Rainbow Rare Earths (RBW) has shipped its first load of high grade rare earth mineral concentrate (circa 62%), which is currently being transported by road to Mombasa in GPS tracked trucks. RBW has achieved production on time and on budget and is one of a handful of rare earth producers outside of China. It now has become the only African producer of this vital ingredient into permanent magnets, which is critical to the ‘Green Revolution’.
Its Gakara permit in Burundi is one of the highest grade rare earth element (REE) projects globally with very low operational costs; with a forecasted operational margin of about 60%. The Gakara asset is preferentially enriched in Neodymium (Nd) and Praseodymium (Pr) in comparison with many other rare earth operations. This is reflected in Gakara’s revenue profile where some 80% of revenue comes from Nd and Pr.
In a research report, Charles FitzRoy of Arden Partners notes “rare earth prices have risen considerably over the last 12 months, driven by momentum from electric vehicles (EVs) and the ‘Green Revolution’. REEs are used to construct the highest performing permanent magnets used in electric motors, which are critical for electric vehicles.
“RBW has successfully delivered on its stated strategy of having
developed the Gasagwe mine, constructed its processing plant to the point of final commissioning and now has exported its first shipment of mineral concentrate all within 11 months of IPO. RBW is targeting a run rate of 5,000 t/y (circa 4,200 t/y concentrate) by the end of 2018.
“The processing plant at Kabezi is now fully constructed and precommissioning has been completed in the majority of areas. The plant is expected to be fully operational before the month end. Mining has continued to make solid progress at Gasagwe and has already delivered the targeted ROM ore stockpile for the commissioning period this month.”
Martin Eales, CEO of Rainbow, commented: “Rainbow can now rightly claim to be the only producing rare earths mine in Africa, and the highest grade producer globally. We have successfully delivered on our stated strategy having developed the Gasagwe mine, constructed our processing plant to the point of final commissioning and now exported our first shipment of mineral concentrate all within 11 months of IPO. This is a proud moment for all involved in the company and we now look forward to growing our monthly production levels over the coming months targeting a 5,000 t/y run rate by the end of 2018.”