Rainbow Rare Earths says production and sale of rare earth concentrate from its Gakara rare earth project in Burundi is being targeted for Q4, 2017.
[quote]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.
“I am pleased to report extremely positive news on all fronts, which sees Rainbow Rare Earths firmly on track to deliver its first shipment of concentrate in Q4 2017,” says Rainbow Rare Earths CEO, Martin Eales.
“The construction of the plant at Kabezi is progressing well, despite minor logistical difficulties, and we have commenced mining ore from the Gasagwe pit. Meanwhile, the market for rare earths goes from strength to strength, and our basket price has nearly doubled since our listing on 30 January 2017,” he adds.
Commencement of ore mining
At the Gasagwe site, Rainbow Rare Earths has focused on the pre-stripping work since April 2017, which has exposed the ‘main vein’ to a depth of around 3–5 m along 90 m of strike with several other subsidiary veins that are connected or adjacent.
Following completion of the construction of the run-of-mine (ROM) bunkers at the Kabezi plant site, Rainbow Rare Earths has commenced extraction of ROM ore and will be stockpiling the feed-stock in advance of plant commissioning within the next six to eight weeks.
Rainbow Rare Earths continues to develop a new processing plant and remains on track to deliver first rare earth concentrate for sale in Q4 2017.
The plant is ideally located at Kabezi, approximately 20 km from Rainbow Rare Earths’ mining areas and 10 km due south of Bujumbura and is, importantly, next to a main asphalt road, which will provide ease of access for the container trucks collecting rare earth concentrate for export.
Rainbow Rare Earths has completed bulk earthworks at the site and has made timely progress with the necessary civil construction in preparation for the erection of the processing plant, albeit with some temporary delays caused by local shortages of cement and aggregate.
Rainbow Rare Earths has already imported over half of the planned container shipments of plant and machinery, with the balance due to arrive during September and October.
Rainbow Rare Earths’ activities, and those of sub-contractors, have generally been able to progress without interruption, however there have been further reports of potential shortages in recent days.
Rainbow is monitoring this situation closely and has developed contingency plans to cater for any local shortages, but at present does not foresee any issues in supplying its own equipment.
Sales and marketing
In partnership with thyssenkrupp Raw Materials (TK), Rainbow Rare Earths expects to make first sales of rare earth concentrate in Q4 2017.
Prices for rare earth elements have been increasing rapidly in recent months and this has translated to Rainbow Rare Earths’ own basket price, which by 18 September 2017 had risen to over US$18 per kg (an increase of more than 80% since the IPO on 30 January 2017).
Rainbow Rare Earths will receive a discounted sales price to the basket price, which is adjusted for the grade of the concentrate and to reflect the costs of processing the concentrate by customers. The discount remains subject to negotiations undertaken by TK with individual end customers.
Based on recent market feedback Rainbow Rare Earths and TK are confident that there is strong demand for all of Rainbow’s planned near term production, which is to achieve a run rate of 5 000 tpa of rare earth concentrate before the end of 2018.
Feature image credit: Rainbow Rare Earths