The project has a potential to produce high purity rare earth products with a strong emphasis on the magnet metals neodymium and praseodymium.
Initial results indicate that weathered zone mineral resources may be mined by conventional shallow open pit with “free dig” material and a very low waste to resource strip ratio.
The study which is undertaken by international mining consultant Amec Foster Wheeler PLC (LON:AMFW) is encouraging and justify further development work and studies.
First mover advantage in Angola
Angola is underexplored by modern methods as a result of the civil war from 1975 to 2002 but is now a peaceful and stable country rapidly developing its infrastructure.
Rift Valley has established a first mover advantage in Angola by securing majority interest the Longonjo Magnet Metal Project, which extends over an area of 3,670 square kilometres.
The project is proximate to established major infrastructure, being located less than five kilometres from a sealed national highway and rail line to the port at Benguela.
Maiden rare earth resource defined
The combined inferred resource stands at 44.7 million tonnes at 2.50% total rare-earth oxides (TREO), including a from-surface resource of 11.6 million tonnes at 4.30% TREO oxide ore.
The maiden resource is expected to be just the beginning, with mineralisation open in all directions and at depth.
Rare earth mineralisation, the subject of the study, is hosted in the weathered zone of the Longonjo Carbonatite.
The company will fast-track infill drilling to upgrade the existing resource to facilitate the completion of the study, with only a portion of the prospective carbonatite and high tenor rare earth soil anomaly tested to date.
Rift Valley’s early metallurgical test work is encouraging with further work to be undertaken.
The company has already developed a conceptual process flowsheet to produce high purity, separated rare earth products.
Demand for magnet metals
The demand neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) is predicted to surge as a result of their increasing application in high powered permanent magnets.
Permanent magnets are important components of the motors for hybrid and electric vehicles as well as the turbines for green energy wind farms.