By Hilary Mare
HEAVY rare earth elements project developer Namibia Rare Earths (NRE) has filed an application with the Namibian Mines and Energy Ministry for a mining licence for its Lofdal project, igniting its dream to have Namibia supply heavy rare earth metals outside of dominant producer, China.
Since releasing its preliminary economic assessment (PEA) in November 2014, the company has focused its Namibia operations on baseline environmental monitoring at Lofdal to support an environmental-impact assessment (EIA) for the proposed project, together with focused metallurgical optimisations, said the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based company.
It conducted the EIA process over an 18-month period under the supervision of SLR Environmental Consultants (Namibia) and had filed final reports with the Environment and Tourism Ministry.
TSX-listed Namibia Rare Earths added that Lofdal had to receive an environmental clearance certificate from the Ministry, as well as undergo a final technical and financial assessment of the project by the Mines and Energy Ministry to support the issuance of a mining licence.
The company further stated that the corporate objective was still to bring in a qualified technical or financial partner to participate in the development of Lofdal.
“The company believes that, while difficult market conditions for the resource sector in general, and rare earths in particular, persist, Lofdal remains a unique opportunity for a sustainable supply of heavy rare earths outside of dominant producer China. There are several processing options under development which can offer significant costs savings and the possibility for direct participation in the separation of rare earth oxides in Namibia. In order to safeguard the project in the interim, significant cost saving measures have been implemented on both an administrative and operational level during the mining application review period,” Don Burton, president of the firm stated.
To safeguard the project in the interim, the company implemented significant cost-saving measures on both an administrative and operational level during the mining application review period.
Meanwhile, Namibia Rare Earths also announced last week that Kalidas Madhavpeddi and Bill Koutsouras had stepped down as directors, effective immediately. CEO Gerald McConnell also resigned to take over the role of chairperson of the board from Madhavpeddi. Burton remains the president of Namibia Rare Earths.
The Lofdal project’s current National Instrument 43-101-compliant indicated resources stand at 5 594 t rare earth oxides (REO), with 85.6 percent heavy rare earths enrichment and inferred resources of 4 180 t REO, with 85.1 percent heavy rare earths enrichment, all reported at a 0.3 percent total REO (TREO) cut-off grade.
Essentially, the contained tonnage of REO can double in both categories at a lower cut-off of 0.1 percent TREO.
The project has a calculated net present value, at a 10 percent discount rate, of N$1,5 billion, as well as an internal rate of return of 42 percent.
The Lofdal Rare Earth Project comprises a 200 km² carbonatite complex with exceptional heavy rare earth-enrichment of up to 80 percent opening the door for the discovery of a world class heavy rare earth deposit.
After successfully raising N$300 million in April 2011, NRE immediately carried out an exploration drilling programme and by the end of 2011 their team had selected their first target to develop into a 43-101 compliant mineral resource. In September 2012, they announced the first rare earth mineral resource for Lofdal with an exceptional level of 85 percent heavy rare earth enrichment.
In October 2014, they announced the results of the preliminary economic assessment on the area of Lofdal which concluded that the Lofdal Project currently has the potential to produce an average of 1 500 tonnes per annum of separated rare earth oxides which would generate after tax cumulative cash flow of US$259million with a net present value 10percent of US$148 million and an internal rate of return of 42 percent.
The PEA indicates that there is considerable potential to expand the current mineral resource and recommends that additional drilling be carried out to provide for an extended mine life in conjunction with a six-month prefeasibility study programme.
Namibia Rare Earths Inc. is focused on the accelerated development of the Lofdal Rare Earths Project. The common shares of Namibia Rare Earths Inc. trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NRE.
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