Mkango Resources Limited, a mining company trading on TSX venture exchange in Canada, has started the second stage of drilling rare earths at its Songwe Project in Phalombe. The second phase will cost miner about $5.3 million (about K890 million).
The exercise, which commenced last week, will mainly focus on an area measuring approximately 350 metres by 100 metres which comprises rare earth enriched carbonatite, breccia and fenite lithologies.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The programme will comprise infill drilling and testing depth extensions of mineralisation intersected in the first stage. Stage one demonstrated that the mineralised zones have the potential to extend to at least 260 metres vertical depth and remain open laterally within the extents of the Songwe Hill carbonatite complex,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Mkango managing director Alexander Lemon in a statement to its shareholders.
MkangoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s drilling contractors are Cartwright Drilling Inc. of Goose Bay, Canada.
In the first drilling exercise, which cost Mkango $1.5 million (about K252 million) the company found more rare earths. It said the Ã¢â‚¬Å“near surface zones of rare earth mineralisation has zones of higher grade minerals and elevated heavy rare earth enrichmentÃ¢â‚¬Â.
The samples of the stage one drilling of rare earths were sent to South Africa, Canada and Australia for electron microprobe analysis. This is because Malawi does not have the capacity to analyse the rare earths; hence, the need for an independent analysis.
Some of the rare earths found at the site are dysprosium, uropium, terbium, niobium, manganes and salium which are essential mineral elements in electronic gadgets such as TV screens, hybrid electronic vehicles and refrigerators.
So far, there have been a number of activities that have taken place at the mining site, according to Lemon.
In the statement, he said approximately 400 samples are being dispatched for essay [microprobe analysis].
Ã¢â‚¬Å“All sampling was carried out following best practice and included a comprehensive QAQC [Quality Assurance/Quality Control] monitoring and control programme. Geological mapping has been continuing and the geological model has been further refined,Ã¢â‚¬Â he explained.
Lemon also updated shareholders on a detailed mineralogical programme which has been completed by their geologist, comprising scanning electron microscope, electron microprobe and LA-ICP-MS [Laser ablation mass spectrometer system] analyses at the Natural History Museum and Aberystwyth University in the UK, the results of which are currently being reviewed.
He also said grab samples from two yttrium enriched breccia targets close to Songwe and from other exploration targets within the licence area are also being dispatched for analysis.
The Songwe Hill Rare Earth Element Project is located within the 100 percent owned exclusive prospecting licence (EPL) covering an area of 1 283 square kilometres in Phalombe.