Rainbow Rare Earths Ltd (LON:RBW) is targeting production of 10,000 tonnes per annum of rare earth concentrate at its Gakara mine in Burundi.
It would be a ten-fold boost from the 850 tonnes produced in the year to 30 June, which was a 44% increase year-on-year.
The grade of 57% total rare earth oxides sold at an average price was US$1,812 per tonne.
The miner has already begun a programme of test work and further exploration to define whether the mine’s reserves can support the new target for a ten-year operating life.
While current activities focus on veins outcropping at surface, recent testing suggested there are minerals at a lower level too, implying potential for a larger deposit than initially expected.
Operations will be supported by a new mining fleet, better suited for wet terrain, and mechanical extraction, rather than by hand, to allow for greater quantity.
The short-term objective is to reach breakeven profitability by January 2020, to then employ cash resources for the new target.
Revenue for the year was US$1.5mln, a 35% growth y-o-y, while adjusted underlying loss was US$3.3mln, a 39% contraction y-o-y, as the firm encountered operating problems during the rainy season.
Cash at the end of the period was US$119,000, while in July a further US$4.2mln were raised with an equity placing.
“While production was challenging, it would be more correct to characterise our operating methods in the year as trial mining,” said new chief executive George Bennett.
“We have been able to learn a lot about our project in the year, and are now adapting the way we operate, and while we will continue the trial mining at Gakara, we are moving to a more mechanised, efficient operation.”
Shares were down 11.53% to 2.61p in the early morning.