Rare earths mining company Namibia Rare Earths last month initiated a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on Area 4 of the heavy-rare-earth deposit at its Lofdal rare earths project, in north-western Namibia.
South African engineering company MDM Engineering has been engaged as the principal consultant for the report, which will provide an economic analysis of the potential viability of the current resources at Lofdal.
Ongoing metallurgical testwork has achieved increased recoveries and upgrades, indicating that the targeted mineral concentrate grade of 20% total rare-earth oxides (REOs) can be attained from a low-grade feed of 0.3% total REO.
MDM Engineering will be assisted by Australian mine operations company Mine Technics in the pit improvement, mine planning and operations, while Canadian engineering consultancy Swinden Geoscience will provide geological inputs. South African mine planning and consulting company Digby Wells Environmental will assist in the environmental management and planning.
The PEA will base its assessment on the National Instrument (NI) 43-101-compliant resource assessment completed in 2012 by mining consultancy The MSA Group, and is planned for completion before the end of the third quarter of 2014.
Current NI 43-101-compliant resources stand at 5 594 t REO of indicated resource, with 85.6% heavy-rare-earth enrichment and 4 180 t REO of inferred resource, with 85.1% heavy-rare-earth enrichment, all reported at a 0.3% total REO cutoff grade.
Namibia Rare Earths describes the Lofdal project as a unique opportunity for the development of a significant heavy-rare- earth supply outside China.