21 September 2020
ALTONA ENERGY PLC
(“Altona” or “the Company”)
HEADS OF AGREEMENT
UGANDAN RARE EARTH ELEMENT PROJECT
Altona (AQSE: ANR.PL), a mining exploration company with a focus on Rare Earth Element (“REE”) mining projects in Africa, is pleased to announce it has signed non-binding Heads of Agreement with Leadway Group Ltd to acquire a 70% legal and beneficial interest in a greenfield mining project in Uganda, known as the Nankoma Rare Earth Project (“Nankoma”) (tenement TN03385).
The tenement covers an area of 67.5 km2 and is located approx. 50 km east of Jinja, which lies 130 km east of Kampala in Eastern Uganda.
Should a binding agreement be entered into, Altona will be responsible for 100% of the agreed budgeted costs to complete a Feasibility Study on the establishment of commercial scale REE mining and processing operations at the project site. Altona will also be the manager and operator of the project.
Background and Rationale
As announced in the recent Business Update, the Company is looking to build a multi-asset portfolio of REE mining projects in Eastern and Central Africa. While the East African Rift System has long been known for its endowment in Carbonatite-hosted REE deposits, some of which have been estimated to be among the richest in the world, the presence of Ionic Clay REE deposits has only more recently been shown in the region, making it an ideal target for Altona’s exploration work. Further, by acquiring REE assets of differing geological natures, the Company hopes to spread its risk between low grade / low operating cost ionic-clay type deposits and the high grade and high operating costs carbonatite deposits.
The rationale for the acquisition of the Nankoma Rare Earth Project is based, at this time, on the close proximity of the tenement to Australian Stock Exchange (“ASX”) listed Ionic Rare Earth Limited’s (“IonicRE”) REE exploration project, which lies immediately to the north-west of the Nankoma tenement and has a similar geology and geomorphology.
IonicRE reported a Mineral Resource Estimate of 78.6 Mt @ 840 ppm Total Rare Earth Oxide (“TREO”) on its Makuutu Central Zone (tenement RL1693) in June 2020, which it is currently extending to the east, towards Nankoma. Crucially, IonicRE reported high levels of Critical Rare Earth Oxides (“CREO”), at 310 ppm, which include the elements, Neodymium and Praseodymium, two of the REEs which Altona is focused on extracting, due to their demand in many green industries.
Considering that IonicRE’s resource is of the ionic-clay adsorption type deposit, the TREO and CREO figures are highly encouraging, due to the ease of recovery and low-cost nature of this type of deposit. This has provided to the Board of Altona with sufficient confidence to investigate the Nankoma tenement
Following a successful fund raise by the Company, and then upon completion of the due diligence and signature of the final agreement, Altona will embark on drilling target generation using Uganda’s airborne geophysical survey datasets (survey flown in 2006) as well as Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and multi-spectral satellite imagery, and ground proofing (including preliminary assaying and leach tests). Scout drilling of the targets will involve about 20 PQ3/HQ3 diamond drilling holes as well as first pass metallurgical testing.
The Company, should the final agreement be signed, will pay a total of £725,000 in Altona Ordinary Shares across five tranches, determined by the completion of various milestones, with the expectation that the final tranche of £175,000, will be paid within three years, on the completion of a pre-feasibility study. Shares will be issued at a 10-day average market price at the date of the milestone completion. The first share payment of £25,000, due 21 September 2020, will be paid at the current suspended price of 9.5 pence and provides Altona with a period of exclusivity until 30 November 2020, to complete its legal and technical due diligence on Leadway Group Ltd.
The Companies shares will remain suspended on AQSE until it has successfully raised funds. As mentioned previously, Altona will be seeking to raise money via Minexia’s www.nrprivatemarket.com shortly and a separate announcement will be made to this effect. The Company views the platform’s approach to mining and exploration funding both innovative and disruptive. The Minexia team are looking forward to having Altona as their first REE client.
Cedric Simonet, Consultant Geologist, Altona, commented, “This new deal with Leadway Group for the potential acquisition of the Nankoma project marks the entry of Altona in a nascent Ionic Clay REE play in a stable African jurisdiction with an exciting geology. The envisaged geological model is straight forward and well understood from work done by Ionic RE in the neighboring licences, supporting a short exploration and development timeline.”
Christian Taylor-Wilkinson, Interim CEO of Altona, commented, “We are developing a strategy which we believe will reduce the risk for investors and shareholders, by spreading our interests across different jurisdictions and geological models, whilst keeping the focus on those Rare Earth Elements which are most in demand around the world. It is well documented that industries are looking for alternative sources of REEs outside of China, which has been dominant for the past 20 years. Africa is becoming one such suitable alternative, due to its endowment in REEs, the advanced development stage of its mining sector and commercial infrastructure.”
For further information, please visit www.altonaenergy.com or contact:
Altona Energy plc
Alfred Henry Corporate Finance Ltd (Aquis Corporate Adviser)
Leander (Financial PR)
+44 (0) 7795 168 157
Altona is a mining exploration company focused on the evaluation, development and extraction of Rare Earth Element (REE) metals.
The Company was admitted to trading on AIM on 10 March 2005 and was subsequently admitted to Aquis Stock Exchange (previously NEX) on 1 February 2019. A copy of its Admission documents dated 4 March 2005 can be accessed on its website, www.altonaenergy.com. This website is where items can be inspected under Rule 75 of the Aquis Rules for Issuers, from 1 February 2019.
Information on Minexia and NR Private Market
Minexia is a fin-tech business which has been in development for c.4years and launched its investment platform, NR Private Market in Q1 2019, which allows private investors ('Sophisticated' or 'High Net Worth') to access a pipeline of high quality, pre-screened, advanced exploration and or early stage development mining projects. The platform has successfully closed six deals (total value c. £10M) to date and has secured a dozen platform partners and 6,000+ active platform users.