Epangelo in search of rare earth elements
State mining outfit, Epangelo recently submitted an environmental impact assessment application for a feasibility study to determine the presence of amongst others; base and industrial metals, precious stones, and the very elusive rare earth metals.
The search for the minerals will be conducted solely by Epangelo Mining. Rare earth minerals were discovered in Namibia in 2008.
Speaking to the Economist earlier in the week, Managing Director of Epangelo Mining, Eliphas Hawala briefly touched on the matter, stating that Epangelo was on the search for the minerals and could not give an indication of when the study was anticipated to be completed and listed a variety of factors that would guide the time-frame of the exploratory project.
Epangelo had towards the end of July submitted an application to carry out exploration work on Exclusive Prospecting Licences 4817, 4818, and 4833. Exploration licenses 4817, and 4818 were issued in 2011 and will expire towards the end of the year.
However Epangelo is the only mining outfit that will be able to explore for rare earth minerals, following a 2011 cabinet decision that effectively barred all non state enterprises from exploring for what are deemed strategic minerals. Diamonds, uranium, copper, gold, and coal. Current exploration work that covers the search for strategic minerals can however still be conducted as was announced by Minister of Mines and Energy, Hon. Isak Katali. The exploration work will be carried out in the Erongo Region, with the vast majority to be carried out on commercial farms. Exclusive prospecting license 4817, and 4833 cover approximately 120,000 hectares while exclusive prospecting license 4818 covers approximately 60,000 hectares. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism will is expected to make a final decision in September which will determine whether Epangelo will be able to go in search of what could be yet another discovery of rare earth minerals in Namibia.