Mkango Resources Ltd. Announces Commencement Of Drilling At The Songwe Rare Earth Project And Update On Exploration Activities In Malawi
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Calgary, Alberta: April 18th, 2011 - Mkango Resources Ltd. (TSXV-MKA) (the "Corporation" or "Mkango") is pleased to announce that a diamond drilling program has commenced at the Songwe Hill rare earth project in Malawi.
Mkango commenced trading on the TSX Venture Exchange on January 6, 2011, having completed an oversubscribed brokered and non brokered private placement with gross proceeds of $7,760,750.
The Songwe Hill rare earth project is located within a 100% owned exclusive prospecting licence covering an area of 1,283 km2 in southeast Malawi (the "Phalombe Licence"). Songwe features carbonatite hosted rare earth mineralization and was previously drilled in the late 1980s. Further exploration and mineralogical analysis was completed in 2010, and the 43-101 compliant "Technical Report on the Songwe Rare Earth Element (REE) Project, Republic of Malawi" dated September 30, 2010 was filed on SEDAR.
Exploration activities within the Phalombe Licence since January 2011 have included:
- Upgrading of roads and bridges on the access road to Songwe Hill and construction of drill pads
- Establishment of drilling camp, water boreholes and fuel storage facilities at Songwe Hill
- Completion of geophysical and topographic surveys at Songwe Hill
- Regional compilation of airborne radiometric data for the licence area
- Acquisition of Landsat and ASTER satellite imagery for the licence area
- Commencement of minimum 2,500 metre diamond drilling program.
The deposit was only drilled to 50m during past exploration programs and the latest phase by Mkango will test potential extensions of mineralized zones to depth.
The Songwe Hill Rare Earth Project
Songwe is accessible by road from Zomba, the former capital, and Blantyre, the principal commercial town of Malawi. Total travel time from Zomba is approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, which will reduce as infrastructure continues to be upgraded in the area.
Songwe is a volcanic vent that is expressed as a steep-sided hill rising some 230m above the surrounding plain. The Songwe vent is choked with agglomerates and breccias amongst which are veins, dykes, patches and more substantial bodies of carbonatite exposed at surface. Carbonatite is the principal rare earth element (REE) bearing rock type.
Significant exploration work was completed at Songwe between 1986 and 1988 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Metal Mining Agency of Japan (MMAJ) under an agreement with the Government of Malawi. The work comprised geochemical sampling, trenching, thin section, polished section, XRF and EPMA analysis, and 19 drill holes to 50 metres.
The logs of the drill holes indicate broad intersections of carbonatite in a number of holes, including 46m grading 1.3% rare earth oxides (REO), 50m grading 1.5% REO and 50m grading 3.1% REO. Assays were only completed for lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, samarium, europium, terbium, yttrium, strontium, niobium and phosphate. Praseodymium, dysprosium and other heavy rare earths were not analysed in the drill intersections. The principal minerals hosting the rare earths were identified by JICA and MMAJ as being bastnäsite, synchysite, parisite, strontianite, monazite, pyrochlore and apatite.
Field reconnaissance and geochemical sampling programmes were undertaken during March 2010 and May 2010 with a view to better understanding the mineralisation as reported in the previous work of JICA and MMAJ, also to identify the previously reported zones enriched with rare earth elements and the different lithologies and types of carbonatite.
Results from the 2010 geochemical sampling programme were consistent with those of JICA and MMAJ, and included assays for those elements not previously assayed by JICA and MMAJ. Broad zones of carbonatite were identified at surface with grades for the 62 carbonatite samples taken ranging from 0.4% to 5.3% total rare earth oxides (TREO) (Average 1.5%). The proportion of heavy rare earth oxides (HREO), defined here as europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium and yttrium for this set of samples, averaged 8% of TREO. The average grade of samples exceeding 1% TREO was 1.84%.
Six samples were sent to SGS Canada Inc. for QEMSCANTM and electron microprobe analysis. Results indicate that "parisite group" minerals (parisite, synchysite, bastnäsite and ancylite) are the principal REE carriers for these samples. This was broadly consistent with work completed by JICA and MMAJ.
The qualified persons for the purpose of this press release are Neil Scott, C.Eng, and Andrew Wells, C.Eng., both of whom work for Saint Barbara LLP and are independent of the Corporation.
Shares outstanding 37.4 million
Fully diluted 48.6 million
For further information, please contact:
Mkango Resources Ltd.
Office +1 (403) 444 - 5979
Fax +1 (403) 351 - 1703
Chief Executive Officer
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