Gakara, which operated for 30 years until 1978, holds some high-grade rare earth elements, including lanthanum, cerium and neodymium, which are expected to become essential for the manufacturing of batteries, magnets and electric vehicles.
It is also a very cheap project — with only $2.23 million of required capital expenditure and low production costs.
The country’s President Pierre Nkurunziza and the Minister for Mines and Energy, Come Manirakiza, attended the opening ceremony, Rainbow Rare Earths said.
“The Gakara Project is currently the most advanced mining development project in Burundi and Rainbow was pleased to welcome so many honoured guests to our ceremony today,” chief executive Martin Eales said.
He said the company’s timing was just right as prices for rare earths have strengthened significantly in the period since Rainbow’s initial public offering.
During an initial two-year trial phase Gakara is expected to generate around 3,900 tonnes of concentrate before ramping up to 5,000 tonnes per year.