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Lindian eyes maiden reserve as feasibility study looms

Updated: May 2

Fieldwork at Lindian Resources’ Kangankunde rare earths project in Malawi. Credit: File.

Lindian Resources is taking aim at upgrading a significant portion of its massive Kangankunde rare earths deposit in Malawi to the high-confidence indicated category ahead of a feasibility study due this quarter.

All of the deposit’s 261 million tonnes grading 2.19 per cent total rare earth oxides (TREO) currently sits in the inferred category and as the assays from phase-three drilling come back, the company hopes to make an eyebrow-raising maiden ore reserve statement as part of its study.

Lindian’s latest batch of assays from the first 21 holes in the phase-three drilling effort showed a peak intersection of 38m grading 4.63 per cent TREO from 74m within a thicker 150m section from surface to the end of the hole averaging 3.21 per cent TREO.

Other significant TREO hits, which are all notably from surface to the end of the holes, include 150m at 3.78 per cent, 75m grading 3.57 per cent, 70m at 3.44 per cent, 150m going 3.18 per cent, 75m at 3.15 per cent and 150m reading 2.81 per cent.

Management says assays from a further 28 holes are with the lab and results are expected to be released before the end of this month.

Assay results from the Phase 3 drill program are an important body of work and key to the delivery of our Feasibility Study for the Stage-1 mine development that is now underway. This Study, which will also include an Ore Reserve statement for Kangankunde for the first time, will allow us to very clearly define first stage CAPEX and OPEX and showcase what we expect will be a robust project that can rapidly deliver a new source of dependable supply of rare earths to processors and end users. Lindian Resources executive chairman Asimwe Kabunga.

Kabunga stressed the company was well-funded for its stage-one plant plans and said initial early works would soon be underway.

The phase-three drilling program consisted of 45 reverse-circulation (RC) holes for 4666m and three diamond-core holes for 220m, giving the company plenty of data to integrate with detailed mine design and scheduling as part of the upcoming feasibility study.

Management says drilling conducted to date shows low uranium and thorium values across the deposit. An independent study completed by government agency Australia Nuclear Science Technology Organisation (ANSTO) also confirmed that Kangankunde’s mineral concentrates were not classified as radioactive for transport – a major tick in the box for down-stream feasibility.

Lindian already has a mining licence, environmental certificate and explosives magazine licence in place for Kangankunde, which will allow it to progress to development construction and operations in the near term. An application for a water extraction licence has also been submitted and is expected to be granted soon.

In December last year, the company confirmed it was assessing a low-cost trial mining campaign at Kangankunde to assess drill and blast fragmentation requirements, in addition to material handling productivity.

Kangankunde is considered to be one of the world’s biggest hard-rock rare earths operations outside of China. Lindian says the critical neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) element within its Kangankunde mineralisation makes up about 20.2 per cent of the TREO, equating to about 1.2 million tonnes.

Neodymium and praseodymium are two of the world’s most sought-after rare earths. A neodymium magnet, made from praseodymium alloy, is one of the most powerful and widely-used rare earth magnets and is three times stronger and one-tenth the size of conventional magnets.

The NdPr products are also a crucial part of the clean energy transition, with every electric vehicle drivetrain requiring up to 2kg of NdPr oxide, while a 3MW wind turbine uses about 600kg.

The current quarter is lining up to be a big one for Lindian with more assays due back, a maiden mineral reserve to be announced and a feasibility study due. That will no doubt trigger solid news flow for the market to pore over.

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