Modern Mining

Rainbow, the rare-earth element mining company, reports that it hosted the President of the Republic of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, and other notable guests at an inauguration ceremony for the company's Gakara rare earth project on 21 July.

Guests attended a series of speeches and traditional Burundian cultural celebrations in the town of Mutambu, located close to Rainbow's first mining area at Gasagwe, where first production and sales of rare earth concentrate is targeted in Q4 2017. Speeches were delivered by the President, Burundi's Minister for Mines and Energy, Come Manirakiza, and Rainbow’s CEO, Martin Eales.

Gakara rare earth project inauguratedDignitaries on site at the inauguration of the Gakara project (photo: Rainbow).

Commented Eales: “The Gakara project is currently the most advanced mining development project in Burundi and Rainbow was pleased to welcome so many honoured guests to our ceremony today. We value highly all of the support that we have received from the Government of Burundi and the local population.

“Our mining activity at Gasagwe continues to make great progress in readiness for the commissioning of our processing plant and first sales of rare earth concentrate as planned in Q4 this year. The commencement of production at Gakara is timely as market prices for rare earths have strengthened significantly in the period since Rainbow’s IPO and these increases will directly impact our anticipated sales revenues.”

The Gakara project is reported to be one of the highest-grade (47-67 % Total Rare Earth Oxide) rare earths projects globally. In January 2017, Rainbow raised US$8 million to fast-track the fully permitted the project to production.

Rainbow has a ten-year distribution and offtake agreement with multinational thyssenkrupp Raw Materials secured for the sale of at least 5 000 t/a of concentrate produced. The Gakara basket is weighted heavily towards the magnet rare earths, including neodymium and praseodymium, which are driving demand and reportedly account for 70 % of annual global REE sales due to their use in vital components in motors, generators, wind turbines, and electric vehicles.

Together with the 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 which involves extracting approximately 5 270 tonnes of vein material in total to produce approximately 3 880 tonnes of concentrate.

Mining of ore at the 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.

In order to facilitate the production of rare earth concentrate from the run of mine material produced during trial mining, the company is constructing a processing plant at Gakara which has been designed to operate on a batch basis with the capacity to produce over 5 000 t/a 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.

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Title: Editor
Name: Arthur Tassell
Email: mining@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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Name: Bennie Venter
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