Pacific Wildcat finds niobium reserves in Kenya
10 February 2012, 12:13
NAIROBI Feb 10 (Reuters) - Canadian-based minerals
and metals firm Pacific Wildcat Resources said further
drilling at its Kenyan mining project near Mombasa had
established larger reserves of niobium and rare earth than
"As can be seen from the cross sections we have now shown
the high grade niobium mineralisation extends at depths
substantially deeper than the initial inferred niobium resource
which is limited to a depth of 30 metres," Pacific Wildcat
President Darren Townsend said in a statement late on Thursday.
Townsend said the drilling had also established greater
depths of potential rare earth reserves at the Mrima Hill site,
adding the firm had started another round of drilling aimed
exploring the full potential of rare earth and niobium reserves.
"This drilling has the objective of both extending the
current inferred niobium resource and to provide a maiden rare
earth resource in the third quarter of 2012," the company said.
Niobium is mixed with steel to create a strong alloy used in
the construction of pipes for water and sewage systems and
components used in various types of vehicles.
Alloys from niobium and steel are also used in the creation
of welding rods and several stainless steel products used in
homes. Niobium has also become popular in the production of
Rare earths are crucial in making high-tech electronics
products such as highly specialised miniature nuclear batteries,
laser repeaters, super conductors and miniature magnets.
An acute global shortage has triggered a spike in prices and
in exploration in recent years.
China, which accounts for an estimated 97 percent of global
rare earth supplies, has been tightening trade in the strategic
metals, sparking an explosion in prices.
Japan, which accounts for a third of global demand, has been
stung badly, and has been looking to diversify its supply
sources, particularly of heavy rare earths such as dysprosium
used in magnets.
(Editing by Yara Bayoumy)