• Deep value

    Deep value

    Located in South Africa’s Western Cape province, the Steenkampskraal mine is believed to hold the highest grade of rare earth elements worldwide, at 14.4%. In some areas, the grade is as high as 45% – considerably higher than the average in-situ grade of 1% to 3% that most rare earth deposits around the world contain.

    According to a Mining Review Africa report by Steenkampskraal Holdings chairman Trevor Blench, the mine has a mineral resource of approximately 605 000 tons, and includes the full spectrum of rare earths. Among these is high-value neodymium, which used in the manufacture of magnets, computers and hard drives.

    ‘The cost of the mine’s production is estimated at US$9.64 per kilo of separated rare earths. Gross profit is estimated at US$6.20 per kilo,’ says Blench. ‘With these prices and volumes, the company would have a total sales value of US$43 million per year, total costs of about US$26 million a year and a gross profit of around US$17 million.’

    29 August 2017
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images