Based on information from recent and historic mining activities, MSA Group’s recommendation is to assess the economic viability of the Gakara Project through trial mining at several localities (Gasagwe and Gashirwe West). Trial mining is a process undertaken to confirm procedures and methodologies to be applied in full-scale commercial mining of a project. Mining of ore at the Gakara Project will be undertaken manually and the trial mining period is expected to allow the Company to train its 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.
Accordingly the Company, together with MSA Group, has developed detailed trial mining plans for Gasagwe and Gashirwe West which is projected to last for a total of 27 months.
The proposed trial mining plan anticipates extracting approximately 5,270 tonnes of vein material in total during this trial mining period, from which MSA Group anticipates a total of approximately 3,880 tonnes of concentrate will be produced.
Processing, costs and sales
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 process 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%.
The construction is considered low-risk due to the plant’s small scale and the fact that it will comprise standard pieces of machinery with few bespoke elements. The Directors anticipate that shipping, construction and commissioning of the plant will take approximately nine months.