Altona Energy (LIVE OFFER)
Fund Raise to Raise up to £500,000
Altona announces that it is looking to raise up to £500,000 at a price of 6.5 pence per share, representing a discount of 32% to the current suspended share price of 9.5 pence. The Company will also issue warrants at 12 pence, with one warrant being issued for every two Altona Ordinary Shares subscribed for. The fund raise is being hosted on NR Private Market, the innovative private investment platform for the mining sector. MORE
Nankoma Rare Earth Project in Uganda
Signing of Heads of Agreement to acquire a 70% interest in the Nankoma Rare Earth Project in Uganda. The project adjoins ASX-listed Ionic Rare Earths Limited Makuutu Project which has a Resource of 78.6 Mt @ 840 ppm Total Rare Earth Oxide. MORE
U.S. Companies Vie for Funds in Race to Build Rare Earths Industry (NYT, 14 Aug 20)
The Trump administration is encouraging development of a domestic industry to produce critical metals now dominated by Chinese companies, but few players show clear long-term promise. MORE.
Battery cell capacity to quadruple by 2030, says Wood Mackenzie
A rapid roll out in so-called battery megafactories across China and Europe will drive a fourfold increase in global lithium-ion cell capacity by 2030 compared to 2019, consultancy Wood Mackenzie said on Tuesday. LINK
Industry needs a rare earths supply chain outside China (FT, Aug 20)
Note that a Financial Times subscription will be required to access this article: LINK
Rare earths outshine gold (Mining Journal, 27 Jul 20)
It took something special to beat gold miners when their metal set an all-time high of US$1,934 an ounce (and climbing) earlier today, but rare earth companies did just that, outperforming goldminers thanks to a fresh round of China v U.S. sabre-rattling. MORE
Overview, Strategy and Rationale
Altona Energy is a mining exploration company focused on the evaluation, development and extraction of Rare Earth Elements “REE”.
The Company was admitted to trading on AIM on 10 March 2005 and was subsequently admitted to Aquis Stock Exchange (Formerly NEX Exchange for Growth Companies) on 1 February 2019.
The Company embarked upon its new strategy focus in early 2020 and in May 2020 it entered into an MoU with a Malawian mining consultancy company, Akatswiri Mineral Resources, for the acquisition of 75% of a REE mining asset in Southern Malawi. In July, Heads of Agreement were signed with Akatswiri with the intention of completing the acquisition once funding is in place. The Exploration Licence (APL 0153) is waiting approval by the Malawi government, which is expected by mid-October.
On 20 September the Company signed Heads of Agreement with Leadway Group, a Ugandan company which owns an Exploration Licence (TN03385) on a tenement in Eastern Uganda, to acquire a 70% interest in the project.
The Company is also currently reviewing a number of other Rare Earth projects in Africa, where one of more is expected to lead to an investment by Altona.
The Rare Earth Rationale
The expansion of the “new energy” sectors and the increases in demand for electric vehicles and wind turbines is driving global demand for REEs, particularly Neodymium and Praseodymium (known as the “NdPr Metals”), as well as other “technology” or “critical” metals which are used in the manufacture of permanent magnets, a key component in green energy manufacturing. It has been widely reported that many companies are looking for alternative REE supplies outside China, which has controlled the supply for the past several years.
Altona is looking to build a multi-asset portfolio of REE mining projects in Eastern and Central Africa. While the East African Rift System has long been known for its endowment in Carbonatite-hosted REE deposits, some of which have been estimated to be among the richest in the world, the presence of Ionic Clay REE deposits has only more recently been shown in the region, making it an ideal target for Altona’s exploration work. Further, by acquiring REE assets of differing geological natures, the Company hopes to spread its risk between low grade / low operating cost ionic-clay type deposits and the high grade and high operating costs carbonatite deposits.
Future Fundraising Strategy
Future funding will be required to pursue two concurrent routes to increasing shareholder value:
- To make multiple new investments in Rare Earth mining projects and
- To move the Company’s stock market listing from Aquis Stock Exchange (formally NEX Growth Market) to the London Stock Exchange (“LSE”).
The key motivations for the latter are to increase liquidity in the shares and to provide access to the high levels of capital the Company will require to bring the new investments to production.
The level of funding that the Company will be seeking will be required as follows:
- To pay the costs of Chambe Project’s Phase 1 and 2 (reassessing historical data and commence drilling new sample bore holes)
- To complete a CPR on Second Project (details of the acquisition to be announced shortly)
- To commence the new stock market listing process (adviser fees and legal costs)
Chambe Basin Rare Earth Project
- A pre-feasibility stage REE mining project focused on production of neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium
- Mineralisation close to surface
- Confirmed ionic clay rare earth mineralisation, similar to Chinese ionic clay heavy rare earth element projects
Substantive work already completed by major partners
- 200 drill holes and additional exploration by Mitsui
- Metallurgical testwork and leaching work
- Resource definition work undertaken
- Mine development and environmental baseline
Project area well supported with infrastructure
- Ready road access
- Nearby power infrastructure and rail
The Company signed its first Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) on 2 June 2020 with a mining exploration consultancy, Akatswiri Mineral Resources, which has applied for the exploration licence (APL 0153) to the Chambe Rare Earth Project in southern Malawi’s Mulanje region, through its subsidiary company, Akatswiri Rare Earths Pvt Ltd (“ARE”).
Chambe is unique in the region as it is an ionic adsorption clay-hosted deposit, similar to the most valuable REE mines in China. Importantly for investors, without the need for the excavation of many thousands of tons of rock, as with the more common alkali-carbonatite based REE deposits, ionic clay deposit benefits include:
- Lower exploration costs
- Lower capital costs
- Lower processing costs
- Shorter times for operational mine development
- Less impactful to the environment
Altona will acquire initially, a 51% stake in ARE, rising to 75% on certain project milestones being met. The nature of the project being as it is, it is expected that this second investment will happen in under two years.
Exploration work has been carried out at Chambe since September 2010, confirming the presence of mineralised Rare Earth Oxide clays bearing appreciable quantities of critical heavy and light REEs, particularly Ytterbium, Dysprosium, Yttrium, Neodymium and Praseodymium.
- REE exploration commenced in 2010 with Japan International Cooperation Agency
- Further sampling by JOGMEC and Geological Survey of Malawi completed in early 2011
- NI 43-101 Report completed in December 2011 by JOGMEC and Canadian listed company
- US$4 million two-phase drilling programme completed by JOGMEC and managed by Mitsui Mining
- Phase I comprised 24 holes and was completed in late 2011
- Phase II drilling was completed in early November 2012 and encompassed drilling of 176 shallow core holes on a staggered 200m grid
- Drilling identified a superficial horizon of rare-earths-bearing kaolinite/halloysite clay ranging from 3m to 26m in thickness.
- Independent analysis of core from these holes indicated that the clay contains comparable levels of total rare earths enrichment to its Chinese counterparts, as well as similar heavy rare earths enrichment
- Metallurgical analyses from these holes and determined high leachability of REE’s and the quality and composition of resulting REE carbonate concentrates
- Resources work and mine planning and development studies were all completed
- JOGMEC work has been requested from Geological Survey of Malawi (May 20)
Local Community Programme – Akatswiri Minerals, as part of its initiative to ensure local stakeholders benefit from the mining project, is already distributing protective face masks and wash buckets at key locations in villages, schools and food markets, to provide protection from the COVID-19 virus.
Board and Management Team
CEO – Christian Taylor-Wilkinson
Christian was appointed Interim CEO on 20 March 2020; previously he represented the Company as a non-Executive Director from January 2019. He has worked with Altona since 2014, as the Financial PR / Investor Relations adviser to the Company, through his agency, Leander PR, which he founded in 2009. Christian is a non-Executive Director of AIM listed coal exploration company, GCM Resources Plc.
His background spans investment banking (as a corporate broker at UBS), before moving into investor relations and financial PR in 2001. He has a broad perspective of the capital markets landscape, as well as a deep understanding into the needs of businesses and their shareholders. LinkedIn
CFO (elect) – Anthony Eastman
Anthony is a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand with a number of years’ experience in financial management and corporate advisory services, primarily in the natural resources sector, along with extensive experience in the public company environment, having been a director and company secretary of a number of ASX and AIM junior mining and oil & gas focused companies.
He has previously worked with Ernst & Young and CalEnergy Gas Ltd, a subsidiary of the Berkshire Hathaway Group of Companies in both Australia and the United Kingdom. LinkedIn
Technical Director (elect) - Hilton Banda
Hilton is Group Chairman of Akatswiri Holdings Limited, the parent company of six other companies namely; Akatswiri Mineral Resources Pvt limited, Akatswiri Rare Earths Pvt Ltd., Akatswiri Logistics, Akatswiri Farms and Properties, Global Geo-exploration Limited and S & A Resources Limited.
Hilton is a holder of Bachelor of Science in geology from University of Malawi 2010, with interest in Oil and Gas. He is a well-regarded geologist who is involved in the resources sector and has been a speaker in several International summits. He has undertaken several international professional training programmes in Australia and China, including Sustainable Mining, Decision Makers on Geothermal Management and Seismology and Earthquake Engineering. He has contributed to a number of mineral exploration projects in Malawi such as basic field survey for hydrocarbons, Rare Earth Minerals, gold and heavy mineral sands, as well as Environmental Impact Assessment projects. LinkedIn
Non-Executive Director – Phillip Sutherland
Phillip joined the Board of Altona Energy in November 2006. He was the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Industry Advocate for the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) from February 2001 until January 2007. SACOME is the peak industry association for companies with business interests in the Resources Industry in South Australia. Prior to his employment with SACOME, Mr Sutherland had extensive executive management experience with local, state and federal government agencies.
Phillip is well known in government, industry and media circles and is a graduate in business management from the South Australian Institute of Technology and the University of South Australia. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a Member of both the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Australian Human Resources Institute. LinkedIn
Consultant Geologist – Cédric Simonet
Cédric Simonet holds a PhD in Geology and has 25 years’ experience exploring, developing and mining mineral deposits in Africa and in France. He was Head Geologist and Open Pit Manager at SOGEREM fluorspar mine (Alcan, France) and Africa Region Manager with IGE Resources AB. He is a co-founder of Akili Minerals Services, a Nairobi based exploration services company, and has been involved in several exploration projects on REE-carbonatites in Kenya including Ruri, Homa Mountain, Buru and Mrima. He is also a former Chairman of the Kenya Chamber of Mines, and well experienced in operating in this and many other African countries.
Cédric is a member of the European Geologists Federation (Eur Geol no 739). He qualifies to act as a Competent Person (JORC) and as a Qualified Person (NI43-101) on REE-carbonatite exploration projects.
Consultant Metallurgist – Gavin Beer
Gavin Beer is a metallurgist with more than 30 years’ experience in technical and operational roles and has spent the past 13 years exclusively working within the rare earth and energy materials sector. He has been employed by or has consulted to over 12 rare earth companies including Arafura Resources, Peak Resources, Hastings Technology Metals and Pensana Metals. He is presently engaged by Neometals in the role of General Manager Metallurgy and has been retained by RareX and Hexagon Resources as a Technical Advisor.
Gavin is a Member and Chartered professional of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy. He is recognised as a Competent Person for JORC and as a Qualified Person for NI 43-101 with respect to his metallurgical expertise and is globally recognised as a leading metallurgical expert in the rare earth industry. LinkedIn