AIM/TSX-listed rare earths company, Mkango Resources has announced the presence of rutile and ilmenite at its Mchinji project in Malawi.

Malawi – The announcement comes following the results of a reconnaissance shallow soil sampling and auger programme in its 869 km2 licence area, held by Mkango’s 100% owned subsidiary MKA Exploration.

The results demonstrate the presence of interesting grades of rutile plus anatase (both naturally occurring mineral forms of titanium dioxide: TiO2) mineralisation of up to 1.07%, with overall TiO2 grades in the range 0.51 to 4.10% in auger samples and 0.14–2.38% in soil samples; also ilmenite grades of 1.30 to 3.40% (average 1.85%) .

The grade of the TiO2-bearing minerals in the highest-grading auger hole are in the range of 0.63 to 1.07% rutile plus anatase (average 0.73%) and 1.30 to 3.40% ilmenite (average 1.85%), hosted in free-dig saprolite material from surface.

Mkango’s President Alexander Lemon commented, “Mkango is focused on developing the Songwe rare earth deposit in Phalombe district in Malawi and is looking forward to completing the feasibility study.

We are very pleased to add this new rutile and ilmenite discovery to our portfolio of projects in Malawi. These early stage results show similarities in terms of saprolite-hosted mineralisation to the recent rutile discoveries made on the adjoining Sovereign Metals licence to the east, and suggest the potential for discovering high-grade rutile deposits within Mkango’s large licence area, in what could potentially be a new province of rutile mineralisation.”

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Exploring the warm heart of Africa

Mkango’s primary business is exploration for rare earth elements and associated minerals in the Malawi, a country whose hospitable people have earned it a reputation as “the warm heart of Africa”. The company holds interests in four exclusive prospecting licenses in Malawi: the Phalombe licence, the Thambani licence, the Chimimbe Hill licence and the Mchinji licence.

The main exploration target in the 51% held Phalombe licence is the Songwe Hill rare earths deposit. This features carbonatite-hosted rare earth mineralisation and was subject to previous exploration in the late 1980s. Mkango completed an updated Pre-Feasibility Study for the project in November 2015 and a Feasibility Study is currently underway.