The Gakara Rare Earth Project is one of the world’s richest rare earth deposits. It is located in Western Burundi, approximately 20km south-southeast of Bujumbura and covers a combined area of approximately 135km². There is good infrastructure near to the Gakara Project, with good road links to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Mombasa, Kenya.
Rainbow was granted a mining licence in March 2015 and is valid for 25 years, and is renewable thereafter. Rainbow has a 90% interest in the Gakara Project with a non-dilutable 10% owned by the State.
Historical mining at the site demonstrates the consistency of the grade and mineralisation of the concentrate whilst also providing significant detail and validation of the vein/stockwork rare earth mineralisation system.
In September 2016, the Company commissioned MSA Group to prepare an independent Competent Person’s Report on the Gakara Project. To see the full Competent Person’s Report, click here
The Gakara Project is considered by MSA Group to be an Exploration Target, as defined in the JORC Code.
MSA Group has calculated an Exploration Target of between 20,000 and 80,000 tonnes of mineralised material grading 47-67% total REO. The potential tonnage and grade is conceptual in nature as there is insufficient exploration data to define a Mineral Resource and it is uncertain if future exploration will result in the Exploration Target being reported as a Mineral Resource. MSA Group notes that there is scope for further exploration in the Gakara Project area which may result in additional potential being identified.
Trial mining is a process undertaken to confirm procedures and methodologies to be applied in full-scale commercial mining of a project.
Together with MSA Group, Rainbow has developed detailed trial mining plans for Gasagwe and Gashirwe West, which is projected to last for a total of 27 months and will be used to assess the economic viability of the Gakara Project.
Mining of ore at the Gakara Project will be undertaken manually and the trial mining period will be used to effectively train the local workforce to identify and efficiently extract vein material from the host rock. The trial mining will also allow the Company to establish if the grade, width and lateral and down-dip continuity of individual veins are sufficiently developed on a local scale to support a profitable operation.
In order to facilitate the production of rare earth concentrate from the run of mine material produced during trial mining, the Company will construct a processing plant at Gakara which has been designed to operate on a batch basis with the capacity to produce over 5,000 tpa of rare earth concentrate without incremental capital expenditure.
The run of mine material will be processed simply by physically separating the mineralised vein material from the waste rock without requiring chemical processing. Test work indicates that a combination of crushing, jigs and shaking tables could be used to upgrade the Gakara ore to consistently achieve a concentrate grade of at least 55% total REO, at recoveries of 82-93%.
Due to the plant’s small scale and that it will be comprised primarily of standard machinery, the construction is considered low-risk and is estimated to take nine months until full construction.
The trial mining plan anticipates extracting approximately 5,270 tonnes of vein material in total during, from which MSA Group anticipates a total of approximately 3,880 tonnes of concentrate will be produced.