HALIFAX, NS / ACCESSWIRE / August 22, 2022 / Namibia Critical Metals Inc. (“Namibia Critical Metals” or the “Company” or “NMI”) (TSXV:NMI)(OTC PINK:NMREF) is pleased to provide an update on the development of the Lofdal Heavy Rare Earth project. The deposit has the potential for significant production of dysprosium and terbium, two of the most valuable heavy rare earth elements. The Project is being developed in joint venture with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (“JOGMEC”) targeting a long term, sustainable supply of heavy rare earths to Japan.
SGS Minerals Services Canada (SGS) completed acid bake and leach test work on a bulk flotation concentrate which was produced by direct flotation of run-of-mine material from the Lofdal starter pit. The test results are very similar to the successful hydrometallurgical test work conducted on a flotation concentrate produced on sorter products. SGS used the proven hydrometallurgical flowsheet which was developed in 2021 (press release of 7 October 2021) with an acid bake to crack the main rare earth mineral xenotime, purify the pregnant leach solution and to precipitate a rare earth oxalate, which is subsequently calcined to form a product containing >98% total rare earth oxides (TREO). The acid bake process and concurrent removal of impurities is highly efficient and resulted in a >94% recovery of Dysprosium and Terbium in the leaching operation of the processing flow sheet.
Darrin Campbell, President of Namibia Critical Metals stated:
“Another big milestone for the Lofdal project is completed. The test work by SGS confirmed the positive results achieved last year on the new fresh bulk sample from the Lofdal starter pit. This result will allow us to advance an assessment of large-scale production of a high purity Heavy Rare Earth Oxide product in Namibia.”
Hydrometallurgical test work and results
A mineral concentrate was produced by bulk flotation for downstream hydrometallurgical testing. Four bulk flotation tests demonstrated repeatable flotation performances on the low grade direct run-of-mine feed material. The average cleaner flotation from the bulk test runs produced a concentrate grade of 4.7-6% TREO (press release of 26 July 2022). This flotation concentrate marks the third such concentrate tested at the laboratories of SGS in Lakefield, Ontario, to determine the potential for producing a marketable rare earth product with minimal impurities. The previous hydrometallurgical test work at SGS had demonstrated the acid bake route is preferred due to lower reagent costs and higher recovery of the heavy rare earths compared to the caustic crack route.
A total of three acid bake and water leach tests were completed throughout the current test program to investigate the dissolution of rare earth elements (REE) and the behaviour of gangue minerals through the addition of sulphuric acid at elevated temperatures (300°C) and at a range of acid dosages (1-1.5 t/t concentrate basis). Under previously determined optimum conditions (2021 test program at SGS), these tests showed very good REE recoveries with 96% for yttrium, 95% for dysprosium and 94% for terbium.
Results of the impurity removal and crude REE precipitation tests on the leached solutions are awaited to further corroborate chemistries between the test programs on the two flotation concentrates. While the results are very positive, there remains room to optimise these processes regarding OPEX and CAPEX as well as recoveries in continuous pilot plant testing during pre-feasibility study.
Figure 1: Hydrometallurgical process flowsheet developed in 2021 using Lofdal flotation concentrate
The addition of a hydrometallurgical plant at Lofdal would create further jobs in the southern Kunene Region of Namibia and provide a marketable product for export. The rare earth oxalate product with thorium and uranium levels below 3 ppm would be acceptable for import into Japan without restrictions or penalties.
About Namibia Critical Metals Inc.
Namibia Critical Metals Inc. holds a diversified portfolio of exploration and advanced stage projects in Namibia focused on the development of sustainable and ethical sources of metals for the battery, electric vehicle and associated industries. The two advanced stage projects in the portfolio are Lofdal and Epembe. The Company also holds significant land positions in areas favourable for gold mineralization.
Heavy Rare Earths: The Lofdal Dysprosium-Terbium Project is the Company’s most advanced project being fully permitted with a Mining Licence (ML 200) issued in 2021. The project is being developed in joint venture with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (“JOGMEC”).
About Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and the JV
JOGMEC is a Japanese government independent administrative agency which seeks to secure stable resource supplies for Japan. JOGMEC has a strong reputation as a long term, strategic partner in mineral projects globally. JOGMEC facilitates opportunities with Japanese private companies to secure supplies of natural resources for the benefit of the country’s economic development.
Rare earths are of critical importance to Japanese industrial interests and JOGMEC has extensive experience with all aspects of the sector. JOGMEC provided Lynas with US$250,000,000 in loans and equity in 2011 to ensure supplies of the Light Rare Earths metals suite to the Japanese industry.
Namibia Critical Metals owns a 95% interest in the Lofdal project with the remaining 5% held for the benefit of historically disadvantaged Namibians. The terms of the JOGMEC joint venture agreement with the Company stipulate that JOGMEC provides $3,000,000 in Term 1 and $7,000,000 in Term 2 to earn a 40% interest in the Lofdal project. Term 3 calls for a further $10,000,000 of expenditures to earn an additional 10% interest. JOGMEC can also purchase another 1% for $5,000,000 and has first right of refusal to fully fund the project through to commercial production and to purchase all production at market prices. The collective interests of NMI and historically disadvantaged Namibians cannot be diluted below a 26% carried working interest upon payment of $5,000,000 to JOGMEC for the dilution protection. The JV Agreement is structured such that no NMI equity will be issued and it is totally non-dilutive to NMI shareholders. To date, JOGMEC, has approved funding Term 1 and 2 expenditures totaling $7,800,000.
Gold: The Company’s Exclusive Prospecting Licenses (“EPLs”) prospective for gold are located in the Central Namibian Gold Belt which hosts a number of significant orogenic gold deposits including the Navachab Gold Mine, the Otjikoto Gold Mine and more recently the discovery of the Twin Hills deposit. At the Erongo Gold Project, stratigraphic equivalents to the meta-sediments hosting the recent Osino gold discovery at Twin Hills have been identified and exploration is progressing over this highly prospective area. The Grootfontein Base Metal and Gold Project has potential for magmatic copper-nickel mineralization, Mississippi Valley-type zinc-lead-vanadium mineralization and Otjikoto-style gold mineralization. Interpretation of geophysical data and regional geochemical soil sampling have identified first gold targets.
Tantalum-Niobium: The Epembe Tantalum-Niobium-Uranium Project is at an advanced stage with a well-defined, 10 km long carbonatite dyke that has been delineated by detailed mapping and radiometric surveys and 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.
The common shares of Namibia Critical Metals Inc. trade on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “NMI”.
Qualified Person’s Statement
Micheal Archer of SGS is the Company’s Qualified Person and has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information in 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.
Darrin Campbell, President
Tel: +01 (902) 835-8760
Fax: +01 (902) 835-8761
Web site: www.NamibiaCriticalMetals.com
The foregoing information may contain forward-looking information relating to the future performance of Namibia Critical Metals 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.