By Wahard Betha
UK firm Mkango Resources says following the completion of initial sampling and ground geophysics at its Nkalonje Hill Rare Earths Project, the company has identified new drill targets for further exploration process.
Nkalonje Hill Rare Earths Project is 14km from the Mkango’s flagship Songwe Hill Rare Earths Project in Phalomba, and exploration has confirmed that the major geological features of the site are those of an alkali silicate-carbonate intrusive complex, similar to Songwe Hill.
Commenting on the development, President for Mkango, Alexander Lemon said:“We are extremely encouraged by the recent exploration results for the Nkalonje Hill Rare Earths project.
“The targets generated from the mapping and geophysics data are exciting indicators of the potential for further mineralisation at depth”
“The similarities between Nkalonje and Songwe Hill, and the high Total rare Earth Ore (TREO) grades from the assay results, demonstrate a strong case for further investigation.”
“In the long term, the close proximity of Nkalonje to Songwe provides a good potential source of additional Rare Earth Elements (REE) feedstock for processing at Songwe.”
Regional geophysical data from the World Bank funded programme in 2016 demonstrates that Nkalonje is marked by a magnetic low and thorium high.
Thorium radiometrics are known as a highly effective tool for rare earths exploration and the Songwe Hill carbonatite is also characterized by a thorium radiometric anomaly, identified through previous geophysical surveys.
Lemon explained that the finites on Nkalonje project are intruded by carbonatite veins and dykes that are locally enriched in rare earth elements, suggesting potential for a larger mineralised carbonatite body below surface.
According to Lemon, based on interpretation of the recent data, the Company has identified two drilling targets at Nkalonje whereby Target 1 is centered on known mineralisation around the carbonatite dykes with further mineralisation at depth interpreted from Induced Polarity (IP) and Natural Source Audio Magneto-Telluric (NSAMT) geophysical anomalies which present a series of potential shallow drill targets extending down-dip of the exposed dykes.
He said the second target is a conceptual target based on geophysical anomalies which consist of a surface radiometric anomaly, a gravity high and magnetic low, with an IP anomaly at depth.
Lemon also said the second target is in a relatively eroded, poorly exposed part of the hill and that these geophysical and geomorphological features fit with a conceptual model of a central carbonatite body, common to other carbonatite complexes, which the surface dykes suggest may potentially contain REE mineralisation.
Meanwhile, Mkango plans to continue evaluation works of the dykes at Target 1, including new sampling in order to trace the grade of the dykes along strike where auger sampling and trenching programme is planned to ground truth the geophysical anomalies at Target 2.
Mkango’s corporate strategy is to develop new sustainable primary and secondary sources of neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium to supply accelerating demand from electric vehicles, wind turbines and other clean technologies.
This integrated Mine, Refine, Recycle strategy differentiates Mkango from its peers, uniquely positioning the Company in the rare earths sector.
Mkango is developing Songwe Hill project with a Feasibility Study nearing completion.
In parallel, Mkango and Grupa Azoty PULAWY, Poland’s leading chemical company and the second largest manufacturer of nitrogen and compound fertilizers in the European Union, have agreed to work together towards development of a rare earth Separation Plant at Pulawy in Poland, whereby the plant will useful in processing the purified mixed rare earth carbonate produced at Songwe.
Through its ownership of Maginito, Mkango is also developing green technology opportunities in the rare earths supply chain, encompassing neodymium (NdFeB) magnet recycling as well as innovative rare earth alloy, magnet, and separation technologies.
Maginito holds a 42% interest in UK rare earth (NdFeB) magnet recycler, HyProMag with an option to increase its interest to 49%.
Mkango also has an extensive exploration portfolio in Malawi, including the Mchinji rutile exploration project, the Thambani uranium-tantalum-niobium-zircon project and Chimimbe nickel-cobalt project.