Overview, Strategy and Rationale
Altona Energy is a mining exploration company focused on the evaluation, development and extraction of Rare Earth Elements “REE”. It is pursuing a multi-asset investment strategy in East Africa where some of the richest Carbonatite-hosted REE deposits in the world have been found.
Africa is also unusual by the presence of Ionic Clay REE deposits which have only more recently been discovered in the region, making it an ideal target for Altona’s exploration work, as the Company is looking to invest in both types of deposits.
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.
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” or “Critical Metals” – as well as other “technology” metals which are used in the manufacture of permanent magnets, a key component in green energy manufacturing.
China has long been the major supplier of rare earths to the world, controlling over 90% of production through its many significant ionic clay-based mines. In 2020 it has been widely reported that many countries, particularly the US and those in Europe, are now trying to establish their own “locally grown” supplies to remove this reliance from China.
Africa is believed to be a strong contender, due to its benign political stance and many years’ experience with the mining industry. Hence, the perfect location for Altona’s investments.
Issue of Equity (13 Jan 21)
Altona (AQSE: ANR.PL), a mining exploration company with a focus on Rare Earth Elements (“REE”) mining projects in Africa, announces it has issued a further 642,023 new ordinary shares (“Placing Shares”) at a price of 6.5 pence per share, in relation to the Placing it completed in December 2020. More
EV sales growth is good news for a critical minerals spike (2 Nov 20)
European electric vehicle sales are expected to triple to about 10 per cent of all vehicles this year and could make up as much as 15 per cent of total market vehicle by 2022 according to a new report by green policy think tank Transport & Environment. That’s good news for the critical minerals sector. MORE
Trading Statement to 30 September 2020 (30 Oct 20)
Altona Energy Plc – Trading Statement PR Newswire – LINK
Non-Executive Chairman Appointment (28 Oct 20)
Appointment of highly experienced mining executive, Mr Martin Wood as Non-Executive Chairman. MORE
Interim CEO of Altona Energy speaks to Vox Markets Podcast about REE mining projects in Central and Eastern Africa (1 Oct 20)
Christian Taylor-Wilkinson, Interim Altona CEO joins the Vox Markets Podcast with Justin Waite. MORE
Future Fundraising Strategy
Altona is raising funds at this time for the following purposes:
- To commence Phase 1 exploration on its newly acquired REE projects (Chambe and Nankoma), in order to establish size and concentration of mineral deposits
- To provide capital to pay for London Stock Exchange listing in order to improve liquidity and provide better access to future capital needed for increased development and production
Altona is currently negotiating with the owners of two further REE projects in East Africa and, should the Company be successful in acquiring majority stakes, further exploration work will also be required on these new projects.
Chambe Basin Rare Earth Project
Altona signed Heads of Agreement with Akatswiri Mineral Resources, which has being granted, pending approval, Exploration Licence APL0153 in September to acquire up to 75% of the Chambe Rare Earths Project in Southern Malawi.
As part of the application process, Akatswiri has already received government approvals for its Exploration and Mining plan, Stakeholder and Local Community programme, Environmental and Social Management plan.
- 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
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.
Nankoma Rare Earths Project
Altona signed Heads of Agreement to acquire a 70% interest in Leadway Group, the 100% owner of Exploration Licence TN003385 (“Nankoma”), in Eastern Uganda, on 21 September 2020. Nankoma is a Greenfield exploration project which covers an area of 67.5km2.
The rationale for the acquisition of the Nankoma Rare Earth Project is based, at this time, on the close proximity of the tenement to Australian Stock Exchange (“ASX”) listed Ionic Rare Earth Limited’s (“IonicRE”) REE exploration project, which lies immediately to the north and west of the Nankoma tenement and has a similar geology and geomorphology.
IonicRE reported a Mineral Resource Estimate of 78.6 Mt @ 840 ppm Total Rare Earth Oxide (“TREO”) on its Makuutu Central Zone (tenement RL1693) in June 2020, which it is currently extending to the east, towards Nankoma. Crucially, IonicRE reported high levels of Critical Rare Earth Oxides (“CREO”), at 310 ppm, which include the elements, Neodymium and Praseodymium, two of the REEs which Altona is focused on extracting, due to their demand in many green industries.
Considering that IonicRE’s resource is of the ionic-clay adsorption type deposit, the TREO and CREO figures are highly encouraging, due to the ease of recovery and low-cost nature of this type of deposit. This has provided to the Board of Altona with sufficient confidence to investigate the Nankoma tenement, through a Scout Exploration programme which it will conduct in Q1 2021.
Ugandan Cadastre – Nankoma Licence.
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
Non-Executive Chairman – Martin Wood
Martin is the founder and Managing Director of Vicarage Capital, an FCA registered, full service brokerage house which provides assistance to junior and mid-cap resources companies. Martin established Vicarage Capital in 2003 and has advised many companies on their AIM listings and long-term mining strategies.
Martin was the CEO of ASX listed, Kogi Iron Limited between 2017 and 2019, where he secured a community development agreement with key stakeholders, arranged indicative offers for full bank debt-based project financing, as well as completing various on-going milestones, including a Scoping Study and metallurgical test work, as part of the definitive feasibility study.
Between 1993 and 2003, Martin worked in corporate finance at NM Rothchild & Sons, Standard Bank, London and Benfield Advisory, providing services to resources companies. Martin has an MBA from Exeter University which he gained in 1993.
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
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