Mkango Resources, a company listed in Canada, has been granted a renewal of a two-year exploration licence (Exclusive Prospecting Licence (EPL) 0284/10R) by the Government of Malawi. This is for the company’s flagship project, Songwe Hill Rare Earth project, in Phalombe, south-east Malawi.
In a Press Release from Tuesday (15 January 2013), William Dawes, Chief Executive of Mkango stated,
Mkango has successfully delivered on the objectives outlined at the time of listing and is now focused on progressing the Songwe Hill project to the production stage.
The licence is effective from 20 January 2013 and is renewable for a further two-year period in January 2014. The expenditure commitment is MWK 150,000,000 (USD 429,800, based on MWK349 = USD1 exchange rate).
The EPL grants Mkango exclusive rights to explore for all 17 rare earth elements (REE) as well as strontium, niobium, iron ore, manganese, gold, silver, copper, bauxite, fluorite, phosphate, uranium, thorium, monazite, nepheline, syenite, zircon, tantalum, clay, kaolinite, and associated minerals.
Dawes also explained Mkango’s position in Malawi and perspective of the investment environment,
Mkango believes Malawi is one of the most favourable jurisdictions to be operating in Africa and has the potential to become one of Africa’s foremost rare earth producers.
In addition, Mkango, in a presentation (October 2012) available on their website, outlined that Malawi is a “stable country”, has “strong government support for new mining initiatives”, allows “year round exploration and mining” providing a “low cost exploration environment” and has “significant geological potential with improving infrastructure”.
Overview of Mkango Resources
- Mkango Resources commenced trading on 5 January 2011
- Primary business in exploration of REE and associated minerals in Malawi with the strategy to secure additional REE and other mineral opportunities in the country and across Africa
- Holds two EPL covering 1,751 squared kilometres in southern Malawi. Main exploration site is Songwe Hill, which features carbonatite hosted rare earth mineralisation. This was previously explored in the late 1980s. The secondary exploration site is Tambani in the south west of Malawi.
- Exploration work focuses on heavy rare earth enriched breccias and ion adsorption clay-hosted rare earth deposit. The first two years comprised of two phases of diamond drilling totalling 6,850 metres, with ongoing scoping metallurgical test work. No further drilling is anticipated because of the significant size of the mineral resources already identified.
- Main priority is to complete scoping metallurgical test work in parallel with further mineralogical studies (both partially funded by South African and British research programmes)
- First phase of Corporate Social Responsibility initiative has been successful: Soya Bean Seed Growing Project. This has involved donating seeds for planting to over 100 families in 9 villages and has been developed in response to a Malawi government Initiative on Poverty and Hunger Reduction
- Songwe Hill Rare Earth Project is located 100% within the EPL that covers 1,283 kilometres squared in Phalombe District. 2 hours by road from Zomba. The inferred resource stands at 18.6 million tonnes at 1.38% total rare earth oxides. The company’s most recent technical report and mineral resource overview (November 2012) is available online here.
Update March 2013: Mkango launched a C$2 million funding round to allow it to progress a pre-feasibility study for the Songwe project.