Aim-listed Rainbow Rare Earths has completed an auger drilling programme at the Phalaborwa rare earths project, in South Africa.
The programme was aimed at delivering an inferred Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant resource classification, within the 35-million-tonne gypsum stacks.
Assay samples have been dispatched to SGS Laboratories in South Africa, with results expected during the first quarter of 2021.
The drilling programme was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
A metallurgical test programme will also be conducted from the drill samples to facilitate process optimisation of the original processing flow sheet, which enabled the successful operation of a pilot plant to produce over 3 t of mixed rare earth carbonate.
"Based on previous sampling campaigns, the gypsum stacks contain rare earth elements with an estimated average grade of 0.6% total rare earth oxide, of which an estimated 30% is neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr), vital metals for the green revolution.
"Defining an inferred resource for Phalaborwa will represent an important step in validating the project's considerable potential as a significant producer of NdPr, enabling us to define and progress the optimal route to commercial production,” comments CEO George Bennett.
He notes that, owing to the nature of the project, with the resources contained in gypsum stacks, the drilling programme was low-cost compared with that of drilling a hard rock deposit to define a similar size resource.
“I am extremely pleased with the excellent progress to date at Phalaborwa, which puts Rainbow in a strong position to further understand the significant potential of this project,” Bennett enthuses.