Rare earth explorer Montero Mining and Exploration Ltd. (
) said Tuesday it has started two pivotal environmental studies at Wigu Hill, East Africa.
The two reports, an environmental impact assessment, as well as an environmental and social impact assessment, are key to getting an environmental permit.
Montero also said it acquired a two year extension to its prospecting license by the Commissioner for minerals in Tanzania. The extension expires on June 30, 2014.
"The commencement of the EIA and ESIA are instrumental in developing a mining operation at Wigu Hill," Montero's chief executive Tony Harwood said in a statement.
"The results and submission of the EIA and ESIA will be required for the application of a mining license and contribute to the feasibility study."
Montero said it remains focused on de-risking the Wigu Hill project and targeting early production of rare earths.
It hired Tanzanian-based MTL Consulting Co. to carry out the studies, while the National Environment Management Council has approved a scoping study.
The company plans to submit the two studies by month's end, and expects an environmental impact assessment certificate in October 2012.
Montero's Wigu Hill project is a light rare earth element deposit and a large carbonite complex with bastnaesite mineralization. The project is located in Tanzania.
It covers a 142 square kilometre area. Grab samples have yielded results as high as 27.57% total rare earth oxides (TREO).
An initial 43-101 inferred resource estimate stands at 3.3 million tonnes at 2.6% light rare earth oxide (LREO). This includes 510,000 at 4.4% LREO on two of 10 possible drill targets.
Montero's stock traded flat at 15 cents each on the TSX Venture Exchange on Tuesday.