A ~5,000m exploration drilling program will kick off in the coming days at Lotus Resources’ (ASX:LOT) flagship Kayelekera uranium project — the first at the project in more than 15 years.

Lotus’ low opex Kayelekera project in Malawi – purchased from fellow Africa-focused Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) in March 2020 – will cost just $US50m to get up and running, the company says.

Kayelekera is a proven uranium operation having successfully produced 11Mlbs over five years, ceasing operations in 2014 due to sustained low uranium prices.

The company is now drill testing three radiometric anomalies south of the existing pit, which cover areas of outcrop and have similar signatures to the ‘Kayelekera’ anomaly.

The ultimate objective is to increase the project‘s 14-year mine life.

A smaller infill drill program on the western edge of the resource, outside the current mine plan, has also been included in the program.

If the results from the uranium drill program are positive, then Lotus will consider a Phase 2 drill program to extend known mineral resources in the step-out area and undertake a mineral resource estimate for the satellite pits.

“As demonstrated in the Scoping Study, the Kayelekera Project already has a 14-year mine life,” Lotus managing director Keith Bowes says.

“While exploration success is seen as beneficial in increasing mine life, it is not required for a recommencement of operations.”

Drilling for high value rare earths

Once this initial uranium exploration program is done, a focused drill program will be undertaken at the ‘Milenje’ rare earths discovery to see how deep the mineralisation goes.

Samples collected from the drilling and trenching program will be used in a ‘bench-scale’ metallurgical test work program to see if it is suitable to be beneficiated into a concentrate for further downstream processing.

The target includes a highly desirable assemblage of rare earths, with high value neodymium and Praseodymium oxides representing on average ~20% of the total.

“An update on the rare earths projects is expected to be released later this year,” Bowes says.




This article was developed in collaboration with Lotus, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.