Extensive Ditau drilling puts Kavango on track to capitalise on the Rare Earths revolution (KAV)

The green industrial revolution is well underway. There are more electric vehicles on the roads, renewable energy use is soaring, and governments are adopting stricter environmental policies in the global fight against climate change.

Author Daniel Flynn.

But where the ways in which metals like nickel and lithium are used in sustainable tech are now well established, the equally pivotal role played by rare earth elements remains less well known.

Demand for these 17 chemical elements is soaring thanks to their use in everything from EV batteries to permanent magnets for wind turbines. Furthermore, with this growing use being compounded by concerns around an overreliance on China for supply, the price outlook for rare earth elements looks very healthy indeed.

In fact, one prediction puts the size of the market at $5.5 billion in 2028 up from $2.8 billion in 2021–an impressive compound annual growth rate of 10%.

Whatever way you look at it, there’s a strong case to be made for getting exposure to this sector today. And with drilling at its own prospective rare earth element project Ditau now underway, Kavango Resources could offer a timely opportunity to do just that.

Moving forward

To recap, Kavango is the operator of Ditau, and holds a 50% stake in the Botswana-based project as part of a joint venture with Power Metal Resources.

So far, the firm has been able to identify 12 prospective ring-shaped targets at the project. And of these, an impressive nine are thought to be (or at least play host to) carbonatites­–a type of rock structure responsible for the majority of the world’s rare earth elements.

Globally, the biggest of these projects tend to arise when carbonatites occur in “swarms” or clusters oriented along favourable and clearly defined geological trends. This is the case at very large rare earth deposits located outside of Africa such as the Jacupiranga project in Brazil and the Kovdor deposit in Russia. But it also the case for those relatively close to Ditau, such as the Phalaborwa deposit in South Africa.

Encouragingly for Kavango, the signs so far are suggesting that Ditau could boast a similar level of prospectivity–not just for rare earth elements but also base and precious metals.

This potential was first hinted at back in the 1970s, when an explorer discovered a small cluster of carbonatites to the immediate north and along strike of Ditau. However, for whatever reason, these findings were never followed up.

Fast forward to today, and Kavango is picking up where this explorer left off with the benefit of modern exploration and drilling technology.

Indeed, its work has already suggested that Ditau’s ring structures occur along a regional corridor that, in turn, sits along the southeast edge of a trend hosting two groups of kimberlites. Critically, according to the company, this trend lies parallel to similar corridors in Botswana and NW Angola that contain both kimberlites and significant carbonatite intrusives.

Moving on, and modern gravity surveying by Kavango has also suggested that a Ditau target called i10 includes a dense underlying body causing a high positive gravity anomaly. With this anomaly being coincident with an existing magnetic anomaly, it is the pair’s belief that this target could be prospective for carbonatite.

Finally, Kavango’s work has also indicated that the larger geophysical targets at Ditau have a more complicated signature. The company believes that this could be due to the presence of magmatic layered intrusive bodies, which–importantly–often host significant quantities of base and precious metals.

Additional weight is added to this particular observation by the fact that Ditau lies on the margins of the Molopo Farms project–already known to host nickel mineralisation in ultramafic rocks. In short, Kavango believes it is possible that this mineralisation could cross the border on to their own project.

Proof of concept

For now, these early signs of large-scale mineralisation at Ditau are highly encouraging. However, as readers will be well aware, it’s only by putting holes into the ground that Kavango can begin to define Ditau’s true potential.

It is particularly opportune, then, that the company just this week revealed that it is now kicking off the project’s biggest-ever diamond drilling campaign.

Specifically, Kavango will drill up to two holes to a depth of up to 400m at each of its three highest-priority Ditau targets:

-“i10”, a discrete circular anomaly with a 2.2km diameter;

-“i8”, a slightly larger ring like target with a 4km diameter; and

-“i1”, a target that is thought to possibly represent a large 7km x 18.5km magmatic intrusive complex containing potential carbonatite intrusives.

The firm said its primary target will be rare earth element mineralisation, while its secondary target will be nickel, copper, and platinum group elements. Likewise, it added that its drill programme has been designed to be flexible to allow for possible revisions as it progresses.

But, minor details aside, the bottom line is that Ditau is approaching an inflexion point, where imminent drilling success has the potential to increase the project’s value in the eyes of third parties considerably. As Kavango’s chief executive Ben Turney put it himself:

Drill testing the ring structure targets should be relatively straightforward. While the geophysical signatures are complex and varied, confirming the presence of carbonatite/mafic bodies would be the first step towards defining the potential for REE and base/precious metal mineralisation.”

With this in mind–along with the fact that demand for rare earth elements is only likely to continue soaring–getting exposure to Ditau through an investment in Kavango before these results are released could prove to be an excellent ground floor opportunity.

Author Daniel Flynn.

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