Godolphin takes 100% control of Narraburra rare earths project

19th April 2024 By: Darren Parker - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

ASX-listed Godolphin Resources has agreed to acquire the remaining 49% interest in the flagship Narraburra rare earth elements (REE) project in New South Wales, Australia, in which it already holds a 51% stake, from joint venture (JV) partner EX9.

Godolphin will gain full control of the asset as it accelerates plans to move from exploration to mine development at Narraburra, a highly prospective REE project located 12 km north-east of Temora, in New South Wales.

The acquisition was comprised of an upfront cash payment of $150 000 and $100 000 of Godolphin shares. The agreement also includes the issue of two tranches of performance rights to EX9, which will vest on the date that Godolphin’s shares equal or exceed $0.15 for tranche one and then $0.25 for tranche two.

An estimated 5.8-million equity securities will be issued using the company’s available placement capacity.

“The strategic decision to move to a 100% ownership interest in Narraburra reflects our belief in the project’s potential to develop into a significant rare earths asset. This view has been further strengthened by recent developments, highlighted by strong metallurgy results and the successful commissioning of a scoping study based on the existing Joint Ore Reserves Committee- (Jorc-) compliant mineral resource estimate (MRE).

“By approving this acquisition, the Godolphin board and management team capitalised on an opportunity to acquire full ownership of Narraburra on attractive commercial terms, leaving the company well-positioned to execute our stated exploration and development strategy.

“With 100% control of two new exploration licences adjacent to our existing tenements, Godolphin is well-positioned to expand its 2024 works programme at Narraburra to include further drilling and exploration activities alongside our ongoing project development plan.

“Exploration and development at Narraburra will be complemented by a flexible funding pathway, where discussions with interested counterparties for potential asset sales from within Godolphin’s diversified project portfolio are ongoing. We look forward to now focusing our resources and efforts on building Narraburra into a flagship rare earths asset within the Australian resources sector,” Godolphin MD Jeneta Owens said on April 19.

Upon completion of the transaction, Godolphin will assume 100% control of the two additional exploration licences which make up the Narraburra project, EL 8420 and EL 9258.

Collectively, Godolphin will hold 100% ownership and control of an expanded exploration area of 504.9 km2 in the region, which includes the Narraburra REE project, as well as the Cambrai, Trungley and Temora exploration licences.

The strategic decision to take full control of the project follows extensive exploration and due diligence undertaken by Godolphin which has included diamond drilling, the delivery of a maiden Jorc-compliant resource, notable recoveries from diagnostic leach testing completed by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANTSO), and the award of the mining scoping study to engineering firm Ausenco.

The scoping study will be based on the existing MRE of 94.9-million tonnes at 739 ppm total rare earth oxide plus yttrium oxide (TREYO), which includes a higher-grade component of 20-million tonnes at 1 079 ppm TREYO.

In February, Godolphin received the results from the second phase programme of leach testing and size fraction analysis, undertaken by ANTSO. These demonstrated good extraction rates of between 80% and 95% for key magnet REEs (neodymium, praseodymium, terbium, dysprosium), further confirming the project’s development potential through low-cost downstream processing methods.

Following this acquisition of the additional exploration licences from EX9, Godolphin will begin with plans for additional exploration at Narraburra alongside its ongoing mine development activities.