Australian miner Rift Valley Resources is planning a major drill program at its Longonjo project as part of its renewed focus on the Angola-based asset.
Rift Valley completed a maiden inferred resource estimate for the project in September 2017, and also hired Amec Foster Wheeler, a leading mining and processing consultant, to complete a scoping study. According to the company’s latest quarterly update, Longonjo “has the potential to become a world leading Magnet Metal Project.”
As mentioned, with the new planned drill program, Rift Valley aims to extend previously announced mineralization at Longonjo.
“With only 14 percent of this highly mineralized carbonatite tested to date we are designing a programme aimed at significantly extending the shallow high grade NdPr mineralization and assessing the potential for a globally significant NdPr deposit,” Rift Valley COO and Executive Director Dave Hammond said in a Monday (May 28) announcement.
Longonjo is located on Rift Valley’s 70-percent-owned Ozango license, and the inferred resource estimate completed last September covers the high-grade weathered portion of the deposit. At a rare earth oxide cutoff of 1 percent, the inferred resource is pegged at 11.6 million tonnes at 4.3 percent rare earth oxide for 499,000 tonnes of contained rare earth oxide.
The weathered material included in the inferred resource estimate is a soft oxide that occurs from surface over a large area; Rift Valley believes it may be possible to mine the deposit via a conventional shallow open pit with a low waste-to-feed ratio.
Angola has become increasingly attractive to international mining companies in recent years due to its stable and peaceful government and citizens, untapped mineral resource potential and its recent agreement to be a party to the New York foreign arbitration convention.
Longonjo also benefits from being close to established infrastructure, and Rift Valley believes it secured a first-mover advantage in Angola when it purchased its 70-percent interest in the project. The remaining 30 percent is owned by a state-led company and another local miner.
The company is hopeful that it will become “a leading supplier of the magnet metals in time for the predicted surge in demand from the impending change to electric vehicle technology.” Magnet metals like neodymium and praseodymium are used in the surging electric vehicle sector.
While exploration in Angola is ramping up, Rift Valley has been divesting its Tanzania-based projects over the last few months. The company expects to bring in an additional US$650,000 when it sells its Kitongo gold project and Canuck prospecting license over the coming months.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.