The objectives of this research project are to improve the geological, mineralogical and geochemical understanding of the Lueshe and Bingo pyrochlore deposits, and to develop exploration and exploitation concepts for similar occurrences. As a sideline, the potential of accompanying phosphate minerals as raw materials for local fertilizer production will be examined.
The European Community is a major consumer of niobium, but no niobium ores are being mined within the community. GfE is producing pyrochlore from an area in Zaire which has sufficient reserves to cover the Community's needs but geological and metallurgical research is needed to enable a more efficient exploitation.
In recent years approximately 6000 drill samples have been taken in the lateritic ore body at Lueshe, which has enabled the distinction of 6 ore types. To investigate the distribution of pyrochlore within the weathering profile, 500 samples will be processed, representing all the major ore types. At Lueshe, size fractions will be separated at different magnetic susceptibilities by a Frantz isodynamic or a wet high density magnetic separator. Using heavy liquids, pyrochlore will be isolated from the nonmagnetic fractions. Chemical analysis by X-ray fluorescence (XRF) will be carried out at Lueshe and will give valuable information on the concentration and distribution of the pyrochlore. From this material, 100 samples will be selected as representative of the whole Lueshe deposit on which further detailed mineralogical and chemical work will be concentrated.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
SW7 5BD London