Exploiting Burundi’s Rare Earth mineral should increase exports and diversify the economy if the mining project is properly regulated.
The look for Burundians seems brighter following the first of its kind in Africa-exportation- of Rare Earth mineral by a UK company Rainbow Rare Earths which apparently is rampaing -up it’s operations at Gakara mining centre.
Burundi, last week became the first Rare Earth producing country on the continent which has already been identified as source of greater development for the landlocked nation.
“There are huge areas of relatively underexplored and unexplored prospective ground which is a definite plus,” an official in Bujumbura said.
Rainbow Rare Earths head Martin Eales told a British publication, Proactiveinvestors, that the company has now raised £2.8 million to procure additional equipment and a new drilling campaign, as well as strengthening the balance sheet during sales ramp-up.
Mr. Eales added the cash injection will fast-track the development of new mining areas at Gakara mining area.
Reports last week indicated that the first shipped rare earth concentrate to Mombasa port for exportation was a high-grade mineral.
“We are delighted with the strong support that we have
received for this fundraising exercise, and we are pleased to welcome a number of new institutional shareholders to the register,” said chief executive Martin Eales.
“2017 has been a transformational year for us as we delivered
on our overarching objective achieving first production and
sales of rare earth concentrate from Gakara within 11 months.
Looking now to 2018, our focus will increasingly include the
development of new areas of mineralisation, and the
identification of future sources of ore to ensure we have a
long-term, sustainable mine producing high grade concentrate from multiple open pit operations.”
He added: “We have already begun this process, reporting
significant exploration upside at Gakara through a recently
completed airborne magnetic survey, and utilising these new
funds, we will be able to implement a drilling campaign on these exciting anomalies in addition to accelerating our productions plans.”
Thousands of locals have attained employment in Gakara mines and thus being able to generate income, cater for families and improve general welfare.
What is Rare Earth(s)
Rare earths” are a group of 17 chemically similar elements crucial to the manufacture of many hi-tech products.
Despite their name, most are abundant in nature but are hazardous to extract. Most “rare earth” elements have uses in several different fields;
This is used to make powerful magnets used in loudspeakers and computer hard drives to enable them to be smaller and more efficient. Magnets containing neodymium are also used in green technologies such as the manufacture of wind turbines and hybrid cars.
This element is used in camera and telescope lenses. Compounds containing lanthanum are used extensively in carbon lighting applications, such as studio lighting and cinema projection.
Used in catalytic converters in cars, enabling them to run at high temperatures and playing a crucial role in the chemical reactions in the converter. Lanthanum and cerium are also used in the process of refining crude oil.
Used in X-ray and MRI scanning systems, and also in television screens. Research is also being done into its possible use in developing more efficient refrigeration systems.
Yttrium, terbium, europium
Important in making televisions and computer screens and other devices that have visual displays as they are used in making materials that give off different colours. Europium is also used in making control rods in nuclear reactors.