JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Work has started on the initial phases of a feasibility study into Mkango Resources’ Songwe Hill rare earths project, in Malawi.
Metallurgical optimisation is under way at laboratories in Australia and Canada, with the work programme having been scaled up following the receipt, in January, of £6-million in funding from commodities trader Noble Group subsidiary Talaxis.
The feasibility study work programme is focused on flotation, hydrometallurgy and acid regeneration.
In addition, the Aim- and TSX-V-listed Mkango on Thursday noted that preparation is well-advanced for the largest drilling programme, to date, at Songwe, with drilling targeted to begin within the next month, once all drill roads and pads are completed.
The drilling programme is for a minimum of 5 000 m and will be focused on in-fill, step-out and geotechnical drilling, with the latter for the purposes of mine design.
The drill plan is based on a refined geological model developed in-house by Mkango’s technical team in consultation with MSA Group and Bara Consulting, which were appointed as resource and mining consultants, respectively.
Drilling contractor Cartwright Drilling has been appointed as drilling contractor, with a combined Canadian and Malawian drilling team to operate two diamond drill rigs, both running 24-hours-a-day.
Over 50 drill pads are being built for the drill programme, as is an enlarged camp to accommodate the larger team versus previous drill programmes.
Mkango has run two successful drill programmes at Songwe, in 2011 and 2012, culminating in a maiden mineral resource estimate.
Mkango is targeting completion of an updated mineral resource estimate by the end of this year.
The environmental, social and health impact assessment at Songwe is also under way.