Namibia Critical Metals Inc.
Namibia Critical Metals Successful Drilling Campaign on Schedule to Meet Objectives at Lofdal Heavy Rare Earth JV
Thursday, June 18, 2020 10:45 AM
HALIFAX, NS / ACCESSWIRE / June 18, 2020 / Namibia Critical Metals Inc. ("Namibia Critical Metals" or the "Company" or "NMI") (TSXV:NMI) today provided an update on progress on the Lofdal Heavy Rare Earths Project ("Lofdal") in northern Namibia, which is a joint venture between the Company and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation ("JOGMEC"). As previously announced (Company press release March 11, 2020) the Lofdal Joint Venture is operating under a Term 1 budget of CD$3,000,000 with the objectives of doubling the current resource size at Area 4 with a 7,700 m drill program, testing two high priority exploration targets with 1,500 m of drilling and carrying out further metallurgical test work to optimize the processing flow sheet. Progress since stating the drill program in early March is summarized as follows:
- Drilling ahead of schedule with over 50% completed at Area 4 with results from first nine holes now reported
- Drill results consistent with expected grades and thickness as predicted from the resource model, targeting to double current resource size in this first drilling phase
- Drill rig will now move to exploration targets at Northern Splay and Dolomite Hill
- Metallurgical bulk test runs (2.7 tonnes) completed on XRF sorter with analytical results pending. XRT sorter tests underway expecting to complete bulk test runs (4.4 tonnes) by mid-July
Drill highlights of heavy rare earth enriched zones include:
- 22 m @ 0.29% TREO with 67.7% heavy rare earth enrichment
(including 3 meters @ 0.87% TREO with 89.0% heavy rare earth enrichment)
- 15 m @ 0.32% TREO with 62.5% heavy rare earth enrichment
(including 3 meters @ 0.51% TREO with 79.3% heavy rare earth enrichment)
- 6 m @ 0.33% TREO with 89.0% heavy rare earth enrichment
(including 2 meters @ 0.52% TREO with 93.1% heavy rare earth enrichment)
Don Burton, President of Namibia Critical Metals stated "All holes drilled to date have intersected the Main Zone as expected. As we await lab results from the remaining thirteen holes from this phase of the Area 4 drilling, it is an opportune time to move the drill to our exploration targets where we believe the potential exists to develop satellite deposits. The drill will then return to Area 4 to complete the resource drilling program. The metallurgical program is advancing well with both XRF and XRT sorting tests providing very encouraging results. The objective with sorting is to achieve a 2-3X upgrade to the deposit grade and we look forward to a comprehensive evaluation of both technologies upon completion of the bulk test runs which will use about 7 tonnes of representative sample collected from trenches at Area 4.
These are challenging times for field operations and we are extremely fortunate to have a dedicated team in Namibia that has actually exceeded the planned monthly production since start up in March. Field operations continue with strict Covid-19 protocols in place."
The Lofdal Heavy Rare Earths Project is located 450 kilometers northwest of the capital city of Windhoek in the Kunene Region of north-western Namibia. The project area covers 314 square kilometers centered on the Lofdal carbonatite complex which hosts a number of rare earth occurrences, including the Area 4 deposit (Figure 1). Mineralization at Area 4 is dominated by xenotime, which is highly enriched in heavy rare earths. Value drivers at Lofdal are dysprosium and terbium.
The current mineral resource at Area 4 has been drilled to depths of between 125 - 225 vertical meters and is estimated to be 2.88 Mt of indicated mineral resources at a grade of 0.32% TREO1 yielding 9,230 t of REO, of which 7,050 t are estimated to be heavy rare earth oxides ("HREO") and 3.28 Mt of inferred mineral resources at a grade of 0.27% TREO yielding 8,970 t of REO, of which 6,700 t are estimated to be HREO. Full disclosure is filed on SEDAR and provided in Preliminary Economic Assessment on the Lofdal Rare Earths Project, Namibia October 1, 2014 authored by David S. Dodd, The MDM Group, South Africa; Patrick J.F. Hannon, and William Douglas Roy, MineTech International Limited, Canada; Peter Roy Siegfried and Michael R. Hall, The MSA Group, South Africa.
Drilling will now move from Area 4 to test exploration targets at the Northern Splay and Dolomite Hill targets. The Northern Splay is located 10 kilometers northeast of Area 4 on an extension of the Area 4 structure, and Dolomite Hill is situated 2.5 km north of Area 4 in a separate mineralized structure (Figure 1).
Current Drilling Operations
The primary objective of the Lofdal Joint Venture is to double the current resource size with an additional 7,700 m of drilling. The Company has completed 4,447 m of drilling to date in twenty-one holes at Area 4 (Figure 2). Drilling operations have continued un-interrupted since beginning in early March and remain on schedule, however slight delays in receiving laboratory results have been realized due to Covid-19 restrictions in Namibia and Canada. These restrictions have since eased and a steady flow of analytical results is now expected to resume.
Results from the first nine holes have been received and all holes have intersected mineralization in the Main Zone (highlighted in grey) consistent with expected grades and thickness as predicted from the resource model. Drill results are reported in summary form in Table 1 and full disclosure of all individual elements is provided in Table 2.
1"TREO" refers to total rare earth oxides; "HREO" refers to heavy rare earth oxides; "heavy rare earths" as used in all Company presentations comprise europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), terbium (Tb), dysprosium (Dy), holmium (Ho), erbium (Er), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb), lutetium (Lu) and yttrium (Y). Light rare earths comprise lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), praseodymium (Pr), neodymium (Nd) and samarium (Sm). "Heavy rare earth enrichment" is the ratio of HREO:TREO, expressed as a percentage
Table 1 - Summary of Significant Drill Intercepts from Area 4 Resource Extension Program
Intercept widths are reported as down the hole widths and are not necessarily true widths. Field operations follow strict company Standard Operating Procedures with regards to drilling practices, sampling procedures, security of transport and analytical procedures as per recommendations in the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum CIM's Best Practices Guidelines (2018), which includes strict internal QAQC procedures for the insertion of blanks, standards and duplicates. QAQC samples account for 10% of samples submitted in each batch. Sample preparation and analytical work for the drilling program is being provided by Activation Laboratories Ltd. ("Actlabs" Windhoek, Namibia and Ancaster, Ontario) employing appropriate crushing and pulverization procedures (Actlabs Code RX-1) on half sawn core samples provided from the selected intervals, and utilizing lithium metaborate/tetraborate fusion and ICP-MS techniques suitable for rare earth element analyses (Actlabs Code 8). Activation Laboratories is an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory.
Drill intercepts confirm the highest levels of heavy rare earth enrichment ("HREE") in the central portion of the deposit together with the highest concentrations of dysprosium. A number of significant intercepts have been noted in both the hanging wall ("HW") and foot wall ("FW") to the Main Zone which are expected to contribute to the updated resource estimate that will be undertaken upon completion of the current drill program end of 2020. Representative drill sections are shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4 with Main Zone intercepts highlighted in red boxes.
Figure 1 - Geology of the project area showing the location of the Area 4 deposit and the two exploration drill targets at the Northern Splay and Dolomite Hill
Figure 2. Drill plan Area 4 showing location of historic drill holes and 2020 drill holes indicating results reported in this press release (dark blue) and results pending (dark green). Main Zone alteration and outcrop at surface shown in pink, carbonatite veinlets shown in red. Note four historic holes in turquoise were not included in the 2014 resource.
Figure 3. Drill section showing results from L4D0118 and L4D0119. Drilling has intersected Main Zone 300 m down-dip of historic hole NLOFDH055 and shows stronger grades and heavy rare earth enrichment at depth
Figure 4. Drill section showing results from L4D0120 and L4D0121. Significant improvement of grade and thickness up-dip and down-dip of historic hole NLOFDH4097. Hole L4D0122 (pending results) will test Main Zone 100 m further down-dip
A number of sequential processing stages have been recommended for treatment of the xenotime mineralization at Lofdal and include upfront sorting, magnetic separation, flotation and gangue acid leaching to produce a mineral concentrate. Each of these stages will be further evaluated during Term 1 with the initial focus on XRF and XRT sorting using a representative 18 tonne sample that was collected from trenches along 650 meters of strike length from the Area deposit.
X-Ray Fluorescence ("XRF") sorting tests are being undertaken by Rados International at their test facility in Pretoria, South Africa (Figure 4). Mineralization at Lofdal is amenable to XRF sorting by analyzing for yttrium which is directly related to the concentration of the heavy rare earth mineral xenotime. Detailed calibration tests were carried out using 500 individual rock particles from Area 4 to determine the relationship between concentrations of yttrium as determined from a handheld XRF analyzer and the Rados XRF analyzer. Data was used to develop a final algorithm that will determine the efficiency of the technology to eliminate waste from run-of-mine ("ROM") prior to milling and to further upgrade the ROM by sorting at specific cut-off grades.
The strong correlation between calculated %TREO as estimated from concentrations of yttrium from a handheld XRF analyzer, and the Rados analyzer is shown in Figure 4. Tests were carried out on three separate size fractions from 20 mm to 150 mm to determine the optimum size fraction for sorting. All test runs have been completed on 2.7 tonnes of representative sample and analyses are pending on all products to enable mass balance, grade and recoveries to be determined.
Figure 4. Rados test facility in Pretoria with observation deck to XRF feed hopper on left and final calibration algorithm showing correlation between Rados analysis for yttrium and %TREO
X-Ray Transmission ("XRT") sorting tests are being undertaken by IMS Engineering at their test facility in Johannesburg, South Africa using a Steinert KSS LXT sorter which incorporates laser sensor technology with XRT (Figure 5). Mineralization at Lofdal is amenable to XRT sorting by detection of higher density minerals which host the xenotime mineralization (predominantly carbonate minerals calcite, ankerite and dolomite). Detailed calibration tests were carried out using 750 individual rock particles from Area 4 to determine the relationship between %TREO as estimated from concentrations of yttrium from a handheld XRF analyzer and the Steinert XRT analyzer. Optimization of the sorting algorithm will be finalized using laser sensors in conjunction with XRT to develop a final algorithm that will determine the a series of cut points to produce three final products targeting i) maximum recovery, ii) high grade and iii) a balance between recovery and grade. Tests Will be carried out on three separate size fractions from 10 mm to 80 mm to determine the optimum size fraction for sorting. A total of 4.4 tonnes of representative sample has been provided for the test program.
Figure 5. IMS test facility in Johannesburg showing feeder conveyor to XRT sorter on left and Lofdal bulk sample ready for screening on right
Namibia Critical Metals is the operator for the Lofdal Joint Venture with JOGMEC and will provide updates on the progress of the drilling and metallurgical programs as results become available.
About Namibia Critical Metals Inc.
Namibia Critical Metals Inc. holds a diversified portfolio of exploration and advanced stage projects in the country of Namibia focused on the development of sustainable and ethical sources of metals for the battery, electric vehicle and associated industries. The Company also has significant land positions in areas favourable for gold mineralization.
At the Erongo Gold Project, stratigraphic equivalents to the sediments hosting the recent Osino gold discovery at Twin Hills have been identified but not yet sampled. Soil surveys are progressing over this highly prospective area.
In addition to Lofdal, the Epembe Tantalum-Niobium Project is also at an advanced stage with a well-defined, 10 km long carbonatite dyke that has been delineated by detailed mapping with over 11,000 meters of drilling. Preliminary mineralogical and metallurgical studies including sorting tests (XRT), indicate the potential for significant physical upgrading. Further work will be undertaken to advance the project to a preliminary economic assessment stage.
The Kunene Cobalt-Copper Project comprises a very large area of favorable stratigraphy ("the DOF") along strike to the west of the Opuwo cobalt-copper-zinc deposit. Secondary copper mineralization over a wide area points to preliminary evidence of a regional-scale hydrothermal system. Exploration targets on EPLs held in the Kunene project comprise direct extensions of the DOF style mineralization to the west, sediment-hosted cobalt and copper, orogenic copper, and stratabound manganese and zinc-lead mineralization.
Earlier stage projects include the Grootfontein Base Metal and Gold Project which has potential for magmatic copper-nickel mineralization, Mississippi Valley-type zinc-lead-vanadium mineralization and Otjikoto-style gold mineralization. Detailed interpretation of geophysical data and regional geochemical soil sampling surveys are under way.
The common shares of Namibia Critical Metals Inc. trade on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "NMI".
Donald M. Burton, P.Geo. and President of Namibia Critical Metals Inc., is the Company's Qualified Person and has reviewed and approved this press release.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
For more information please contact -
Namibia Critical Metals Inc.
Don Burton, President
Tel: +01 (902) 835-8760
Fax: +01 (902) 835-8761
Email: [email protected]
Web site: www.NamibiaCriticalMetals.com
The foregoing information may contain forward-looking information relating to the future performance of Namibia Rare Earths Inc. Forward-looking information, specifically, that concerning future performance, is subject to certain risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. These risks and uncertainties are detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the appropriate securities commissions.
SOURCE: Namibia Critical Metals Inc.