Rainbow Rare Earths' phase 1 exploration drilling at the Gakara Rare Earths Project in Burundi has confirmed additional mineralisation. The results from the Kiyenzi target has potential to add to resources at the operating project.
The holes contain multiple intersections up to 2 metres thick of breccia mineralisation, with initial testing confirming the presence of multiple intersections of high-grade rare earth elements (REE).
The phase 1 drilling campaign began in the first quarter and targets the current production site at Gasagwe, the Kiyenzi prospect, where a high-priority gravity anomaly had been found, and a number of anomalies revealed by an airborne magnetic survey flown in quarter four of 2017.
Kiyenzi was deemed to be the highest priority for phase 1 drilling based on the identification of a large gravity anomaly in 2017, and the discovery of a number of high-grade boulders at surface towards the lower part of the hill, which are indicative of erosion from in-situ REE sources.
Ten diamond drill holes were completed, a total which was increased beyond the initial plan due to favourable results. Five of the holes encountered REE mineralisation over multiple intersections.
In a number of intersections, testing was indicative of the high REE grades Rainbow has discovered elsewhere at Gakara and consistent with grades contained in the previously analysed Kiyenzi boulders.
A total of three diamond drill holes, for a combined 150 metres, were completed at Gasagwe, Rainbow's current mining area, with the aim of confirming the dip and extent of veins already exposed and mined at surface.
Results from these holes consolidated Rainbow's knowledge of the Gasagwe pit and have been incorporated into the mine plan for the coming months.
Drilling of four remaining airborne magnetic anomaly targets is now underway with the results expected in June alongside laboratory sample test results from Kiyenzi.
Encouraged by the Kiyenzi results, Rainbow will now proceed with the phase 2 exploration campaign with an aim of delivering a code-compliant resource by the end of 2018.
Gakara is one of the highest grade rare earth element mining projects globally, with an estimated in-situ grade of 47-67% Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO).
CEO Martin Eales said: "The majority of the drill holes completed to date have been focused on just the first of five targets at Kiyenzi and we are excited to have already discovered new rare earth mineralisation, up to 2 metres thick in some cases.
"The discovery of REE-mineralised breccias is significant as it proves that the Gakara project has potential to include sizeable deposits over and above existing well-known vein stockworks."
The company began production of rare earth concentrates in the December quarter of 2017 and is ramping up to a targeted run rate of 5,000 tonnes by the end of 2018 and 6,000 by the end of 2019.