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ANSTO verdict opens transport, offtake options for Lindian

Lindian Resources has received positive results from multi-gravity separator testing on ore from Kangankunde. Credit: File

Confirmation from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) that mineral concentrates from Lindian Resources’ Kangankunde rare earths project in Malawi are non-radioactive has delivered simpler logistics and transport options and enhanced offtake opportunities.

The company says it has also produced concentrate grades of up to 66 per cent total rare earth oxides (TREO) from ore at the Malawi operation, by beneficiation using gravity and magnetic separation techniques.

Two samples of rare earth oxides-bearing monazite concentrate were submitted to ANSTO’s Minerals Division for natural radioactivity analysis. Following a review of the samples, it was determined the concentrates would not be classified as radioactive, taking away significant potential transport complications.

Management says demonstrating production of a mineral concentrate grading 66 per cent TREO, using only mineral beneficiation techniques, demonstrates a clear advantage for Kangankunde and what it can deliver for future offtake partners.

Additional metallurgical studies are ongoing with multiple testing programs underway. The company says the resulting data will be used for process engineering and design for its stage-one processing plant, in addition to providing a basis for an ensuing feasibility assessment.

Having confirmation from ANSTO Minerals, the highly regarded Australian Government nuclear science and technology organisation, that the rare earth concentrate from Kangankunde is not classified as radioactive for transport purposes (i.e. Class 7) is very significant for the project. Firstly, it confirms the greatly simplified logistics options for transport of the concentrate, and secondly, it promises a broader range of global off-take options. Lindian Resources chief executive officer Alistair Stephens

Just last month, the company unveiled a maiden mineral resource at Kangankunde of a bulging 261 million tonnes at an impressive grade of 2.19 per cent TREO.

The company says the 5.7 million tonnes of contained rare earths included in the MRE is of excellent grade, with a high percentage of critical metal elements and non-radioactive mineralisation, and positions the project among the world’s biggest rare earths deposits. Notably, management says its contained figure has 1.2 million tonnes of the key high-value critical mineral elements of neodymium and praseodymium.

While the company’s resource is significant on a global scale, it is important to note that the mineralisation remains open at depth and beyond some areas of the current mineral resource envelope. It comes after management recently revealed results from the first of two deep diamond drillholes at Kangankunde.

The results from the first deep hole, drilled to a depth of 980.6m, included a massive 853.6m hit at 2.73 per cent TREO from 52m and demonstrated consistent mineralisation and high grades at depth and over broad intercepts. The company used results from the upper portion of the hole to help form its mineral resource.

Now, not having to consider complicated transport options for radioactive material will mean a little less sweat on management’s brow as it looks to optimise its hulking rare earths resource.

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