With battery and electric vehicle technology quickly becoming the global standard for transportation, Africa’s rare earth metals are in hot demand. Projects like the Gakara mine Burundi in are becoming star attractions, putting mineral producing countries on the map.
Gakara is one of the world’s richest rare earth deposits. According to research from operator Rainbow Rare Earths, alongside MSA Group, the map’s exploration potential is up to 80,000 tons of mineralised material with gradings between 47-67% REO. That’s many time’s higher than industry norms.
What’s more, Gakara, which has been producing for just over two years, has been relatively cheap for high ROI. Total capex at the site is estimated at around $10m. Given the demand for rare earth metals for magnets, EV components, smartphones, and more, it’s a highly lucrative development – and one that highlights why investors find Africa profitable.
As of 2019, an expansion regime is coming to Gakara. Rainbow plans on boosting production by spreading operations over multiple deposits at the Gakara site. Additionally, it is looking at improving downstream separation capability to capture more mineral content. To do so, Rainbow has launched a joint venture with TechMet to develop this capability further.