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TSXV-listed Namibia Rare Earths has entered into an agreement to acquire a portfolio of critical metal properties from Gecko Namibia.

The acquisition will be for the issuance of 64 million common shares of Namibia Rare Earths.

In conjunction with the acquisition, Gecko Namibia and Gerald J. McConnell, Chair of the Board of Namibia Rare Earths, have each agreed to complete a private placement with the company in the amount of $250 000 at $0.05 per share for total gross proceeds to the company of $500 000.

A total of 10 million common shares of Namibia Rare Earths will be issued pursuant to the private placement which is subject to the approval of the TSXV.

This transaction provides Namibia Rare Earths with a high quality, diversified portfolio of critical metals and at the same time has secured a highly experienced strategic partner.

Gecko Namibia and its subsidiaries are substantial participants in the Namibian resource sector with 327 employees and a proven track record in the mining industry. The Gecko Namibia portfolio of properties will expand the company’s commodity base from solely rare earths to a variety of highly critical commodities including cobalt, copper, zinc, lithium, graphite, tantalum, niobium, nickel, and gold.

Namibia Rare Earths’ ground holdings in Namibia will increase from 221 km2 (Lofdal) to over 6 850 km2.

Property acquisition

Namibia Rare Earths will acquire a 95% interest in a portfolio of exploration properties consisting of 14 exploration prospecting licences (EPLs), four of which are pending, one mineral deposit retention licence (MDRL) and Gecko Namibia’s rights under an option agreement to acquire a 60% interest in a further exploration prospecting licence which interest may, subject to the terms of the option agreement, be increased to 80%.

The property acquisition and private placement are expected to close on or before 31 January 2018 and are subject to certain conditions including, but not limited to, the receipt of all necessary approvals including the approval and acceptance by the TSXV.

The proceeds of the private placement will be used to carry out work on the properties acquired from Gecko Namibia with an initial focus on advancing the Kunene cobalt-copper project and to fund general corporate requirements.

Following the closing of the acquisition, Gecko Namibia will nominate two members to the five-member board of Namibia Rare Earths with Gerald McConnell remaining as Chair. Pine van Wyk will be appointed CEO of Namibia Rare Earths based in Namibia and Donald Burton will remain as President. Dr. Rainer Ellmies will be appointed Country Manager of Namibia Rare Earths, based in Namibia.

Gecko Namibia – A strategic partner

Gecko Namibia is a private, Namibian-owned, fully integrated exploration and mining company with diversified interests in Namibia.  It is headquartered in Windhoek.

The company and its subsidiaries operate with a work force of 327 employees with a management team of 24 people dedicated to every stage of mineral resource development.

Gecko Namibia and its sister company Genet South Africa were founded by Kobus Smit who is the Chairperson of both groups. Genet is a similar resource focused company providing mining and mineral processing services in South Africa with 703 employees and a team of 20 professional managers.

Kunene cobalt-copper project

The Kunene cobalt-copper project offers the most attractive near-term value add opportunity for the company. The Kunene project builds upon the recent exploration success led by Dr. Rainer Ellmies to explore for “copper belt” style deposits in northern Namibia.

This work led to the first recorded discovery of Copperbelt-type stratabound cobalt-copper mineralisation in Namibia in a sedimentary horizon termed the dolomite ore formation. The mineralisation is uniformly 5 to 10 m thick, stratabound within a dolomitic shale horizon, and averages around 0.5% copper and 1 000-2 000 ppm cobalt.

The initial discovery is currently under intense exploration by Celsius Resources. Data from the first 20 holes drilled across this 11 km zone has enabled the company to generate an initial exploration target of between 33 and 41 Mt, grading approximately 0.13% – 0.17% cobalt and 0.45% – 0.65% copper.

The potential quantity and grade is conceptual in nature, and that there has been insufficient exploration to estimate a mineral resource, and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the estimation of a mineral resource.”

Further properties as part of the acquisition include:

  • the Black Range graphite project
  • the Warmbad lithium project
  • the Epembe tantalum-niobium project
  • the Grootfontein nickel-PGE project
  • the Otjiwarongo fluorspar project
  • the Erongo gold project

Gecko Namibia was instrumental in bringing the 500 000 tpa run of mine Okanjande graphite mine into commercial production in 2017 through a joint venture partnership with Imerys, a global leader in the production of mineral-based, high value specialty products.

Gecko Namibia re-designed a portion of the crushing, milling and flotation facilities at the Okorusu Mine for graphite processing of up to 20 000 tpa of graphite concentrate.

Gecko Salt, a subsidiary of Gecko Namibia, operates a small-scale salt production plant located approximately 120 km north of the coastal town of Swakopmund.

The project is currently operating at a rate of 200 000 tpa and targeting to increase to 1 Mtpa. The first shipment of 25 000 t of salt for the North American market was exported in August 2017.