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Rift Valley Resources appoints new chair to head-up magnet metals strategy

Accomplished resources executive Paul Atherley is the company’s new non-executive chairman.
Photo of electric motor component
Magnet metals are essential for electric motors

Rift Valley Resources Ltd (ASX:RVY) has appointed accomplished resources executive Paul Atherley as non-executive chairman as it increases its focus on the Longonjo NdPr Project in Angola.

Atherley, who is based in London, has operational, development, capital markets and media experience across the mining and energy sectors in Africa, Australia, Europe, China and the UK.

READ: Rift Valley Resources to spin drill to expand magnet metal project

The company believes Longonjo has the potential to become a globally significant magnet metal deposit in both size and grade.

Stephen Dobson will step down as chairman and remain on the board as a non-executive director.

Atherley said: “The clean energy revolution has resulted in a dramatic increase in demand for battery metals, notably lithium and cobalt.

“Attention is now turning to a very much larger market – the rapidly growing application of electric motors to virtually all walks of life.

“From hair dryers to electric vehicles to grid-scale wind turbines, electric motors will be at the core of our clean energy future.”

Essential in electric motors

Neodymium Praseodymium (NdPr) metals are essential for the manufacture of electric motors and, following acquisitions in recent years, China now controls more than 90% of the production.

The new chairman said there was only one listed NdPr producer in the world today – Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) - and it sold most of its product to China.

Rift Valley is divesting its interests in Tanzania to focus on its flagship Longonjo NdPr Project, at which 2018 field exploration programs are underway.

Drilling is planned

This program includes drilling that will target extensions to the resource of 11.6 million tonnes at 4.30% rare earth oxide (REO).

It will also aim to upgrade the resource to the indicated category and provide samples for metallurgical test work.

READ: Rift Valley Resources stokes up coffers through gold asset sales to pursue Angola interests

Atherley adds: “With just 14% of the target area drilled to date, the Longonjo NdPr Project has already reported a substantial mineral resource estimate.

“Dave Hammond and the team believe there is potential for considerably more.

“I very much look forward to supporting Dave and his team as they unlock the full potential of this exciting project.”

Wide-ranging experience

Atherley has wide-ranging international and capital markets experience.

He served as executive director of the investment banking arm of HSBC Australia where he undertook a range of advisory roles in the resources sector.

Beijing was his base from 2005 to 2015 and he developed strong connections within Chinese business, industry bodies and senior government officials.

He has been a regular business commentator on China and the resources sector.

Atherley is managing director of Berkeley Energia Ltd (ASX:BKY (LON:BKY) and a director of Leyshon Resources Limited and Leyshon Energy Limited.

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