Songwe Hill Project

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Mine TypeOpen Pit
  • REE
Mine Life18 years (as of Jan 1, 2022)


Mkango Resources Ltd. 100 % Indirect
Nov. 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) - Mkango Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has received final approval from the TSX Venture Exchange in respect of the transaction announced on 5 August 2021 whereby Mkango has acquired the 49% interest of Talaxis Limited in Lancaster Exploration Limited, which owns the Songwe Hill Rare Earths Project in Malawi. As a result of the Acquisition, Mkango owns 100% of the shares of Lancaster.



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Deposit type

  • Carbonatite hosted
  • Intrusion related
  • Hydrothermal


The target deposit type at Songwe Hill is a high-level, REE-enriched carbonatite intrusive complex. Carbonatites are traditionally defined as intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks that contain in excess of 50 % modal carbonate minerals (Woolley and Kempe, 1989). Mitchell (2005) defines carbonatites as “containing greater than an arbitrary 30 % by volume of primary igneous carbonate regardless of silica content”. Carbonatites can be named according to their carbonate mineralogy (e.g. calcite carbonatite, dolomite carbonatite and ankerite carbonatite), and chemically they can be divided into the three main varieties: calcio-, magnesio- and ferro-carbonatite.

Carbonatites usually occur as plugs or pipe-like bodies within zoned alkalic intrusive complexes, or as dykes, sills, breccias, and veins, and are almost exclusively associated with continental rift-related tectonic settings. They are characterised by an aureole of metasomatically altered country rocks which are usually referred to as fenites. Carbonatite magmas are typically low-viscosity and volatile-rich, and when intruded at a high crustal level, produce widespread intrusion- and explosion-breccias incorporating country rocks, carbonatites and associated fenites. Carbonatites are typically associated with silicate rocks of which the seven key carbonatite-silicate rock associations are, in decreasing order of abundance, 1) nephelinite-ijolite, 2) phonolite-feldspathoidal syenite, 3) trachyte-syenite, 4) melilitite-melilitolite, 5) lamprophyre, 6) kimberlite, and 7) basanite-alkali gabbro (Woolley & Kjarsgaard, 2008). The carbonatite deposit at Songwe Hill is spatially associated with the large nepheline syenite intrusion of Mauze, and the Songwe Hill carbonatite is intimately associated with intrusive phonolites and their fenitised equivalents. It is therefore interpreted to belong to the phonolite-feldspathoidal syenite association.

Mineralisation in the Songwe Hill complex occurs in all three geological domains, but the highest grades and most consistent mineralisation are found in the carbonatites. The mixed lithologies locally carry a high enough grade over significant widths to be included in the Mineral Resource but are not consistently mineralised throughout their full extent. Fenites only locally contain economically interesting concentrations of REE, and seldom over economic widths.

Mineralogical studies carried out on Songwe Hill samples were reported in detail by The MSA Group (2015) and are summarised here, supplemented by recently published data. Mineralogical studies using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), electron microprobe (EMP) and laser ablation, inductively coupled plasma, mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) showed that the REE mineral assemblage at Songwe Hill, regardless of lithology, is dominated by fluorocarbonates, principally synchysite with minor parisite, apatite and occasional florencite. The synchysite crystals are homogeneous, typically occurring as randomly oriented laths or tabular crystals and/or fibro-radial to plumose aggregates. Crystal size varies, but laths typically range in length from 10 µm to 60 µm, and crystal aggregates can reach up to 400 µm.

Synchysite is invariably associated with strontianite and/or baryte either as inclusions and/or intergrowths, and together they form distinctive vein-like aggregates or segregations. In addition to these two phases, synchysite is locally associated with calcite, fluorite, alkali (K) feldspar, pyrochlore and titanite. The mineral association of synchysite with strontianite and baryte in the Songwe Hill carbonatites and their textural relationships was described by Broom-Fendley et al. (2017) and interpreted on the basis of paragenesis with various states of apatite as representing hydrothermal redistribution of the REE during early hydrothermal activity at 250 °C to 300 °C.

Fluorapatite in the Songwe Hill carbonatites has a complex history and paragenesis. Broom-Fendley et al. (2017) showed that there are five recognisable stages of apatite crystallisation: two early stages representative of crystallisation from a carbonatite magma, and three stages that are texturally atypical of magmatic apatite and progressively enriched in the heavy rare earth oxides (HREO). The HREO enrichment factor of Songwe Hill apatite, defined here as the sum of all HREO from Eu2O3 to Lu2O3 and Y2O3/TREO, ranges from 40 % to 85 % compared to 2 % to 11 % in apatite from other carbonatites (Hornig-Kjarsgaard, 1998). It is rare for apatite in carbonatite deposits to display heavy rare earth enrichment.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills


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CommodityProductUnitsAvg. AnnualLOM
REE Carbonate t 8,425151,644
Total Rare Earth Oxides Concentrate kt 741,341
Total Rare Earth Oxides REO in carbonate kt 4.681
Total Rare Earth Oxides Oxide in concentrate kt 156

Operational metrics

Annual ore mining rate 0000
Annual milling capacity 0000000
Stripping / waste ratio 000
Waste tonnes, LOM 00000000
Ore tonnes mined, LOM 00000000
Total tonnes mined, LOM 00000000
Tonnes milled, LOM 00000000
* According to 2022 study.

Production Costs

Cash costs Total Rare Earth Oxides USD 000
* According to 2022 study / presentation.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
Initial CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Sustaining CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Closure costs $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Total CapEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
OP OpEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Processing OpEx $M USD 2,000
Transportation (haulage) costs $M USD 59.2
G&A costs $M USD 99.6
Total OpEx $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Royalty payments $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Gross revenue (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
Net revenue (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
EBITDA (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax Cash Flow (LOM) $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax NPV @ 10% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax NPV @ 8% $M USD  ......  Subscribe
After-tax payback period, years  ......  Subscribe

Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

Source Source
Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Dec 21, 2023
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....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jul 1, 2022
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jul 1, 2022

Total WorkforceYear
Subscription required 2022


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