The Mitre Hill Project consists of five (5) granted tenements and twenty two (22) exploration licence applications over ground located within the southern margin of the Murray Basin across Victoria and South Australia, that total a significant package of 6,001km2 of ground prospective for clay hosted Rare Earth Elements (REE).

Project Quick Links:

On 23 December 2021, the Company finalised the execution of the acquisition of the Mitre Hill Project (1,509km2), prospective for clay hosted Rare Earth Elements (REE), which contained one (1) exploration licence in Victoria and four (4) strategic tenement applications over ground located within the Murray Basin across Victoria and South Australia.

On 1 April 2022, the South Australian tenement was granted, the remaining 3 tenements the initial acquisition, located in Victoria, were granted on 17 June 2022 which brings the total granted tenements to four (4) in Victoria and one (1) in South Australia.

Post-acquisition, the Company has submitted a further twenty-two (22) applications for Exploration Licences in Victoria expanding the overall size of the Mitre Hill tenements to 6001km2 of land.

Upon granting of all tenements Mitre Hill will hold the largest position within a potential emerging clay hosted Rare Earth precinct located in the southern margin of the Murray Basin across Victoria and South Australia.

The tenements are located in the Murray Basin on the South Australian and Victorian state Border near the towns of Naracoorte, Penola and Edenhope. The main economic target is ionic clay hosted Rare Earth deposits, with possible economic concentrations of Heavy Rare Earths considered strategically important given global supply modelling.

The Applications are located over the transition from the concluding phases of the Loxton – Parilla strandlines to the more broadly spaced Bridgewater formation in South Australia and Victoria. A significant archive of historical exploration data has been acquired by the Company, including drilling results, numerous government studies and minor private exploration.

The granted tenements are located on either side of Australian Rare Earths’ (ASX:AR3) (AR3) Red Tail and Yellow Tail deposits with a JORC 2012 Inferred Mineral Resource of 39.9Mt @ 725ppm Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO) .

The Murray Basin extends over 300,000km2 predominated by Cainozoic sediments. In the Mallee Region in the West, the Murray Basin Cainozoic Loxton Parilla sands are concealed beneath semi-arid landscape of quaternary dune fields. The tenement areas in both South Australia and Victoria occur in the Western margin of the Murray Basin.

1 Refer to Australian Rare Earths Limited Prospectus dated 7 May 2021.
2 These results do not guarantee the same or similar levels of success on the Mitre Hill Project tenements

Figure 1: Mitre Hill Project Location Map

Location

Figure 2: Mitre Hill, AR3 and Savic tenement areas

Figure 3: Mitre Hill Project Location Map

Applications

In July 2022, the Company submitted ten (10) Exploration Licence applications totalling 3,401km2 for tenements prospective for clay hosted Rare Earths (REE) in Victoria.

Details of the applications as follows.

Victoria Tenements  Application Date  Tenement Size (km2)
EL007982 21 July 2022 500
EL007983 14 July 2022 499
EL007984 14 July 2022 233
EL007985 14 July 2022 500
EL007986 14 July 2022 498
EL007989 28 July 2022 492
EL007990 28 July 2022 257
EL007991 28 July 2022 90
EL007992 28 July 2022 242
EL007995 28 July 2022 90
Total 3,401

Proposed Exploration Program:

Following grant of the Applications, the Company plans to undertake the following exploration activities:

Year 1

  • Stakeholder, Community and Environmental engagement activities;
  • Establish a geological database utilising all available historical exploration data;
  • Plan Regional Reconnaissance Air Core holes, and liaise with various stakeholders to allow for low impact Air Core Drilling; initially on roadside verges.

Year 2

  • Continue Stakeholder, Community and Environmental engagement activities;
  • Plan Regional Reconnaissance Air Core holes on private property and Crown land;
  • Undertake widely spaced first pass AC drilling to map out prospective REE-bearing clay horizon(s) with anomalous horizons selectively sampled and assayed for REE in commercial laboratory;
  • Undertake scout metallurgical testing;
  • Identify blocks of tenure that should be relinquished based upon exploration results.

Year 3-4

  • Continue Stakeholder, Community and Environmental engagement activities;
  • Continue with regional and infill Air Core drilling;
  • Continue to develop regional targets using Air Core drilling. It is anticipated that the exploration process will become more rapid as understanding of near surface geology /stratigraphy / depositional energy regimes is increased;
  • Scoping – Feasibility Studies
  • Metallurgical testing – bulk testing
  • Undertake other forms of drilling for geotechnical, hydrological and environmental purposes
  • Identify blocks of tenure that should be relinquished based upon exploration results.

Year 5

  • Continue Stakeholder, Community and Environmental engagement activities;
  • Continue with regional and infill Air Core drilling;

What is an Exploration Licence and how is Exploration different to mining?

An Exploration Licence grants exclusive rights, subject to conditions, to explore for minerals within a certain area. An Exploration Licence does not permit mining. “Exploration” is defined in the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990 (VIC) (“MRSD Act”) to include:

  1. a) Conducting geological, geophysical and geochemical surveys;
  2. b) Drilling;
  3. c) Taking samples for the purposes of chemical or other analysis; and
  4. d) Extracting minerals from land, other than for the purpose of producing them commercially.

The MRSD Act defines “mining” as extracting minerals from the land for the purpose of producing them commercially, including processing and treating ore.

Exploration does not always lead to mining. Exploration is the first step which allows licence holders to determine whether a mineral deposit is economically viable before an Exploration/Mining Company decide to conduct further activity, or mining. While exploration often takes place over larger areas, the area that may be subsequently mined is usually much smaller.

Should Resource Base’s Exploration Licences be granted by the Executive Director, Earth Resources Regulation, acting as the delegate of the Minister responsible for the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (“Department”), it will be valid for a period of five years, with the option to apply for renewal of the licence. Throughout the term of the licence, part of the area must be relinquished (surrendered). Specifically, after 2 years, the area must be reduced by 25% and after 4 years an additional 35% must be surrendered. Upon renewal, further relinquishments would be required at years 7 and 10.

Can I object to the grant of an Exploration Licence?

As a landholder, you may object to a minerals exploration application before it is approved. Any landholder objections must be made within 21 days of the Notice of Application for an Exploration Licence (newspaper advertisements).

As the current Exploration Licences are still at the application stage, no work can be conducted and landholders can lodge an objection to the Department in writing, and it must include the grounds on which the objection is made. The Department will consider all objections before deciding whether to grant the licence.

Most objections can be solved through discussions between the concerned community or landowner and an increased knowledge of both parties’ issues and how they can be mitigated.

Further, the Department may choose to add extra conditions on any mineral exploration licence granted in satisfaction of the application, in an attempt to address community and landholder concerns. Resource Base welcomes any queries or concerns prior to lodgement of a formal objection with the Department. Resource Base is committed to addressing landholder concerns and working with local community members to allow for the sustainable and supported development of Victoria’s mineral resources.

As a land holder of a property within an Exploration Licence, am I entitled to compensation?

Resource Base must obtain land holder’s consent, or an access agreement must be in place before work could be conducted on private land.

In accordance with Section 85 of the MRSD Act, compensation is payable by the licence holder to the owner or occupier of private land where access to private land is provided for work to be undertaken in relation to an exploration licence. Compensation is not payable for the value of the minerals, nor is it a prerequisite for landholder consent to be granted. Compensation may be paid to landholders whose land is affected by exploration activities and non-financial compensation such as work in lieu of payment may be agreed upon between parties.

The requirement to pay compensation or form an agreement does not give landholders the absolute power to control access nor does it provide unvetted access to an Explorer. Instead access to private land occurs as part of a negotiation between the landholder and the Explorer.

If an agreement cannot be reached regarding access to private land, the compensation claim may be referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, in accordance with Part 10 of the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (VIC).

Pursuant to Section 45 of the MRSD Act, a licence holder must not conduct work, other than work using handheld tools, within 100 metres of a dwelling house without the consent of the landholder.

Systems for managing Impacts of the Proposed work on the Community and the Environment:

Resource Base recognises that its exploration activities may have environmental and community impacts which will affect its licence to operate in the region of Victoria. Resource Base is committed to operating in a sustainable manner that minimises negative impacts on the community (including landowners and occupiers) and the environment.

To properly manage the impact of Resource Base’ proposed work on the community and environment, all activities will be carried out in accordance with the Licence Conditions and Code of Practice: Standards, Procedures, and Practical Guidance under the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development Act) 1990 (“Code of Practice”). Among other things, this includes the following practices:

  • Ensure that all soil imported into the exploration licence area is free of disease and noxious weeds;
  • Every effort will be made to minimise the risk and impacts of spills or leaks;
  • Minimise the spread of noxious weeds, pest animals and plant diseases whilst undertaking exploration activities;
  • Adhere to any biosecurity protocols that have been adopted on private land;
  • Design, install and maintain erosion and sediment controls to prevent erosion of areas of disturbed land and sedimentation of waterway;
  • Take all reasonable measures to prevent contamination of the environment by the release of fuels, lubricants and hazardous materials;
  • Ensure that spills of hazardous materials are cleaned up as soon as practicable;
  • Ensure that Aboriginal Cultural Heritage and non-Indigenous Cultural Heritage is not harmed as a result of works undertaken within the exploration licence area;
  • Prior to undertaking any exploration activities, develop and implement a fire response and readiness plan;
  • Ensure all waste generated on site is disposed of at an appropriate waste management facility;
  • Potentially select, establish and manage campsites to minimise risks to the environment and/or the health and safety of people;
  • Ensure that noise generated by exploration activities does not exceed limits set by the Environment Protection Authority and the Local Council;
  • Establish dust control measures to prevent adverse impacts as a result of the release of dust, odour and/or emission of light;
  • Ensure livestock disturbance, noise, access and exclusion areas as well as rehabilitation issues are addressed in the compensation agreement to the satisfaction of the landowner/occupier;
  • Prior to commencing ground intrusive work or work involving the removal or damaging of native vegetation under the definition of low impact exploration, Resource Base is required by the Code of Practice to submit a rehabilitation bond to the satisfaction of the Minister;
  • Where possible, use existing roads and tracks for vehicles and machinery. Exploration works will be planned to use the existing roads as much as possible;
  • As is recommended practice, all vehicles, plant and machinery will be thoroughly cleaned prior to mobbing to a new site or location. Soil and organic matter will be removed from vehicles and equipment prior to moving between areas within the Exploration Licences;
  • Resource Base will comply with the Environment Protection Act 1970 (VIC) and the State Environment Protection Policy (SEPP): Waters of Victoria (2003) and any other relevant legislation;
  • Take all reasonable measures to prevent adverse impacts of establishing drill holes to the environment and/or health and safety of people; and
  • Ensure that disturbed areas are rehabilitated as soon as possible after the completion of exploration works.

How will concerns for environment and land use impacts be managed or addressed?

All areas in Victoria, unless specifically exempt (for example National Parks, State Parks and Wilderness Areas) are open to exploration licence applications. Before any exploration activities may commence, a work plan addressing environmental risks must be approved by the Department, and a rehabilitation bond must be paid by the licence holder, to the Department. The rehabilitation bond represents security of payment for any rehabilitation work that may be necessary as a result of the exploration activities. Additionally, licence holders are bound by the Department’s Code of Practice for Mineral Exploration (“Code”).

The Code provides practical guidance about how activities are to be conducted in order to meet legislative requirements and environmental standards. With respect to rehabilitation, licence holders are required to rehabilitate any land disturbed by the carrying out of work under the licence. Rehabilitation is to be undertaken in accordance with the work plan and licence conditions, which are set by the Department. The licence holder must also consult with the land holder about any proposed rehabilitation. Resource Base is committed to environmental protection and endeavours to work closely with the Department and landholders to ensure successful rehabilitation and the responsible and sustainable use of any mineral assets which may be found following the grant of an Exploration Licence.

Outline of how the Company intends to meet a licensee’s obligations under section 39A of the Act to consult with the community:

In accordance with Section 39A of the MRSD Act, Resource Base is required to consult with the community throughout the period of the licence by:

  1. a) sharing with the community information about any activities authorised by the licence that may affect the community, and;
  2. b) giving members of the community a reasonable opportunity to express their views about those activities.

Resource Base is committed to working with landholders to ensure its plans are accepted and supported by the community.

Resource Base believes that effective stakeholder engagement depends on mutual trust, respect and effective communication between industry and our key stakeholders. Our engagement will be monitored and adapted as the project develops and we gain an accurate picture of the level of impact as well as the degree of community interest

We believe in the value of process over outcome and as such have developed our objectives as follows:

  • Continue Stakeholder, Community and Environmental engagement activities;
  • Start consultation early – We will not wait until we need something or problems arise. We believe that the earlier community engagement activities take place, the better the chance we have of developing good relationships with local stakeholders.
  • Focus on process more than outcomes – We believe in engagement for relationship building via informal and formal activities. We believe in keeping doors open for dialogue. Relationships are not only about transactions but also about developing mutual understanding.
  • Engage with the appropriate community representatives – We will conduct careful stakeholder identification to ensure that all sectors of the community are included.
  • Appropriate company representatives – We will ensure the correct people are easily accessible for questions and queries. Company representatives may include senior management for important meetings, technical experts for specialised subjects, people with decision-making power for negotiations and experienced administrative staff for maintaining records.
  • Use suitable venues for engagement activities – We will attend meetings and events at community-selected venues, thereby showing respect and willingness to spend company time in the local area and face to face with stakeholders.

Tenement Status

Victoria Tenements Application Date Tenement Size (km2) Date Granted
EL007640 23 July 2021 490 17 June 2022
EL007641 11  June 2021 103 17 June 2022
EL007646 22 June 2021 28 8 November 2021
EL007647 11 June 2021 30 17 June 2022
EL007888 2 March 2022 6  
EL007889 2 March 2022 15  
EL007891 2 March 2022 6  
EL007892 2 March 2022 4  
EL007893 2 March 2022 9  
EL007894 2 March 2022 6  
EL007895 2 March 2022 13  
EL007896 2 March 2022 24  
EL007897 2 March 2022 44  
EL007898 2 March 2022 204  
EL007899 2 March 2022 353  
EL007900 2 March 2022 456  
EL007982 21 July 2022 500  
EL007983 14 July 2022 499  
EL007984 14 July 2022 233  
EL007985 14 July 2022 500  
EL007986 14 July 2022 498  
EL007989 28 July 2022 492
EL007990 28 July 2022 257
EL007991 28 July 2022 90
EL007992 28 July 2022 242
EL007995 28 July 2022 90
South Australia Tenement Application Date Tenement Size (km2) Date Granted
EL6708 28 May 2021 810 1 April 2022