The Steenkampskraal mine has a NI 43-101 compliant Mineral Resource Estimate that confirms the presence of 605,000 tons of ore at an average grade of 14.36% and a total rare earth content of 86,900 tons.
The Steenkampskraal mine is located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is an existing mine that produced and exported a monazite concentrate during the 1950s and 1960s.
The mine has the highest grade of rare earth elements (REE) in the world. It has a Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) of 605,000 tons at an average grade of 14.36% total rare earth oxides (TREO) for a total of 86,900 tons contained TREO including Y2O3. There is the potential to further increase the resource within and beyond the current mining right area. The neodymium grade, on its own, is 2.58% which is higher than the total rare earth grades in most other rare earth deposits. The total quantity of neodymium in the mine is 15,600 tons.
The Mining Right is held by Steenkampskraal Monazite Mine (Pty) Limited, a subsidiary of Steenkampskraal Holdings Ltd. (SHL). The project consists of two separate but integrated activities:
- Mining from an existing underground mine and surface tailings and rock dumps; and
- The production of a mixed rare earth product in plant located at the mine.
The mine was awarded a South African New Order Mining Right (MR) under the MPRDA on 2 June 2010. This allows mining for 20 years until 1 June 2030 and is renewable. The mine also holds Certificate of Registration Number 23 (CoR-23), granted by the South African National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), which allows the company to mine, process, transport and store naturally occurring radioactive material.
Resource and Grade
Steenkampskraal is a high-grade, hard-rock, vein monazite deposit with a resource that has recently been expanded by extensive drilling work, as reported in the mine’s NI 43-101 compliant Mineral Resource Estimate. The underground in-situ average grade is 14.36%. There are also surface tailings stockpiled as a result of previous mining and processing operations with a grade of about 7% TREO and a rock dump with a grade of about 5%.
Mineral Resource Estimate Summary Prepared by Snowden
86,900t contained TREO + Y2O3 at 14.4% TREO + Y2O3.
The Steenkampskraal project currently envisages three activities:
- Drilling, blasting, hauling and hoisting underground ore to the surface.
- The production of monazite concentrate using crushing and sizing, milling, gravity and magnetic separation, flotation and secondary milling.
- The chemical treatment of the monazite concentrate using the caustic crack process.
The result of this beneficiation will be the production of a mixed rare earth carbonate that will be sold for subsequent separation, except for Cerium, which will be separated at the mine and sold separately.
Environmental Management Programme (EMP)
Steenkampskraal Holdings Limited (SHL) prepared an EMP that was approved by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in 2010. This EMP forms an integral part of the Mining Right.
Steenkampskraal Competitive Position
- Steenkampskraal has the highest grade rare earths in the world and therefore will have the lowest mining cost.
- Steenkampskraal is a shallow mine and the average mining depth will be around 100 metres.
- The beneficiation technologies procedures have been tried and tested over many years.
- The mine has well-established transport infrastructure which means that transport of labour and materials to the mine and product from the mine will be cheap.
- Each ton of ore from the Steenkampskraal mine will yield rare earths to the value of approximately US$ 3,200 at present market prices which is far higher than any other rare earth deposit in the world.