Mkango Resources Limited, a mineral exploration and development company, plans to roll out the rare earths project at Songwe Hills in Phalombe in late 2023 upon completion of an economic bankable feasibility study.
The firm’s president Alexander Lemon said in an e-mailed response that they have since found neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium which are important rare earth elements used in making permanent high-strength magnets.
He said: “These are magnets that go into electric motors which drive electric vehicles and wind turbines for power generation.
“On completion of an economic bankable feasibility study, we hope that this project will be in production in late 2023.”
Lemon said what they have is the beginning of a new industrial electric revolution where a high-value sustainably produced purified chemical rare earth carbonate will be produced and shipped to markets in North America, Europe and Asia.
He said in contrast to other competing projects around the world during commercial operations, the mineral concentrate will be processed in the country to produce a high-value purified chemical carbonate concentrate via an integrated flotation and hydrometallurgical plant as opposed to a mineral concentrate being exported.
“This means greater efficiencies and value addition to the product in Malawi,” said Lemon.
The flotation pilot results are significant improvement on the 2015 pre-feasibility study and are expected to have a positive impact on downstream hydrometallurgical operations, the piloting for which has already started.
Speaking when he toured the project in Phalombe last week, Vice-President Saulos Chilima expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the exploration and on the bankable feasibility study.
He said: “This is exciting news and sits well with our government’s vision to start taking mining as a serious economic activity for the country.
“Malawi is in the driving seat for a global electric revolution in technology as the rare earths elements are crucial in the manufacture of world-changing technology.”
Last Tuesday, the mining firm announced completion of results of the flotation pilot plant programme.