Canadian-based Gold Canyon Resources Inc. says phase two work, which will cost the miner $4 million (K588 million), has begun at its Chambe Basin Rare Earth Elements (REE) Project in Mulanje.
The Chambe Basin REE Project which covers a 400-square kilometres prospecting license, is being explored through a Project Venture Agreement (PVA) between Gold Canyon (33 percent) and partner, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC; 67 percent) and belongs to the companyâ€™s wholly-owned joint venture subsidiary, Spring Stone Limited, a Malawi corporation.
Mitsui Mineral Development Engineering Company Limited (Mindeco) of Japan is the contract operator of the programme.
According to the miner, Chambe Basin hosts clay-type REE deposits and that phase one drilling started in 2011 within the approximately 3.2km diameter.
During the exploration works, the miner found a surficial horizon of REE-bearing kaolinite/halloysite clay ranging from three to 26 metres thick.
â€œAnalysis of core from these holes indicates this clay contains comparable levels of total REEâ€™s to its Chinese counterparts as well as similar Heavy REE enrichment. Very low radioactivity is associated with clays at Chambe, a potentially positive metallurgical attribute. Initial leach testing conducted at the Corporate R & D Centre of Mitsui Mining & Smelting Company Limited indicates the recovery of REEâ€™s may be possible through simple leaching of this clay using simple ionic solutions [such as] those employed in China, followed by precipitation of REE carbonates,â€ says the company in a statement posted on its website.
The miner says phase two of the work will encompasse drilling of 167 shallow core holes on a staggered 200 metre grid across Chambe Basin.
Mindeco will undertake extensive metallurgical testing of clay samples from these holes to determine the leachability of REEâ€™s and the quality and composition of resulting REE carbonate concentrates.
It says, in addition to drilling, extensive baseline environmental work is underway including study of how indigenous vegetation could be regenerated to Chambe Basin as part of future development of the site.
â€œWork completed in 2012 should advance the Chambe Basin REE project toward prefeasibility by mid-2013.
Phase one of the project cost the miner A$1 million (K305 million).
Gold Canyon is engaged in the acquisition and exploration of mineral and precious metals properties.
Through its wholly owned US subsidiary, Gold Canyon Resources USA Inc., the Company controls a 100 percent interest in the Cordero Gallium Project situated in Humboldt County, Nevada, USA.
Gold Canyon entered into a REE Joint Exploration Agreement with the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) in January 2009.