Mkango Resources unveils positive results from flotation pilot at Songwe Project

Francesca Morgan
Francesca Morgan
Vox Newswire
11:28, 4th May 2021

Mkango Resources (MKA FOLLOW) said recent results from a flotation pilot plant programme have proven effective in scaling up a new, optimised flotation regime for the Songwe Hill Rare Earths Project ("Songwe") located in Malawi of which the Group holds a 51% interest in. 

Mkango is developing the 51% owned Songwe Hill rare earths project in Malawi with the ongoing Feasibility Study funded through a £12m investment by partner, Talaxis Limited. 

The flotation piloting programme demonstrated that the flotation process is robust and straightforward to scale up and the results support a ‘significantly higher’ increase in both flotation recoveries and concentrate grade from the 2015 pre-feasibility study at Songwe. 

The results showed an increase in flotation recovery of total rare earth oxides ("TREO") to 74% from 67% and a tripling of flotation concentrate grade to 15% TREO from 4.7% TREO. 

The results showed a substantial increase in flotation upgrade, with the optimised flotation regime increasing the run-of-mine ore grade by 10 times vs three times in the pre-feasibility study, as well as a positive impact on downstream integrated hydrometallurgical operations. 

The higher flotation concentrate grade has a positive impact on hydrometallurgical processing as it means less tonnes, but higher-grade concentrate with more rare earths. 

The Group’s flotation pilot plant generated over one tonne of flotation concentrate for hydrometallurgical pilot processing at ANSTO, the first phase of which is underway.

The ongoing feasibility study envisages processing of flotation concentrate via an integrated hydrometallurgical processing plant, located adjacent to the Songwe operations in Malawi, targeting a high grade purified mixed rare earth carbonate grading greater than 50% TREO.

Mkango said today’s results position it as one of the very few companies outside China with an advanced stage project positioned to supply the critical rare earths essential for the green transition. 

"These excellent flotation pilot results for the Songwe feasibility study are a significant improvement versus the 2015 pre-feasibility study and is expected to have a positive impact on downstream hydrometallurgical operations, the piloting for which has already commenced. 

In contrast to many competing projects, during commercial operations the flotation concentrate will be processed in the country of origin, via an integrated hydrometallurgical plant, as opposed to being exported, meaning greater efficiencies and value added in-country.  

Completion of flotation piloting is a major milestone for Mkango and further positions the Company as one of the very few advanced stage rare earth projects positioned to meet demand from accelerating growth in the electric vehicle sector, wind power generation and other industries driven by decarbonisation of the economy,” said CEO, William Dawes. 

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Today’s positive results from the flotation pilot at Songwe follows last week’s publication of Mkango’s financial results for 2020 in which the Company outlined to investors that it remains focused on completing the feasibility study in the fourth quarter of 2021.  

Shares in Mkango Resources have increased by over 40% in value since the beginning of 2021. The stock was trading 9.09% higher this morning at 24p following the announcement. 

MKA price chart

London-listed Mkango's corporate strategy is to develop new sustainable primary and secondary sources of neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium to supply accelerating demand from electric vehicles, wind turbines and other clean technologies.  

Mkango is developing the 51% owned Songwe Hill rare earths project in Malawi with the ongoing Feasibility Study funded through a £12 million investment by strategic partner Talaxis Limited. Malawi is known as "The Warm Heart of Africa", a stable jurisdiction with existing road, rail and power infrastructure, and new infrastructure developments underway.  

Mkango also has an extensive exploration portfolio in Malawi, including the recently announced Mchinji rutile discovery, for which assay results are pending, in addition to the Thambani uranium-tantalum-niobium-zircon project and Chimimbe nickel-cobalt project. 

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