Frontier reports assay results from resource drilling programme at its Zandkopsdrift rare earth project

Results confirm extensive high grade rare earth mineralisation from surface and support the significant economic potential of Zandkopsdrift

Mineral resource update being prepared and is expected to move most of the Zandkopsdrift mineral resource into the measured and indicated categories

TORONTO, June 29, 2012 /CNW/ - Frontier Rare Earths Limited (TSX: FRO) ("Frontier" or the "Company") is pleased to provide an update on resource drilling at its Zandkopsdrift rare earth project in South Africa ("Zandkopsdrift").  Final assay results have been received from 5,563 meters of diamond core drilling ("DD") and 8,632 meters of reverse circulation percussion drilling ("RC") which were completed in the second half of 2011.  The results confirm the presence of extensive high grade rare earth mineralisation and continuity of mineralisation from surface to an average depth of about 80 meters, with very high grades in excess of 10% and as high as 19.5% total rare earth oxides ("TREO") being identified in many holes.  The results support the significant economic potential of Zandkopsdrift, as outlined in the report on the results of the Preliminary Economic Assessment on Zandkopsdrift (the "PEA Report") which was filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) in March 2012.

James Kenny, Frontier's Chief Executive Officer, commented: "We are very encouraged by the results of the latest resource drilling, which confirms Zandkopsdrift as one of the largest international resource code-compliant high grade rare earth deposits in the world. With 97% of our rare earth mineralisation contained in monazite, for which commercially proven metallurgical extraction processes exist, and with our Prefeasibility Study on schedule for completion in Q4 2012, we remain confident of achieving our objective of being the next major producer of rare earths outside China after Molycorp and Lynas by end 2015."

Drill Results Highlights include:

  • 10.1% TREO over 10 meters (including highest grade interval of 17.8% TREO*)
  • 8.2% TREO over 10 meters (including highest grade interval of 13.8% TREO*)
  • 8.1% TREO over 12 meters (including highest grade interval of 18.6% TREO*)
  • 7.4% TREO over 14 meters (including highest grade interval of 10.2% TREO*)
  • 6.9% TREO over 11 meters (including highest grade interval of 19.5% TREO*)
  • 6.6% TREO over 13 meters (including highest grade interval of 11.3% TREO*)
  • 6.5% TREO over 13 meters (including highest grade interval of 11.1% TREO*)
  • 6.3% TREO over 23 meters (including highest grade interval of 13% TREO*)
  • 6.2% TREO over 19 meters (including highest grade interval of 18.6% TREO*)
  • 5.7% TREO over 31 meters (including highest grade interval of 10% TREO*)
  • 5.4% TREO over 23 meters (including highest grade interval of 10.1% TREO*)
    * minimum interval length of 1 metre

In addition, the drilling identified numerous continuously well mineralised intervals from surface, including:

  • 4.6% TREO from surface to 59 meters
  • 4.5% TREO from surface to 85 meters
  • 4.2% TREO from surface to 81 meters
  • 3.9% TREO from surface to 64 meters
  • 3.7% TREO from surface to 67 meters
  • 3.7% TREO from surface to 51 meters
  • 3.5% TREO from surface to 52 meters

The new assay results are being incorporated by the Company's independent resource estimation consultants, the MSA Group ("MSA"), into an updated mineral resource estimate for Zandkopsdrift, the results of which will be published with and incorporated into the Prefeasibility Study ("PFS") on Zandkopsdrift that is currently under way and on schedule for completion in Q4 2012.  The Company expects that the updated mineral resource estimate will result in the majority of the mineral resources at Zandkopsdrift being upgraded to the measured and indicated categories.

Background

In March 2012 the Company filed the PEA Report on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).  The PEA Report confirmed the economic potential of Zandkopsdrift, which is now recognised as one of the largest, high grade rare earth deposits in the world measured under international resource reporting standards and is estimated to contain circa 950,000 tonnes of TREO applying a 1% TREO cut-off (See Table 3 below).  The Company has commenced work on a PFS on Zandkopsdrift, which is on schedule for completion in Q4 2012 and which will include an updated mineral resource estimate based on assay results from the drilling described in this release.

2011 Resource Development Drilling and Zandkopsdrift Geological Model

The most recent phase of resource drilling at Zandkopsdrift commenced in Q2 2011 and was completed in Q4 2011. Drilling was undertaken with three diamond core drill rigs (using PQ3 bits) and one RC drill rig and was supervised by MSA.  A total of 14,196 metres (RC - 138 holes for 8,632m) and (DD - 68 holes for 5,563m) was completed in this phase of drilling.

The results of this drilling have allowed a detailed model for the geological controls on mineralisation at Zandkopsdrift to be developed (See Figure 1 below). The majority of the rare earth mineralisation at Zandkopsdrift has been confirmed to be contained in weathered carbonatitic phlogopite breccia ("CPB").  The Q1 2011 drilling programme, the results of which were incorporated in the PEA Report, also identified a series of weathered vertical and near vertical rare earth enriched calcio-carbonatite dykes ("RED's") of up to 20 metres in thickness which had intruded the CPB in the high grade central zone of the deposit.

The diamond drilling was focused on the central zone of the Zandkopsdrift deposit where the RED's had intruded the CPB.  Two scissor DD holes were drilled at each DD site at an inclination of -60o with the objective of intercepting the RED's at various depths, and encountered very high grades of up to 19.5% TREO. The reverse circulation drilling consisted of step-out drilling, principally to the northwest and southeast of the central zone, where mineralisation had remained open in previous drilling programs. Although the purpose of the RC drilling was principally to define the boundaries of weathered CPB mineralization, some very positive results were obtained in these peripheral areas, with grades of up to 18% TREO being encountered.

The assay results have confirmed the presence of extensive high grade rare earth mineralisation and continuity of mineralisation from surface to an average depth of about 80 meters, with very high TREO grades in excess of 10%, and as high as 19.5%, being identified in many holes.  The highest grades are associated with the zones of RED intrusion.  Mineralogical analysis indicates that approximately 97% of the rare earths in the CPB and RED's are contained in monazite.

The new assay results and an updated geological model are being incorporated by MSA into a revised mineral resource estimate, the results of which will be published with and incorporated into the PFS that is currently under way and scheduled for completion in Q4 2012.  The Company expects that the updated mineral resource estimate will result in the majority of the Zandkopsdrift mineral resource being upgraded to the measured and indicated categories.

A number of high grade intersections were identified down to 120 meters, and a number of holes ended in mineralization above the cut-off grade of 1% TREO.

Highlights of the high grade intersections are shown in Table 1 below and the locations of the relevant drill holes are shown in Figure 1, above.

Table 1: High grade TREO intersections
Drill hole Intersection Intercept Average Highest grade
  From To length grade over 1m
DD drill holes (m) (m) (m) TREO% TREO%
ZKDH003 0.0 64.0 64.0 3.86 13.00
including 18.7 42.0 23.3 6.30 13.00
ZKDH004 25.0 78.0 53.0 3.79 7.92
including 34.0 64.0 30.0 4.82 7.92
ZKDH006 0.0 51.0 51.0 3.73 10.34
including 4.3 28.0 23.7 4.33 6.45
ZKDH008 17.0 56.7 39.7 4.32 8.24
including 34.0 54.4 20.4 5.18 6.25
ZKDH009 0.0 19.0 19.0 6.19 18.60
  7.0 19.0 12.0 8.12 18.60
ZKDH010 0.0 81.0 81.0 4.15 17.61
including 63.0 69.0 6.0 8.33 11.98
ZKDH012 9.0 82.0 73.0 4.28 11.32
including 10.0 22.0 12.0 5.21 9.95
and including 24.0 34.1 10.1 5.55 6.83
and including 35.5 50.0 14.5 5.75 11.32
ZKDH013 0.0 59.0 59.0 4.62 15.06
including 1.6 15.7 14.1 7.40 10.23
and including 36.0 40.0 4.0 9.08 15.06
ZKDH014 3.0 11.0 8.0 4.17 7.69
ZKDH015 26.0 34.0 8.0 4.95 9.79
ZKDH016 0.0 46.1 46.1 3.73 12.22
including 12.0 16.0 4.0 6.48 8.65
and including 20.0 26.5 6.5 7.95 12.22
and including 32.6 44.9 12.3 4.70 8.92
ZKDH019 1.0 23.0 22.0 3.48 7.60
including 1.0 12.0 11.0 5.12 7.60
ZKDH021 1.0 66.0 65.0 4.17 19.44
including 1.0 24.0 23.0 4.78 10.25
and including 30.0 41.0 11.0 6.94 19.44
and including 56.0 66.0 10.0 4.02 5.57
ZKDH023 0.0 88.3 88.3 3.20 8.80
including 40.0 58.0 18.0 4.62 8.80
and including 65.0 78.0 13.0 4.88 7.77
ZKDH025 16.0 64.3 48.3 3.31 7.76
including 25.0 36.0 11.0 4.70 7.76
ZKDH026 34.0 66.0 32.0 3.45 6.94
including 50.0 66.0 16.0 4.14 6.94
ZKDH031 0.0 42.0 42.0 4.43 13.75
including 0.0 10.0 10.0 8.19 13.75
ZKDH033 72.0 81.0 9.0 5.09 8.49
ZKDH042 0.0 35.0 35.0 4.23 8.84
including 2.0 18.0 16.0 5.06 8.84
ZKDH044 7.0 22.0 15.0 4.83 8.13
ZKDH046 26.0 56.0 30.0 4.89 10.09
including 27.0 50.0 23.0 5.37 10.09
ZKDH049 51.0 62.0 11.0 4.68 5.95
ZKDH057 20.0 33.0 13.0 6.56 11.30
ZKDH058 0.0 11.0 11.0 4.17 6.20
RC drill holes          
ZKRC0066 0 85 85 4.53 11.10
including 0 13 13 6.46 11.10
and including 17 29 12 5.34 8.75
and including 51 69 18 5.69 9.94
ZKRC0068 14 34 20 4.12 10.54
including 16 28 12 4.85 10.54
ZKRC0075 12 21 9 6.48 11.51
ZKRC0076 18 66 48 4.85 10.04
including 23 57 34 5.65 10.04
ZKRC0100 3 17 14 7.47 12.69
ZKRC0113 26 34 8 5.60 9.04
ZKRC0131 26 51 25 6.15 17.81
including 26 36 10 10.06 17.81
ZKRC0171 0 30 30 4.61 7.99
                       including 20 30 10 5.96 7.99
ZKRC0174 0 67 67 3.74 6.55
including 11 23 12 5.24 6.30
ZKRC0183 34 65 31 4.39 10.53
ZKRC0184 0 52 52 3.48 6.77
including 16 32 16 4.28 6.77

Table 2: Drill hole location and depth      
Hole No. Azimuth Dip Easting* Northing* Elevation** Hole Length
(m)
DD drill holes            
ZKDH003 195 -60 783612.16 6581712.00 198.59 127.36
ZKDH004 45 -60 783452.84 6581468.25 194.24 96.05
ZKDH006 58 -58 783530.65 6581592.72 201.33 115.21
ZKDH008 231 -59 783486.72 6581498.33 198.18 92.05
ZKDH009 60 -59 783569.61 6581560.79 199.17 142.01
ZKDH010 54 -59 783609.03 6581592.57 198.18 107.71
ZKDH012 231 -57 783648.88 6581623.49 196.73 88.38
ZKDH013 44 -60 783680.57 6581571.90 194.56 59.05
ZKDH014 30 -60 783655.64 6581530.74 196.58 57.51
ZKDH015 210 -60 783654.25 6581526.58 196.68 85.31
ZKDH016 225 -60 783607.76 6581593.56 198.19 46.10
ZKDH019 207 -59 783628.72 6581485.95 197.18 81.36
ZKDH021 230 -61 783568.23 6581560.61 199.39 80.62
ZKDH023 36 -61 783553.16 6581361.10 199.39 88.28
ZKDH025 213 -60 783575.20 6581396.95 193.77 90.76
ZKDH026 208 -59 783553.04 6581361.90 197.97 90.52
ZKDH031 77 -59 783574.39 6581665.77 196.15 91.30
ZKDH033 78 -60 783469.53 6581624.15 199.60 104.70
ZKDH042 96 -59 783576.89 6581753.35 195.91 109.31
ZKDH044 96 -59 783526.20 6581750.72 191.94 105.82
ZKDH046 270 -60 783524.76 6581750.88 191.89 83.30
ZKDH049 93 -60 783476.90 6581748.96 188.56 128.90
ZKDH057 191 -60 783731.18 6581429.31 189.57 49.30
ZKDH058 17 -61 783721.46 6581384.63 189.39 48.85
RC drill  holes            
ZKRC0066 2 -61 783822.81 6581435.93 184.63 85
ZKRC0068 6 -61 783823.61 6581358.19 182.01 85
ZKRC0075 359 -60 783906.82 6581556.80 183.97 54
ZKRC0076 62 -60 783458.29 6581473.56 194.73 66
ZKRC0100 355 -60 784242.02 6581586.06 164.46 73
ZKRC0113 3 -57 783724.08 6581522.52 192.84 78
ZKRC0131 349 -58 783910.30 6582098.41 176.35 62
ZKRC0171 8 -61 783784.63 6581439.13 186.68 63
ZKRC0174 339 -60 783465.97 6581317.62 185.60 67
ZKRC0183 102 -60 783523.69 6581835.94 186.87 68
ZKRC0184 100 -61 783506.38 6581875.00 184.79 83
* WGS84, UTM 33oS   ** m above mean sea
level
       

Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Geochemical Analyses

Recoveries from the diamond drilling operations were >90% and recoveries from the RC drilling operations were >80%. Due the friable nature of the diamond drill core, whole core, generally in 1 metre lengths, was sampled and sent to the laboratory for sample preparation and assay. For the RC chips, the material from each 1 metre drilled was split in a riffle splitter down to a representative sample of approximately one kilogram which was sent to the laboratory for preparation and assay. Genalysis Laboratory Services in Johannesburg, South Africa ("Genalysis") carried out the sample preparation work and shipped milled portions of the samples to their laboratories in Maddington, Western Australia, for analysis using a sodium peroxide fusion technique followed by ICP-MS analysis. Elements selected for analysis were the 14 rare earth elements, Y, Th and U. Genalysis is accredited by The National Association of Testing Authorities Australia to ISO/IEC 17025 standards and includes ISO 9001:2000. Genalysis' internal quality control programme includes repeat analyses of samples, certified reference material ("CRM") and blanks.

For independent QA/QC, Frontier inserted at a ratio of 1:20 (5%) each of blank material, CRM material and duplicate samples into the sample stream before the samples were shipped from the field. As a further control, 5% of the samples were reanalysed at a referee laboratory, Activation Laboratories Limited ("Actlabs") in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. The Actlabs analysis involved a lithium metaborate/tetraborate fusion of sample followed by ICP-MS analysis. Actlabs is accredited with the following Canadian and International Organisations: Standards Council of Canada for ISO 17025, Health Canada, National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference and Food and Drug Administration. MSA, through their Principal Consultant, Mike Venter and Consulting Geologist, Pete Siegfried, the latter being an independent "Qualified Person" in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, verified that the analytical data from the primary and referee laboratories was of acceptable accuracy, precision and reproducibility.

Table 3: NI 43-101 Compliant Mineral Resource Estimate for Zandkopsdrift (2011)

   
    TONNAGE
(Mt)
AVERAGE
TREO
GRADE
CONTAINED
TREO (t)
 
  TREO Cut-off grade        
  INDICATED MINERAL RESOURCES  
  1.0% 32.35 2.28% 738,881  
           
           
  INFERRED MINERAL RESOURCES  
  1.0% 10.13 2.08% 210,420  
           
           
- Mineral Resources reported inclusive of mineral reserves (no
mineral reserves are reported for Zandkopsdrift in the PEA)
- Mineral Resources that are not mineral reserves do not have
demonstrated economic viability
- In situ estimation assuming no geological losses

Table 4: Zandkopsdrift Distribution by Rare Earth Element (PEA)

     
         
Rare Earth Element Rare Earth
Oxide
Relative
Distribution
(%)
   
         
Lanthanum La2O3 25.37    
Cerium Ce2O3 44.06    
Praseodymium Pr2O3 4.62    
Neodymium Nd2O3 15.88    
Samarium Sm2O3 2.27    
Europium Eu2O3 0.59    
Gadolinium Gd2O3 1.42    
Terbium Tb2O3 0.17    
Dysprosium Dy2O3 0.78    
Holmium Ho2O3 0.13    
Erbium Er2O3 0.32    
Thulium Tm2O3 0.04    
Ytterbium Yb2O3 0.22    
Lutetium Lu2O3 0.03    
Yttrium Y2O3 4.12    
TOTAL   100.00    
         

This release has been prepared under the supervision of Frontier's Vice President, Exploration, Dr. Stuart Smith BSc, PhD. who is a "Qualified Person" in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

About Frontier Rare Earths Limited (TSX: FRO) (TSX: FRO.WT)

Frontier Rare Earths Limited is a mineral exploration and development company focused on the development of rare earths projects in Africa.  Frontier's flagship asset is the Zandkopsdrift rare earth project, which is located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa and is one of the largest high grade undeveloped rare earth deposits worldwide. Zandkopsdrift's favourable location is expected to provide significant advantages in relation to capital costs and development time compared to other rare earth projects currently being evaluated, and makes Frontier well positioned to become one of the first significant new producers of separated rare earths outside China. Frontier has a direct 74% interest and a 95% economic interest in Zandkopsdrift.

Frontier is listed on the main board of the Toronto Stock Exchange and currently has 89,562,781 shares outstanding. Frontier is well funded, with approximately $33m cash and no debt, and this strong working capital position is expected to be sufficient to finance the proposed work programme of the Company and the completion of a Preliminary Feasibility Study (scheduled for Q4 2012) and a Definitive Feasibility Study for Zandkopsdrift (scheduled for Q3 2013).

Forward Looking Statements - Certain information set forth in this news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Readers can identify many of these statements by looking for words such as "will", "intends", "projects", "anticipates", "estimates", "achieving", or similar words or the negative thereof.

These forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, certain of which are beyond the control of the Company, including, but not limited to, the impact of general economic conditions, industry conditions, commodity prices, availability of financing for the Company and the Company's ability to raise additional capital, results of feasibility studies, dependence upon regulatory approvals, the estimation of mineral resources and the realization of mineral reserves based on mineral resource estimates and estimated future development, if any, and possible variations of ore grade or recovery rates; the Company development, if any, and possible expectations regarding competition from other producers globally, possible customer and supplier relationships, anticipated trends and challenges in the Company regarding competition; mineral resource estimates and supply outlook and growth opportunities, the future price of and future demand for rare earth elements, title disputes or claims including Black Economic Empowerment initiatives, and the timing and possible outcome of pending regulatory and permitting matters.

Readers are cautioned that the assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. There can be no assurance that the plans, intentions or expectations upon which these forward-looking statements are based will occur.  The forward-looking statements contained herein are made as of the date of this news release and are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. Actual results may differ materially from those anticipated. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements due to the inherent uncertainty therein. Frontier disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. 

Image with caption: "Figure 1: Simplified geological map of the Zandkopsdrift carbonatite showing drilling locations and the rare earth enriched dyke zone intruding rare earth bearing weathered carbonatitic phlogopite breccia (CNW Group/Frontier Rare Earths Ltd.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120629_C5216_PHOTO_EN_15846.jpg

For further information:

For further information visit www.frontierrareearths.com, e-mail the Company at IR@frontierrareearths.com or contact James Kenny, CEO, at +352 208 80249 or Joe Racanelli, TMX Equicom, at 416 815 0700 x243.

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