Dual-listed Mkango Resources Limited, a mining firm exploring rare earths at Songwe Hills in Phalombe, says it has completed its major drill programme at the Songwe Hill Rare Earths Project.
The Canada-based company, which has been in the country for eight years now, has drilled approximately 10 891 metres, comprising 91 drill holes to a maximum depth of 220 metres.
In a statement published on its website www.mkango.ca/s, the miner’s chief executive officer William Dawes said the drill programme, which is an integral part of the company’s ongoing feasibility study, has been a success.
He said: “We are very pleased to announce another excellent set of results from the recently completed major drill programme at Songwe.
This is the largest drill programme to date in the history of the project and its successful completion is a great credit to the strong international and Malawian team on the ground.
“We now look forward to announcing results from the remaining 75 drill holes totalling 9 259 metres between 2011 and 2012.”
The drill programme, according to Dawes, is focused on infill drilling to confirm and upgrade the existing indicated and inferred mineral resource estimates, testing extensions to the mineralisation and geotechnical drilling.
Mkango Resources completed an updated pre-feasibility study for the project in November 2015 and a feasibility study is what is currently underway whose initial phase include the recently completed 10 891-metre drilling programme.
Energy and mining expert Grain Malunga, who is also former minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, described the development as positive news for the mining industry, but cautioned the country to be vigilant on deals of such nature to ensure that they benefit the country.
He said: “Obviously, this is some news for joy for the country, but we need to be careful otherwise we will end up duped like the Kayelekera [Uranium Mine] deal. We need to deploy our experts to be part of the process at every stage.”
Realising that investment in mineral exploration is risky and capital intensive, government in this financial year amended the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act to allow mining companies in the exploration phase to register for VAT.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said would reduce the costs incurred by mining companies as the companies will be able to claim their input VAT at a later stage.