- Mkango is a rare earth (and other metals) explorer with three licences in Malawi
- Songwe Hill (Phalombe) is the flagship project and is being developed in collaboration with Noble Group division Talaxis
- Rare earth metals come overwhelmingly from China at present
What it does
Significant investment at the project level from major commodities trader Talaxis is helping it along.
So far, Talaxis has committed £12mln at the project level, but with a feasibility study well underway the presence of a major player in the world of commodities is providing investors with some food for thought when it comes to thinking about future funding.
The Talaxis investment as it stands will net out at a 49% interest for Talaxis once the project is taken through the bankable feasibility stage.
Once that study is published, Talaxis can take its stake up to 75% by arranging the finance to take Songwe Hill through to production and an arrangement that gives Mkango a 25% free carried interest.
The mineral resource for Songwe stands at 8mln tonnes grading 1.50% TREO (rare earth metals) measured, 12.2 Mt grading 1.35% indicated and 27.5 Mt grading 1.33% inferred.
Talaxis also made an investment totalling £2m in Mkango’s downstream arm Maginito, which has a collaboration in place with powder alloy pioneer Metalysis into permanent magnet manufacturing.
Permanent magnets are critical materials for most electric vehicles, direct-drive wind turbines and many other high growth applications.
At Thambani, also in Malawi, Mkango has an agreement with MetalNRG for it to spend US$2mln on exploration for a 75% interest.
Uranium indications at Thambani were confirmed by a World Bank-funded nationwide airborne geophysical programme.
Grab samples have also returned high-grade uranium, tantalum and niobium values, and Mkango continues to carry out detailed exploration work on the project.
How it's doing
In September, Mkango said it had also discovered significant showings of titanium dioxide mineralisation in a soil sampling and auger drilling programme at its 869 square kilometre Mchinji licence in Malawi.
“We are very pleased to add this new rutile and ilmenite discovery to our portfolio of projects in Malawi," said Alex Lemon, the company's president.
"These early-stage results show similarities in terms of saprolite-hosted mineralisation to the recent rutile discoveries made on the adjoining Sovereign Metals licence to the east, and suggest the potential for discovering high-grade rutile deposits within Mkango's large licence area, in what could potentially be a new province of rutile mineralisation."
“Mkango is focused on developing the Songwe rare earth deposit in Phalombe district in Malawi and is looking forward to completing the feasibility study."
- Metallurgical optimisation is underway for ore at Songwe Hill focused on flotation, hydrometallurgy and acid regeneration
- Feasibility study at Songwe Hill will trigger production decision by Talaxis
- Results from exploration at Thambani
The funds invested in Maginito by Talaxis will be used to advance complementary downstream opportunities in the rare earths supply chain, in particular new rare earth alloy, magnet and other technologies geared to accelerating growth in the electric vehicle market, including the Metalysis Joint Venture, says SP Angel.