Aim-listed Mkango Resources’ Malawian subsidiary has completed an extensive hand-auger drilling and soil sampling programme to identify rutile prospects within the 869 km2 Mchinji licence, in Malawi.
The samples have been transported to specialist assay laboratory Scientific Services in Cape Town.
Four geological teams on site completed the 75 auger drill holes, containing 581 samples, and a further 446 soil samples have been collected from a soil sampling programme on a regular 500 m sampling grid. Another 21 soil samples were collected from other points of interest.
Mkango says a preparation process for heavy mineral separation is in progress, following which detailed mineralogical analysis will take place.
The company notes that prior auger holes drilled in June to 8.9 m depth returned samples containing between 4.10% and 9.01% total heavy minerals and grade between 3.17% and 4.09% titanium dioxide.
Rutile, anatase and ilmenite are naturally occurring titanium dioxide minerals, whose main uses are 90% for pigments, 5% for the production of titanium metal and 5% for welding.
Rutile is the purest, highest-grade natural form of titanium dioxide and is the preferred feedstock in manufacturing titanium pigment and producing titanium metal.
Powdered rutile is often used in paints, plastics, paper, foods and other applications that call for a bright white colour, as well as used in the making of glass, porcelain and ceramics.
Titanium, in turn, has specialty uses including in welding, aerospace and military applications.
The company is focused on developing the Songwe Hill rare earth deposit in the Phalmobe district in Malawi.