African Consolidated Resources (LON:AFCR) (ACR) said it signed a joint venture deal for its recently acquired Nkombwa Hill project with privately-held Rare Earth International (NYSEMKT:REI) and reported the start of an in-house work programme.
The Nkombwa Hill project is located in northeastern Zambia, within ACR's 720km2 ‘Large Scale Prospecting Licence’, which was granted on 16 January 2010.
REI is an Australia-based private exploration company, and through the JV agreement the partners will explore for rare earth minerals on the license, where carbonatite has historically been explored for phosphate, rare earths, and niobium.
REI will earn a 30% interest in the project in Stage 1 and a further 20% in Stage 2.
Subsequently, should ACR decline its co-funding option, REI can increase its interest further by completing a pre-feasibility in Stage 3 and a bankable feasibility study in Stage 4, taking its total stake to 65% and 75% respectively. If the partners co-fund these latter stages of project development, the JV will remain on a 50:50% basis.
ACR’s in-house work programme is now underway, with data compilation of historical reports nearly complete, and field visits are scheduled for June-July.
Subsequently, the company will carry out extensive mapping and geochemical sampling programmes. Drilling and metallurgical-extraction studies will be required later to assess the resources at depth, once technical and environmental planning is completed.