A statement from Globe on Monday said that its rock-chip and soil sampling programme at Mount Muambe, in Moatize district, had found at least five zones of significant rare earth mineralization. These included light rare earth oxide enriched fenite and carbonatite and heavy rare earth oxide enriched fenite and enriched agglomerate.
Rare earths are seventeen elements in the periodic table (scandium, yttrium and fifteen metals known collectively as lanthanides). The most significant minerals identified at Mount Muambe are heavy rare earths – which are elements 63-71 in the periodic table (from europium to lutetium).
These elements have similar chemical properties, and are used in lasers, fluorescent lamps, magnets and x-ray machines. Yttrium is also used in high-temperature superconductors.
Carbonatites are igneous rocks that sometimes contain concentrations of rare earth elements. Fenites are silicate-rich rocks, sometimes associated with carbonatite complexes.
“The orientation program has revealed an exciting, large, diverse and complex rare earth and fluorite mineralised system,” the company statement said. “The south-eastern half of the complex has seen virtually no work to date. The company therefore considers it highly likely that further significant zones of rare earth and fluorite mineralisation will be discovered and defined as the exploration programmes progress.”
Fears have been expressed, particularly in the United States, of a looming shortage of rare earths. Currently, China controls 97 per cent of rare earth supplies and the US has accused the Chinese authorities of limiting exports.
Chinese concerns are also interested in the Mozambique rare earth finds. Last month, a Chinese state-owned company, the East China Minerals Exploration and Development Bureau became the largest shareholder in Globe when it purchased a 53.7 per cent stake.
The Monday announcement boosted Globe’s share price on the Australian Stock Exchange by 8.16 per cent, bring the share price to 26.5 Australian cents.