Peak Resources (ASX: PEK) has moved to 100% ownership of the Ngualla Rare Earth Project in southern Tanzania, from 80%.
The increase in stake follows the 100% acquisition of Zari Exploration Ltd, which held a 20% free carry interest through to completion of feasibility.
With total control, Peak is now positioned to unleash the full potential of Ngualla, where the company turned a virgin rare earth discovery a couple of years ago into one of the largest and highest grade new rare earth discoveries in recent years.
Where the news flow becomes very interesting for Peak, is that the highly anticipated maiden JORC Resource from the project will be delivered in the March quarter 2012, prepared by consultants Hellman and Schofield.
Data from the entire drilling program has been sent to the consultants, which have commenced work on the resource for the Southern Rare Earth and South West Alluvial Zones.
Showing the potential of Ngualla, recent highlights include 75.70 metres at 5.82% REO from surface, including 10.74 metres at 10.1% REO.
Institutional support for Peak
In another vote of confidence for the company's operations, earlier in the month a U.S. institutional investor invested $4 million into the company, which was through a placement of 8.3 million shares at $0.48.
The funds have already been allocated to progress; beneficiation and metallurgical test work; completion of the maiden rare earth JORC Resource at the Ngualla project; while also funding the new drilling program scheduled for a May 2012 start.
Mineralogical studies at a glance
Mineralogical studies have shown that bastnasite and synchysite are the main rare earth minerals and occur within a barite - iron oxide hydroxide lithology in the weathered zone and a carbonate rich lithology with barite in fresh carbonatite.
Alumina is negligible and there are no clay minerals. Uranium and thorium levels are very low at 17ppm and 37ppm average respectively within +1% REO mineralisation in the Southern Rare Earth Zone. The rare earth carbonates are predominantly liberated, with grain sizes between 10 and 120 microns.
Beneficiation of primary mineralisation
Initial beneficiation studies on a bulk diamond core sample of fresh rock rare earth mineralisation from the Southern Rare Earth Zone returned encouraging upgrades of from wet table test work. This initial basic baseline test work succeeded in concentrating 84% of the head feed mineralisation, with a grade of 1.69% REO, 290% (almost 3 x's) to 4.87% REO.
The concentrate is contained within just 34% of the mass of the original feed material (an alternative presentation of these initial results is that 66% of the original mass is able to be discarded for the loss of just 16% of the mineralisation).
Although this single stage preliminary beneficiation characterisation work has not immediately produced a commercial grade concentrate, it has demonstrated the potential for simple gravity separation to form an important component of a multi - part processing stream for this important second style of rare earth mineralisation at Ngualla.