Forte Energy (LON:FTE) shares advanced around 9 percent in early deals after it revealed the first batch of re-assayed rare earth results from the Firawa project in Guinea.
Primarily Firawa has been a uranium project but in November the company’s geologists found REE’s in some metallurgical samples.
The discovery prompted the re-assay of previous drill results, looking for the hard to find and increasingly valuable group of seventeen metals. Rare earth metals – commonly referred to as rare earth elements – are required for essential components in most new high-tech devices like smart-phones and hybrid cars.
This morning Forte said that the first batch of results has revealed what its geologist had been expecting. The assays included several intersections with significant REE grades.
Eleven intersections were highlighted in the drill report. They varied in length between 3 and 31 metres, with TREO (total rare earth oxides) grades between 0.71 and 3.32 percent.
Forte is re-assaying drill core from two separate drill programmes – a 35 hole reverse circulation programme in 2007 and a follow-up diamond drill (DD) programme from 2008/2009.
These programmes resulted in Firawa’s maiden uranium resource of 11.6 million pounds (lbs) – 17.7 million tonnes grading 296 parts per million uranium.
Today’s results come from the RC programme.
“The assay results from the RC drilling programme are in line with the Company's expectation, given the shallow, widely spaced nature of this first drill programme,” Forte said.
“The subsequent DD programme was more detailed and intersected thicker sections of higher grade uranium mineralisation. It is anticipated forthcoming assay results from this programme should provide a more complete picture of the REE distribution.”
The emergence of rare earth mining has been one of the big stories of recent times – particularly in North American and Australian markets.
From an economic perspective it is very intriguing. Demand outstrips supply and vitally China controls 97 per cent of the production. Last year the People Republic imposed strict export controls which left tech-hungry western nations – and their massive technology firms - scrabbling around to secure new alternative sources of rare earths.
This has put rare earth miners and explorers firmly on the map for investors.
Success at Firawa would make Forte one of a very small group of London listed firms to give investors exposure to REE's.