Steenkampskraal Rare Earths Appoints New CEO and Directors As It Gears Up To Bring One Of The Highest-Grade Rare Earths Mines In The World Into Production

February 07 19:40 2023

Steenkampskraal Holdings Limited (SHL) has appointed Mitford Mundell as CEO and Bernard Swanepoel as chairman, both prominent leaders in the South African mining industry.  Clinton Halsey, an experienced Chartered Accountant and Director, has also been appointed as Non-Executive Director.

Steenkampskraal was mined by Anglo American from 1952 to 1963, during which 126,280 tons of ore produced 59,555 tons of monazite concentrate, containing 26,201 tons of rare earths at an average grade of 20.75%.  

Steenkampskraal Monazite Mine, (SMM), one of the world’s highest grade rare earths mines and a subsidiary of SHL, has all the regulatory approvals required to commence mining and to produce monazite concentrate, mixed rare earth concentrate and separated rare earth oxides. 

Swanepoel said: “Steenkampskraal is one of South Africa’s most valuable strategic mining resources. The potential is enormous, and once in production, will place South Africa as one of the alternate sources to China for the supply of the rare earths used in electric motors and green technology, mainly neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium. These rare earths are experiencing significant growth in demand and resultant high prices.”

Steenkampskraal has well-developed infrastructure and NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource of 605 000 tonnes at 14.4% (86 900 tonnes of TREO) and mineral reserve of 799 700 tonnes at 8.68% (69 400 tonnes of TREO),  which are sufficient to operate the mine at a production rate of at least 2 700 tonnes of total rare earth oxides (TREO) per annum for more than 20 years.  The resource is open at depth and a brownfield exploration programme is expected to increase it further.  

Neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, and terbium are vital to combat global warming and climate change.  These four rare earths are used to make magnets for electric vehicles and wind turbines.  The total grade at Steenkampskraal of these four rare earths is 3.49%, which is higher than the total rare earth grades of most other rare earth projects, and represent about 92% of the value of Steenkampskraal’s rare earths basket.

The Steenkampskraal mining and processing project will be developed in three phases: Phase 1: the production and sale of monazite concentrate; Phase 2: the production and sale of mixed rare earth concentrate; and Phase 3: the production and sale of separated rare earth oxides.

SHL is in the process of commissioning a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for Phase 1 of the project.  The DFS will build on all previous work, which includes NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates, detailed mine design, extensive metallurgical test work and process plant design up to Phase 2.  The DFS will incorporate updated capital and operating costs and will reflect the most recent market outlook and product prices. 

Mundell commented: “Steenkampskraal promises significant value for investors,  host communities and other stakeholders, and is a strategic asset for South Africa.  I am delighted to be joined by Bernard and Clinton on the Board and as significant new investors, as they not only bring a wealth of experience, but also a clear message to investors that Steenkampskraal’s time has come.”

Due to the extent and excellent condition of historic mine development, the project has a relatively low capital requirement.  All regulatory approvals are also in place.  SHL plans to raise initial equity finance of US$2million to cover the DFS and updated Competent Persons Report (CPR), as well as working capital for the next six to eight months.  Thereafter the company will raise project capital for execution of Phase 1, at which stage an appropriate debt/equity ratio will be considered.   The combination of very high grades, shallow mining depths and existing underground development will enable Steenkampskraal to be one of the lowest cost rare earth producers in the world.  

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Company Name: Steenkampskraal
Contact Person: Charles Smith
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Address:Fairways office park, Niblick way
City: Somerset West, 7130
State: Western Cape
Country: South Africa