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Lindian Resources locks in final permit for massive Malawi rare earths project

Lindian Resources has recorded impressive hits from drilling at its Kangankunde rare earths project in Malawi. Credit: File

Lindian Resources (ASX: LIN) is fully permitted to begin the construction, mining and mineral processing steps at its giant Kangankunde rare earths project in Malawi after receiving a permit to extract ground water at the site.

The giant African operation currently boasts a 261 million tonne resource grading an impressive 2.19 per cent total rare earth oxides (TREO) for a contained 5.7 million tonnes of rare earths.

Lindian is expected to release the findings of its feasibility study into the first stage of mining and mineral processing at the project this quarter and with 1000m mostly mineralised drill hits at the project, those numbers will no doubt be highly anticipated.

With the water permit secured, the company now has mining, exploration, environmental and social impact and assessment licences in place in addition to an explosives permit and it is now all systems go for what is generally considered to be the best hard rock rare earths deposit in the world.

Final assays from a recent infill drilling campaign, an indicated resource update and an ore reserve estimation will all be released ahead of the upcoming feasibility study. Contract awards, operating cost estimates and first stage capital costs from engineering and construction tenders are also pending.

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

This is an important milestone and we now have all necessary licences and permits in place for the construction and operation phases. We are close to finalising the Feasibility Study which will showcase Kangankunde’s considerable value, the low CAPEX and OPEX nature of the project and its superior economics.
Lindian Resources chief executive officer Alistair Stephens

Just last month the company delivered a raft of shallow, high-grade hits from drilling at its Malawi operation, including a monster 119m section going 3.77 per cent TREO from surface. It recently completed a third-phase infill drilling campaign at the operation with the aim of upgrading a significant portion of its inferred mineral resource into the more confident indicated category.

Additional new assay highlights show impressive figures including 120m at 3.66 per cent TREO, 80m going 3.59 per cent and 150m grading 3.38 per cent, with each section starting right from surface. Another 100m hit going 3.29 per cent TREO from surface included a 1m segment at an astounding 21.23 per cent TREO from 27m.

Of the 14 recently-assayed intercepts, the lowest grade would still be the envy of many rare earths explorers, with an 80m hit going 2 per cent TREO from surface. Importantly, the average grade of the critical metals neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) make up about 20 per cent of the total rare earths.

Samples from the final 10 holes drilled during the infill program are currently at the laboratory, with results expected to be released in the coming weeks.

In February, management revealed high-grade rare earths running up to 7.15 per cent TREO at Kangankunde following a geological mapping and sampling campaign.

The company says its most recent work shows that outcropping carbonatite prospects both north and south of the main project are highly mineralised with rare earths. It says 17 of 21 samples taken from two discrete outcrops in its Malawi project area returned grades ranging from 2.07 per cent TREO to the high 7.15 per cent.

With all permits now locked in, the market will be keeping a close eye on the results of Lindian’s upcoming feasibility study as the company moves quickly to the initial mining phase at Kangankunde.

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