|November 11, 2011
Rare earth reserves in Sofala announced
The Australian company Southern Cross Resources said that its concession in Xiluvo, in central Mozambique, possesses reserves of 1.1 million tonnes of rare earth elements. In a statement filed with the Australian Stock Exchange, Southern Cross also said that 220 drill holes were made 50 metres apart from each other and samples were analysed by the Intertek Genalysis company in the Australian city of Perth.
Southern Cross said that one of the benefits of this concession was the balance of both light and heavy rare earth elements, namely neodymium, europium, ytterbium, dysprosium and yttrium. The company added that it will now begin a series of metallurgical tests to identify the best process to concentrate the rare earth elements at the concession. The Xiluvo concession includes part of Mount Xiluvo in Sofala province, about 110 kilometres west of the port of Beira.
The rare earths are a set of 17 elements in the periodic table. Despite their name, most of them are not particularly rare, but they are difficult to mine since they tend to be dispersed rather than existing in concentrated deposits. All the rare earths named in the Southern Cross statement can be used in various types of lasers. Neodymium is also used in ceramic capacitators, and can give violet colours in glass and ceramics. Europium is used in mercury-vapour lamps, while ytterbium is a chemical reducing agent. Yttrium can be used in high temperature super-conductors.