Rainbow Rare Earths is a natural resources company operating in Burundi. The Company’s model is focused on establishing a fast-to-market, low capital expenditure rare earths mine at the Gakara Project, one of the highest-grade rare earths projects in the world. The two-year trial mining phase of the project is set to commence in Q1/2 2017, targeting first concentrate available for sale for Q3/4 2017, following the construction of a planned processing facility. Assuming positive results, the Company will continue its mining activities, targeting production of approximately 5,000tpa of concentrate. Importantly a distribution and offtake agreement has been signed with multinational thyssenkrupp Raw Materials.
With a shortage of rare earth production outside of China and the desire of Western companies to ensure security of supply in the wake of the 2010-11 price spike, the Company was founded in 2011 and received its first Exploration Licence that year to re-examine the Gakara Project, which had been a producing mine from the 1940s to 1970s.
The key differentiators are its high grade, low capex and mining costs and its speed to production and sales. This is because of the high grade in-situ veins at the deposit, the volumes to be processed and sold, and due to the Company selling a high grade rare earths concentrate product. This is opposed to having to further concentrate or process its material.
The Company has an Exploration Target of 20,000-80,000 tonnes which the Directors believe support the Project given the nature of the ore at the Gakara Project and the mining method to be employed. The historic project and production data underline the continuity of the mineralisation. Accordingly, following publication of the CPR the Directors believe that the amount of additional exploration work required to declare a Mineral Resource or a maiden Ore Reserve would be uneconomic at this stage of the Company’s development.
The Gakara Basket is weighted heavily towards the magnet rare earths, neodymium and praseodymium, which are vital components in motors, generators, EVs and wind turbines. Based on average samples from Gakara, magnet REEs account for approximately 20% of the contained REOs within the Gakara ore, representing an average of over 80% of the contained value of REOs at current market prices.
Rare earths are widely used in a growing number of products, due to their use in permanent magnets, which make them vital to certain industries including, but not limited to, electric vehicles, wind turbines and generators, which is driving market demand.
Demand for REEs is forecast to strengthen between 2015 and 2025, but this anticipated growth in global demand is dependent on the introduction of new REE producers in North America, Australia and South Africa to fill the demand gap left by an anticipated reduction in exports from China. China’s government remains firmly focused on its domestic supply/demand balance and various government statements have often conveyed a desire to achieve a situation where domestic producers and consumers of REEs are both able to profit and expand.