Pensana Plc (LON:PRE) today provided an exploration update from its Coola project located 16 kilometres north of the Company’s state-of-the-art Longonjo rare earth development in Angola.
Having identified highly anomalous technology metals including rare earths, scandium and fluorite in soils surrounding the 7,500 km2 Coola project in 2020, field exploration activities resumed in Q3 2021.
· The Coola carbonatite has an enriched distribution of heavy rare earths compared to the light rare earth elements including neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) at Pensana’s Longonjo project. Work is ongoing to establish the extent of the mineralisation and confirm its distribution. This will help to identify how Coola may complement NdPr production from Longonjo. Heavy rare earths are less abundant and are important in a range of clean energy technological applications including permanent magnets.
· Scandium in Coola’s soils is highly anomalous with most values at more than 80 ppm and exceptional values of over 200 ppm. Work is underway to identify the mineral host and the extent of mineralisation. Scandium is used in alloys, particularly with aluminium, for light-weighting applications in industries including aerospace manufacturing.
· In 2020, Pensana identified outcropping of fluorite and undertook soil sampling and geological mapping over the 6 km by 2.5 km complex. An outcrop sample of very high-grade material of over 97% calcium fluoride has been highlighted for further investigation. Given that outcropping fluorite is often difficult to identify, this is strong evidence for more similar mineralisation. The area is being mapped in detail and will be soil sampled. Trenching, rock chip sampling and drilling will be considered thereafter. Fluorite is crucial in a growing range of chemical, ceramic and metallurgical processes.
While the global pandemic has interrupted field staff site access , a Phase II programme has commenced and is on track to conclude in Q4 2021. This comprises:
· Detailed geological mapping and rock chip sampling of the Coola carbonatite complex
· Mineralogical studies including XRD, petrography and whole rock geochemistry
· Infill soil geochemistry over the area of fluorite mineralisation
· Infill soil geochemistry over the rare earth/ Scandium enriched carbonatite ring dyke
· Augering the central diatreme.
The Phase II programme is well timed to access upgrades which will enable larger equipment on site at Coola in 2022.
Pensana plc CEO, Tim George, said:
“Now that Covid restrictions are being eased we are really pleased to get the team back in the field and restart exploration activities at Coola.
The Coola carbonatite is the first of several targets within the 7,500 km2 Exploration Licence area we will be targeting.
The initial focus is to follow up on the heavy rare earths, scandium and fluorite anomalies identified at Coola and we very much look forward to reporting results from these programmes over the coming weeks.”