British mining company Rainbow Rare Earths has reported positive results from its maiden drilling campaign at its Gakara project in Burundi.

Gakara is a rare earth element (REE) mining project, with an estimated in situ vein grade of 47-67% total rare earth oxide (TREO).

According to Rainbow, laboratory results from the Kiyenzi drill cores at the Gakara project have confirmed the presence of multiple intersections of high-grade REE.

“We were anticipating some exciting mineralisation at Kiyenzi, and these laboratory results now confirm it.”

The company declared test highlights of 6.5m at 7.1% TREO and 1m at 27.8% TREO.

The mineralisation identified at the Kiyenzi prospect is said to be contained within a breccia pipe structure, in which REE minerals are scattered amongst non REE-containing rocks.

Although the mineralisation points to lower average grades per tonne, the company noted that the presence of much wider mineralised zones will result in greater tonnages, as well as simpler and faster mining.

Rainbow Rare Earths CEO Martin Eales said: “We were anticipating some exciting mineralisation at Kiyenzi following our original field testing, and these laboratory results now confirm it.

“The thickness of the breccia deposit is likely to add many more tonnes to our code-compliant resource, targeted for this year, and should also be better suited to mechanised mining.

“Phase II drilling starts within the next month at Kiyenzi and we look forward to incorporating these results, as well as other areas within the Gakara project, into our targeted maiden resource later this year with a view of further ramping up our production of REE concentrate in the near-term to achieve our 6,000tpa run rate target by the end of 2019.”

The second phase of the drilling campaign will include around 750m of additional core drilling at Kiyenzi.

By the end of this year, the company aims to scale production to an annualised rate of 5,000t per year.

The company will also undertake further trenching and terracing, as well as mineralogical and metallurgical testing of the breccia material.