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Lotus Resources discovers high-grade rare earth oxides at Kayelekera Project in Malawi

The date of: 2021-02-01
viewed: 14

source:Proactive Investors Australia

Given the presence of high-grade neodymium-praseodymium oxide - an essential ingredient for multiple clean technologies - the company is considering additional work to determine the potential of this discovery.

Lotus Resources Ltd (ASX:LOT) has found high-grade rare earth oxide (REO) material up to 16% total REO and 3.4% critical REO at the Milenje Hills prospect, 2 kilometres from its Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Malawi, after a preliminary low-cost exploration program. 

The rare-earth assemblage discovered by geophysics, mapping, and trenching at the prospect includes neodymium, europium, terbium, dysprosium, yttrium, and praseodymium - with neodymium and praseodymium oxides representing around 20% of the total REO content of the assayed samples. 

These two elements, along with dysprosium and terbium are essential for the manufacture of permanent magnetics, which make-up around 90% of the value of the REO market and experienced a significant price increase in the second half of 2020. 

“Potential viability of rare earths”

Lotus managing director Eduard Smirnov said: “Whilst the company remains firmly focused on the development and recommencement of production at the Kayelekera Uranium Mine, these results are highly encouraging given the mineralisation starts from surface, the high-grade nature and most importantly the assemblage of rare earth minerals.

“Notably, the presence of high-grade neodymium-praseodymium oxide, a product, which is an essential ingredient for multiple clean technologies, has experienced a significant price increase recently, with further price appreciation expected in the future.

“The company is now assessing additional low-cost work to better understand the potential and viability of rare earths at the Project before considering the optimal path forward to crystalise value for shareholders.”

Attractive REO grade

The discovery found critical REOs up to 3.4% (Dysprosium, europium, neodymium, praseodymium, terbium and yttrium oxides) averaging 1.6% across the 22 mineralised samples.

While the results have been obtained from trenching material, the average grade of the Total REO (3.5%) across all 70 samples assayed is attractive, given that the average grade of the resources of ASX listed Rare Earth companies ranges between 0.63% and 5.4%.

 In addition to rare earth oxides, samples with up to 7% titanium dioxide present as rutile were seen, with this mineralisation consistent with the high-grade REO mineralisation.

Projects with JORC Mineral Resources that have grades similar to those seen in the Milenje trench samples include Peak Resources Ltd’s (ASX:PEK) (OTCMKTS:PKREF) (FRA:M3U) Ngulla Project in Tanzania (214 million tonnes at 2.16% TREO) and Arafura Resources Limited’s (ASX:ARU) (OTCMKTS:ARAFF) (FRA:REB) Nolan Bore Project in Australia (56 million tonnes at 2.59% TREO).

Notably, Arafura has indicated a portion of the REO present in Nolans Bore are associated with allanite mineralisation similar to that found by Lotus.

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