JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – LSE-listed Rainbow Rare Earths has commenced a drilling programme at its Gakara project, in Burundi, which is aimed at supporting the mine plan for the currently productive areas of the licence and exploring the significant geological anomalies that were identified last year.
The Gakara project is one of the highest-grade rare-earth element mining projects globally, with an estimated grade of between 47% and 67% total rare earth oxide.
Drilling contractors are currently conducting drilling on the first phase of the programme, with drilling to continue throughout the first quarter of the year.
The drilling programme is focused on improving the understanding of current production area at the Gasagwe site, as well as exploring the geophysical anomalies identified by the airborne survey completed in November 2017.
The programme will also focus on the Kiyenzi site, where a large sill-like oval structure potentially 22-m-thick and lying on a land size of 80 m by 100 m, was discovered by a ground gravity survey earlier last year.
Should these drill results prove positive, a second phase of drilling will take place during the second and third quarters of this year, with the aim of producing a Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant resource statement.
In terms of production, Rainbow reports that a further two shipments have been conducted following the announcement of the first shipment of concentrate in December.
The miner also stated that production ramp-up has been proceeding according to plan, with the target of hitting a run rate of 5 000 t/y by the end of the year.
In addition, work has begun to procure the capital equipment needed to increase production more rapidly, following the successful fundraising concluded in December.
Rainbow CEO Martin Eales said 2017 was a “year of delivery” for Rainbow, in which the miner met all its targets on budget and on schedule. He added that 2018 is set to be a year of growth with commercial production and sales now under way.