projects, around 20 per cent of the total material is the most valuable heavy REOs.
"The Tantulus project continues to emerge as one of the largest potential resources of Heavy Rare Earth Oxides outside of China,” said Ivan Murphy, executive director.
“Only a small proportion of the project area has been explored to date, and not surprisingly, the excellent results we have produced so far is generating considerable interest from Tier 1 financiers and end users."
The in-house resource estimate assesses targets 1, 3 and 4 at the project.
Tantalus also said that near surface high-grade bedrock mineralisation with rare earth bearing carbonates have recently been discovered in Targets 4 and 5, with the assays revealing a basket value for the contained rare earths of US$4,219 and US$4,673 per tonne of ore respectively.
These two targets also contain significant amounts of scandium which, it says, is a highly sought after element that is used in fuel cells and high strength aluminium alloys.
Chief operating officer Wolfgang Hampel added: "I am delighted that we have received confirmation that our REE bearingargillaceous laterites have at least in parts similar characteristics to the clay deposits of Southern China.
“The massive potential revenue per tonne figures combined with the fact that we have, only explored a small portion of the project area, provides us with confidence that our Tantalus Project will support a very large and extremely profitable mining and processing operation which will supply heavy rare earths for many years."