By Bester KAYAYE
ASX listed Lindian Resources says initial exploration drilling has commenced at its Kangankunde Rare Earths (REE) Project in Balaka district.
This comes after the company acquired the tenement from the previous holder, Rift Valley Resource Developments.
Lindian CEO Alistair Stephens says in a statement phase one of the drilling program consists of 44 drill-holes for 10,000m of reverse circulation (RC) drilling and 2,500m of core drilling on the Kangankunde hilltop.
Stephens says the objective of the exercise is to provide an initial definition of the mineralised carbonatite and surrounding carbonatite breccia rocks within an area of 800m long and 800m wide.
Monazite mineralisation hosting REEs is also visible in the rocks that crop out in this area, and Stephens says phase one drilling will be limited to the Kangankunde hilltop using two RC rigs and one core rig to complete as many holes as possible until the wet season (from December to March) which limits access.
Stephens says: “With shareholder approval for the acquisition granted in late September, and the blessing of the Kangankunde community who have supported our plan, I thank the Lindian team who have worked tirelessly to prepare all necessary logistics and supplies that are necessary for a drill program of the size we are embarking upon.”
“This is the first drill program at Kangankunde since the 1990s. It will form the basis towards a mineral resource estimate (MRE) under the 2012 JORC code, or at a minimum, an exploration target.”
“A steady stream news in the form of assay results, metallurgical testwork results, additional exploration targets and potentially a MRE, represent multiple value drivers for shareholders.”
“I look forward with excitement to the results of the work programs and will provide further updates as we progress.”
Stephens describes the Kangankunde REE Project is a globally significant resource in potential for size, grade and quality, and the drilling program now underway can be expected to confirm and build upon previous historical work.
Two additional deep drillholes are planned from drill pads near the base of the Kangankunde hill and are designed to allow drilling to continue during the early stages of the wet season.
These holes, each 1,000m in length, are designed to test the North-South and East-West axis of the carbonatite between 300m and 800m below the hilltop, and Lindian says phase two will begin after phase one is completed, and will be dependent on the wet season.
During November, samples will be taken for metallurgical testwork including mineralogy and recovery works, and the Company hopes the outcome of this work program will be available towards the end of Q1 2023, and this will combine resource definition drilling with metallurgical recovery outcomes.
Samples from all works will undergo sample preparation at an internationally accredited laboratory in Africa, and then sub-samples will be shipped to Australia for assay.
The company’s resource team has mapped the geology of the Kangankunde complex over the last month and it has identified three distinct target mineralisation zones including carbonatite and carbonatite breccia abundant in monazite mineralisation, and a peripheral carbonatite breccia which consists of carbonatite and altered (fenite) host rock containing monazite mineralisation.
The Kangankunde deposit has a previously reported Inferred Resource of 107,000 tonnes of Rare Earths Oxide (REO) at an average grade of 4.24% TREO (“total rare earth oxide”) in 2.53 million tonnes of mineralisation, using a cut-off grade of 3.5% TREO1. The mineralisation is exposed at surface and the deposit remains open at depth. Historic metallurgical testwork has demonstrated the mineralisation is amenable to low-cost gravity separation to produce a high-grade concentrate.
Reducing the cut-off grade to 3% TREO increases the Inferred resource to 180,000 tonnes at an average grade of 3.8%.