The main drawback of any junior rare earth company is the exorbitant amount of capital needed to take a project through to production. One Africa-focused junior is fast making a name for itself as it continues to improve on the economics of its flagship project.
Peak Resources (ASX:PEK), an Australia-based firm focused on fast tracking the development of its 100-percent-owned Ngualla rare earth project in Tanzania, has attracted increased investor attention of late. Peak’s strategy for growth is to rapidly develop Ngualla into production via lower capital costs and to establish itself as a lower-cost quartile, long-term producer of clean, high-purity rare earth products.
The Ngualla project
Located in Southern Tanzania, 147 kilometers from the city of Mbeya on the edge of the East African Rift, the Ngualla project is centered on the Ngualla carbonatite. The name “Ngualla” comes from the Swahili word for “bald head,” which reflects the appearance of the site, most of which is bare land with no inhabitants or agriculture and very little wildlife.
The Ngualla deposit can be divided into two geographic and geological areas: the Southern rare earth zone, located in the center of the carbonatite around Ngualla Hill, and the South West alluvial zone. The Southern rare earth zone is a 1-kilometer by 1-kilometer area in the low magnetic central core of the Ngualla carbonatite, according to the company’s maiden JORC resource report. Rare earth mineralization occurs from the surface and is enriched in the weathered zone of the carbonatite, varying from a few meters to 140 meters vertical depth. The bulk of Ngualla’s mineral resource is contained within the Southern rare earth zone and most of the highest-grade component occurs near surface.