South East Malawi – Mkango’s flagship project, the Songwe Hill rare earth project, for which an updated pre-feasibility study was completed in November 2015, is located in the Phalombe licence, as are the Nkalonje, Mantrap, Knoll and Namangale prospects.
Songwe and the Nkalonje, Mantrap and Knoll prospects were recently visited by a large delegation of international and Malawian geology and geophysics experts in connection with the €5.4 million HiTech AlkCarb research project led by the Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter and funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme in which Mkango (through its wholly owned subsidiary, Lancaster Exploration) is an industry partner.
The scope of the research project encompasses building exploration expertise in hi-tech raw materials, improving and developing interpretation of geophysical and downhole data.
Of particular relevance to Mkango is the opportunity to better understand the potential for large but unexposed mineralised bodies of carbonatite (the host rock for rare earth mineralisation) on either a prospect or regional scale.
Based on work to date, such targets within the Phalombe licence may include the summit of Songwe hill (which lies outside and to the south of the indicated and inferred mineral resource estimate at Songwe) and the Nkalonje vent system, where, in both cases outcrop is largely fenite (altered country rock) with occasional carbonatite, but there may be potential for underlying and larger zones of mineralised carbonatite.
Rare earth mineralisation and mineral assemblages for both the fenite and carbonatite will be evaluated in the context of the geophysics covering the areas, to further assess their potential as future drill targets.
Subsequent visits by some members of the HiTech AlkCarb team together with Mkango management were also made to Namangale in the Phalombe licence and also Little Ngona and Chikoleka uranium, tantalum and niobium prospects in the ThambanilLicence.
“The renewal of the Phalombe licence is a strong validation by the Government of Malawi of Mkango’s strategy and progress to date at Songwe, where we have invested significant funds to advance the project from an early stage to a pre-feasibility study,” says Alexander Lemon, President of Mkango.
“We much appreciate the continued support of the Malawian Government, the Ministry of Natural Resources Energy and Mining, the Geological Survey, the Mines Department and local stakeholders as we continue to progress the project and foster capacity building and collaboration between Malawi and the international community.”