Rift Valley Resources Limited (ASX: RVY) has started field surveys ahead of phase I of a 9,000-metre drilling program as it aims to have the Longonjo project in Angola ranked as one of the world’s largest NdPr projects.
The reverse circulation drilling program, which is supported by a recent oversubscribed placement that raised $5.5 million, is on schedule to begin before the end of August.
Surveying and gridding of the 100-plus planned drill holes in phase I are complete while the field camp is being moved closer to the project site to better support the focus on Longonjo.
Rift Valley’s chief operating officer and executive director Dave Hammond said: “We are on schedule for the drilling program to commence next month and look forward to receiving the first assay results a few weeks after.”
The company’s focus on Longonjo comes at a time when demand for neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) is set to soar as a vital component in electric motors.
Phase I of the program is aimed at scoping the full extent of the resource and identifying the most favourable styles of NdPr mineralisation at the 70%-owned project.
Proposed drill holes on the NdPr (oxide) grade block model.
Contracts are signed for phase I drilling and associated surveys and services.
Field and technical teams have been recruited and are already on site together with Dave Hammond, who is overseeing the preparations and drilling operations.
Aim to estimate a resource
Delineating a large resource estimate would allow the company to identify and select the most favourable, highest quality mineralisation for development.
Definition of quality mineralisation at surface in the ‘free dig’ weathered zone combined with the favourable location of the project close to infrastructure will create a valuable asset of global significance to the expanding NdPr market.
Geological mapping of the carbonatite and a review of previous diamond drill core is progressing with specialist geological consultant Dr Wally Witt to define the geological framework for the NdPr mineralisation.
Ground control points to be used for an accurate satellite-based topographic survey have been established and will be precisely located by a licensed surveyor, who will also run a trial ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey.
GPR is used in lateritic nickel and bauxite exploration and may be useful in mapping the areas of deep weathering at Longonjo in which the high-grade NdPr mineralisation occurs.
The accurate topographic survey is required for the future JORC-compliant mineral resource estimate.
Meetings with stakeholders
Rift Valley has held meetings with regional officials and stakeholders to provide a briefing on planned activities at Longonjo in 2018.
The company has been well received and authorities are supportive of the work programs and the potential to develop a new mining operation if exploration is successful.