Ownership disputes over Kangankunde Rare Earth Mine in Balaka has taken a new twist with an Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed company Lindian Resources claiming to own 75 percent stake of the mine. d in 2000.
A statement posted on Lindian Resources Limited website shows that the company bought 75 percent interest in the Kangankunde Rare Earth Project South Africa-based Rift Valley Resource Development Limited owned by geologist Michael Saner who had an Exclusive Prospecting Licence (EPL).
Lindian Resources has received commitments to raise $1.5 million (about K1 billion).
At the same time, Mining Review Africa reports thta Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has now signed a consent order with Michael Saner for the Kangankunde Rare Earth Project.
The report quotes Lindian chairperson Asimwe Kabunga as saying that the settlement between them and Saner effectively ends 15 years of litigation in respect of the project and allows for Lindian to finalise its due diligence.
He says the Kangankunde Mine has all the hallmarks of a top tier global rare earths project underpinned by its size and scale and has every opportunity to become a major player in the global rare earths market through its successful development.
“With the consent order now being granted, Lindian will proceed to finalise its due diligence on the proposed acquisition and then convene a meeting to seek the necessary shareholder approvals,” said Kabunga.
The consent order settles all matters between the parties and, more importantly, provides for the issuing of a new EPL.
The report further says with the consent order obtained, Lindian would move quickly to verify and update all previous reports and studies on the project which included pre-feasibility economics, conduct initial on-site sampling and mapping to assist in confirming previously reported grades.
Director of mines Jalf Salima could not comment on the consent order.
According to a 2016 technical write-up by mining expert, Grain Malunga, who is also former minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Rift Valley Resource Development Limited project did not take off due to litigation that arose with their potential joint venture partners, Rare Earth Mining Company, .
Rare Earth Mining Company transferred mineral rights of Kangankunde to Lynas Corporation who were later involved in court battles with RVRD on ownership of the deposit.
Since then, there has been no capital investment from Lynas on the project. n