By Nita Karume:
Rift Valley Resources is set to begin the preparations for a drill program at Longonjo. This is aimed at extending previously announced mineralization of its neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) project. The project, which is located in Angola, contains copper, gold and niobium mineralization in addition to the NdPr mineralization that the company is currently focusing on.
Rift Valley completed the initial resource estimate for the project in September 2017. At the same time, the firm also hired Amec Foster Wheeler, a leading mining and processing consultant, to complete a scoping study. According to the company’s latest quarterly update, Longonjo “has the potential to become a world leading Magnet Metal Project.”
In an announcement earlier on this week, Rift Valley COO and Executive Director Dave Hammond, only 14% of the mineral is tested to date. He went on to add that they are currently designing a program aimed at significantly extending the shallow high grade NdPr mineralization. This, he says, will include the assessment of the potential for a globally significant NdPr deposit.
Longonjo is located on Rift Valley’s 70% -owned Ozango license. Furthermore, the secondary resource estimate completed last September is said to cover the high-grade weathered portion of the deposit. The weathered material included in the inferred resource estimate is a soft oxide that occurs from surface over a large area. As such, the firm believes it may be possible to mine the deposit via a conventional shallow open pit with a low waste-to-feed ratio.
Angola has become increasingly attractive to international mining companies in recent years. This can be attributed to its stable and peaceful government and citizens, untapped mineral resource potential. Its recent agreement to be a party to the New York foreign arbitration convention also has a role to play in the same.
Longonjo also benefits from being close to established infrastructure. As a result, Rift Valley believes it struck a gold mine- pun intended- when it purchased its 70% interest in the project. The remaining percentage is owned by a state-led company and another local miner.
The company is looking to become a leading supplier of the magnet metals in time for the predicted surge in demand from the impending change to electric vehicle technology- according to Mr. Hammond. Magnet metals like neodymium and praseodymium are used in the surging electric vehicle sector.