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Lindian eyes mine trial at Malawi rare earths project

Updated: May 2

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

Lindian Resources is assessing a low-cost trial mining campaign planned for early next year at its Kangankunde rare earths project in Malawi, while a process plant tender package is also being finalised.

Management says mined material will be stockpiled, with the results of the trial set to be used to assess drill and blast fragmentation requirements, in addition to material handling productivity.

The company has a mining licence, environmental certificate and explosives magazine licence in place, 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 soon be granted.

Management expects early-stage mine development works will be fully funded from existing cash reserves and is investigating other non-dilutive funding options. It adds that there is considerable interest from rare earths industry participants for offtake deals, including the option for a pre-payment debt facility for project development.

An infill drill program designed to define an indicated category for the current mineral resource has also been completed, with initial assays expected to be released this month. The resource update, along with engineering quotations for construction, will form part of the feasibility study management expects to deliver for Kangankunde in next year’s first quarter.

We expect a steady flow of mine development updates including an updated resource statement, mine designs and material scheduling, and firm quotations for all processing plant and associated infrastructure costs to be progressively reported from early in the new year leading to our feasibility study in the first quarter of calendar 2024. Lindian Resources chief executive officer Alistair Stephens

The company recently revealed its maiden mineral resource estimate for Kangankunde, outlining 261 million tonnes at an impressive grade of 2.19 per cent total rare earth oxides (TREO). It has highlighted a lower-end exploration target of 400 million tonnes at 2 per cent TREO, with an upper-range figure at a whopping 800 million tonnes grading 2.7 per cent TREO for its central carbonatite prospect.

The current mineral resource shows 5.7 million tonnes of contained TREO in the inferred category. An estimated 1.2 million tonnes comprises the critical neodymium-praseodymium element, coupling for an average content amounting to about 21 per cent of the overall resource estimate.

Lindian says the exploration target potential and mineral resource estimate establishes Kangankunde as one of the world’s biggest rare earths deposits, based on a globally-recognised mineral reporting code. However, it adds that the potential quantity and grade of the exploration target is conceptual in nature and is therefore still an approximation.

The Malawi deposit is considered one of the world’s major rare earths operations outside China and with further results pending and a mine trial just around the corner, Lindian could be on the verge of becoming a major player in the critical mineral sector.

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