Rare earths in the spotlight as study probes copper-gold links

The Mount Isa region is well positioned to ride the surge in rare earth interest, hosting both light and heavy rare earths associated with different types of mineralisation common to the area, a researcher says.

PhD student Ross Chandler is part of a team investigating why some copper-gold deposits in Mount Isa Inlier host rare earths while others do not in an Australian National University and Geological Survey of Queensland collaboration.

“It is something that really hasn’t received a lot of attention – yet,” Mr Chandler said.

“We are trying to tackle a number of the copper-gold deposits in the area that do show that anomalous rare earth enrichment to see if we can figure out the exact relationship to the copper-gold mineralisation and the relative timing of the two types (rare earth element and copper-gold) of mineralisation.”

Mr Chandler is due to present preliminary findings from that work to a Mount Isa technical workshop hosted by the Geological Survey of Queensland this week.

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