Country manager Paulo Nunes briefed the Longonjo team on the program, which is set to begin in August.
The program will encompass an area around 10 times the extent of the Longonjo resource estimate and will enable an updated estimate to be prepared.
Nunes said the administration was highly supportive of the program which would create jobs for locals and inject money into the community.
“There is a genuine excitement amongst the team about the start of the program and this is shared by the local administration,” he said.
The drilling program follows a recently oversubscribed $5.5 million capital raise and first results are expected about six weeks after it starts.
Longonjo contains a large new discovery of neodymium praseodymium (NdPr) mineralisation.
This is part of the 11.6 million tonnes at 4.30% rare earth oxide (REO) JORC-compliant maiden resource.
Drilling to test large area
Drilling will test the whole of the highly mineralised carbonatite within a 2.4 square kilometre area.
Commenting on the drilling, Rift Valley’s chairman Paul Atherley said: “China controls well over of 90% of the world’s production of NdPr which is the core metal used in electric motors for EVs, wind turbines and more generally in the electrification of modern society.
“Currently there is only one listed NdPr producer in the world today (Lynas Corporation Ltd ASX:LYC), which sells most of its production to China.
“Dave Hammond and his team have designed this program with the clear objective of delineating a globally significant NdPr resource at Longonjo.”