The Mabounie rare earth – niobium deposit has been returned back to Gabon. Gabon’s Ministers of Mines and Economy announced it has inked a retrocession agreement with Eramet.
The sale is part of the French’s mining firm’s strategy of refocusing on metals for economic development and energy transition. A due diligence was conducted and all tangible and intangible assets were sold to the Gabonese government.
The agreement was sealed between the government, Eramet’s General Representative in Gabon and Comilog’s Managing Director. This signature makes it possible to obtain a win-win agreement for the two partners linked by historical relations.
Mabounie rare earth
The mine is located a few kilometers from Lambare ne. The project is now at an advanced stage of maturity, enabling a partner specializing in the recovery of these metals to take a position. It has indicated mineral resources of 2.3 Mt of niobium pentoxide (Nb2O5) grading at 1.2% and a rare earths mineral resource of 2 Mt of rare earth oxides (REO), grading at 1%.
Since 2005, Eramet’s Gabon subsidiary and manganese mining company Compagnie Minière de l’Ogooué (Comilog) has been collaborating with the state-owned mining company Société Equatoriale des Mines (SEM) to develop the Mabounie project.
The mining industry of Gabon stagnated during a short period in 2015. The untapped potential of this sector got diversified by governmental plans to boost GDP contribution to over 30% in the upcoming 15 years. The abundance of natural resources and proactive diversification of export revenues from oil and gas, make the country a highly attractive centre for overseas investors.