African Consolidated Resources has made a joint-venture agreement with Rare Earth International (REI) to explore its recently acquired Nkombwa Hill project in Zambia.

The 720km2 exploration project in north-eastern Zambia is expected to contain a large potential phosphate resource as well as light rare-earth elements.

Demand is high in Africa for phosphate, especially after China restricted its export of rare earth elements which are used in hybrid cars, super alloys, mobile phones, wind turbines missiles and more.

China has restricted most of the mining of these elements to its state-controlled mining companies.

Under the terms of contract, REI will fund the initial development of the project and acquire a 75% interest in the project should African Consolidated decline the co-funding option.

ACR has already started an in-house programme to deal with the mine and will subsequently carry out extensive mapping and geochemical sampling programmes.