- The demand for critical metals has increased in recent years as metals used in permanent magnets like dysprosium and terbium have become crucial to the modern economy.
- Namibia Critical Metals controls a diverse portfolio of metals projects in Namibia, including Lofdal, a JV-funded rare earth project rich in dysprosium and terbium
- The company just posted a huge increase in Lofdal’s resources, giving it a flagship project to anchor its other metals projects, including gold.
The key metals Namibia Critical Metals (TSXV: NMI | OTCQ: NMREF | Frankfurt: 7NR) focuses on refer to high school chemistry lessons on the Periodic Table of the Elements.
Rare earth elements like dysprosium and terbium can be a mouthful, but they are the key to modern economics.
These two heavy rare earth elements are crucial inputs for the permanent magnets that power so many applications nowadays, including the electric vehicle (EV) boom.
According to Adamas Intelligence, the permanent magnet industry is expected to be the fastest growing end-use category of rare earth elements over the next decade. And while some of the lightest rare earth elements (by atomic weight) are common, the heaviest, including dysprosium and terbium, are rare.
The demand for permanent magnets and other rare earth applications has exploded in recent years and as a result the global rush to secure a constant supply of these metals has accelerated.
With its suite of diverse critical metals projects in an African mining-friendly country, Namibia Critical Metals appears well positioned to capitalize on these trends.
“Our resource update on Lofdal unequivocally places the project among the best heavy rare earth element projects in the world. It’s a fantastic position to be in. “
– Darrin Campbell, President, Namibia Critical Metals
As a mining locality, Namibia is not necessarily a priority among mining investors, but it is a very favorable jurisdiction.
Mining accounts for around 12.5 percent of the country’s GDP and provides more than 50 percent of its foreign exchange earnings. The country has been a stable democracy since its independence in 1990 and has good roads and other infrastructure.
The country is also home to a variety of mines and mineral deposits under development. Namibia Critical Metals Vice President of Exploration, Dr Rainer Ellmies, notes that the country has “an excellent database of geophysical and historical exploration data at the Geological Survey.” President Darrin Campbell adds: “Namibia is a large mining jurisdiction. It is very stable socially and politically and very favorable to mining, with excellent infrastructure and a strong rule of law.
Namibia Critical Metals also has strong ties to the country – it is one of the largest exploration companies operating in Namibia.
Lofdal shows huge increase in resources
The crown jewel of the company’s assets in Namibia is its Lofdal Heavy Rare Earth Elements (HREE) project.
A recent 14,500m drill program on this project allowed the company to report an updated resource estimate in May that showed impressive growth. This included a 1,451 percent increase in Lofdal’s Measured and Indicated Resource tonnage over a resource estimate used in a 2014 preliminary economic assessment for the project.
PRESS RELEASE – We are pleased to announce an updated NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate for our Lofdal Heavy Rare Earths project.
The results show an increase of over 650% in TREO’s Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources.
Read the full press release: https://t.co/idpu0hyZwn pic.twitter.com/oM15Z5Nj7s
– NamibiaMetals (@NamibiaMetals) May 20, 2021
The amount of dysprosium oxide and terbium oxide contained, measured and reported in the resource increased by 6.1 times and 6.7 times, respectively. The work also resulted in a 164% increase in deemed resource tonnage.
The in situ mineral resource estimate was independently prepared by the MSA Group of South Africa and was based on geochemical analyzes and density measurements of core samples obtained from diamond drilling undertaken by Namibia Critical Metals from 2010 to 2012, 2015 and more recently in 2020.
Dr Ellmies attributes the increase in tonnage to the fact that Namibia Critical Metals “has invested heavily in detailed geological mapping and structural analysis, and thus cracked the code for mineralization at Lofdal. The drilling was perfect. Thanks to this new model, Dr Ellmies and his team were able to effectively extend the known resource on the project.
Campbell comments, “This has been an incredibly successful drilling campaign, and it took place in the first year of our joint venture with JOGMEC. We believe this is the tip of the iceberg: there is potential for district-wide mineralization in Lofdal.
A key partnership
JOGMEC stands for Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, a Japanese agency with a multi-billion dollar annual budget with a mandate to secure the resources the country needs to boost its economy.
JOGMEC has made investments around the world, including a joint venture with Australian company REE, Lynas, for an amount of US $ 250 million. Last year it entered into a joint venture agreement with Namibia Critical Metals on Lofdal.
As part of the deal, JOGMEC agreed to a three-term structure that will see the agency invest $ 3 million in Term 1 and $ 7 million in Term 2 to take a 40% stake in Lofdal. He can then spend an additional $ 10 million to bring that interest to 50 percent and a final cash payment of $ 5 million for 1 percent bringing it to 51 percent.
JOGMEC also has the right of first refusal to fully fund the project up to commercial production and receive the first production levy in Lofdal at market prices. Namibia Critical Metals can be diluted to a minimum 26 percent stake if JOGMEC chooses to fully fund the project through to commercial production.
JOGMEC recently took the swift decision to move on to Term 2 of the Lofdal Agreement and contribute over an additional $ 2 million to the project budget through July 2021, a clear sign that the agency likes what it sees. .
With the resources and support that JOGMEC provides, it is hard to overstate the value of this partnership. Comparing it to the gold industry, Campbell says, “It’s like being an aspiring gold producer and having the resources of the major gold company Barrick to take it to production.”
Gold projects offer a metal option
And speaking of gold, Namibia Critical Metals’ diverse portfolio also includes a few promising early stage gold projects in Namibia.
The company’s Grootfontein project is located in a gold belt with two operating gold mines that have combined resources of more than six million ounces of gold. Grootfontein is within 80 km of one such mine, B2Gold’s Otjikoto Gold Mine.
The Grootfontein project covers under-explored ground for orogenic gold, as well as for the mineralization of elements of the copper-nickel-platinum group. Recent geochemical work on the project has revealed a large-scale anomaly that stretches 10 km by 10 km. In addition, magnetic surveys carried out by drone and geophysical work on the ground in this area have identified several targets intended for monitoring by drilling in the third quarter of 2021.
The remainder of 2021 will include more target identification work on this project and on neighboring Otjiwarongo and Erongo projects.
A diversified set of raw materials
In addition to heavy rare earths and gold, Namibia Critical Metals searches for a wide range of critical metals in the country, including copper, cobalt, tantalum and niobium.
For now, however, the focus will be clearly on operating this joint venture with JOGMEC to move Lofdal into production. Campbell is very excited about the potential of this project, saying, “Our resource update on Lofdal unequivocally places the project among the heaviest Rare Earth element projects in the world. It is a fantastic position to be in.
With a pipeline of projects varying in stage of development from new deposits to mining development, Namibia Critical Metals also has a professional team with experience in the country to advance Lofdal and its gold projects and to seek new projects in develop in the country too.
The increased demand for this company’s “critical metals” makes it an excellent investment vehicle to take advantage of key trends in the modern economy.
To learn more about Namibia Critical Metals, visit their website here.
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