Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
LONDON Stock Exchange listed mining group, Rainbow Rare Earths Limited, says it has acquired 10 mining claims for rare earth elements (REE) in Zimbabwe and would be rolling out an exploration programme soon.
In a statement, the African-focused mining group, which also has operations in Burundi in East Africa, said the licences for its local mining claims will be held 100 percent by Rainbow Zimbabwe, its wholly-owned subsidiary.
“As part of its strategy to enhance its already strong portfolio of rare earth properties, the company has acquired 10 mining claims in Zimbabwe.
“The licences will be held 100 percent by Rainbow Zimbabwe, with no free carry for the Government, in line with recent changes to the legal framework covering mining in Zimbabwe,” it said.
The mining concern said the country was geologically prominent for hosting a large number of minerals including gold, battery metals coal, platinum group metals (“PGM”) and chrome resources. It noted that the 2002 report by the United States Geological Survey provides a record of REE content in the Kapfrugwa deposit (also known as Gungwa), in Mashonaland Central province.
“Rainbow will immediately commence with an exploration programme including geological mapping, sampling and assaying with the aim to conclude an interpretation report with focus on REE potential, namely sizes, grades and mineralogy,” it said.
REE are predominantly used in the production of glasses, electronics, hybrid vehicles, wind turbines, microphones and speakers, LCD and plasma screens, fibre optics, lasers as well as medical imaging. They can also be used in producing water treatment chemicals.
Rare earth minerals examples include cerium (Ce), dysprosium (Dy), erbium (Er), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), holmium (Ho), lanthanum (La), lutetium (Lu), neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), and promethium.
Commenting on the acquisition, Rainbow chief executive officer Mr George Bennet was quoted as saying: “I believe this is a great opportunity to diversify the portfolio, with low risk and minimal capital outlay.”
Experts say Zimbabwe is sitting on abundant and lucrative deposits of REE, some of which sell for more than US$1 000 for a single kilogramme in the international community.
Major reserves of REE minerals are in China, the United States, India, Brazil and Australia.
China holds about 30 percent of the world’s deposits. It is hoped that the discovery of the REE could add impetus on the mining sector’s contribution to Zimbabwe’s economy.
Last month, President Mnangagwa launched a strategic roadmap to the achievement of a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023 as Government ramps up efforts to increase the sector’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product.
The mining sector is critical in generating foreign currency, contributing about 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s forex earnings. — @okazunga