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Reefton Mining moves ahead in Namibia

WHEN Namibia reopened its doors for minerals exploration and development in 1999, Reefton Mining was on the threshold, with an order for some of the historically renowned diamond country along the Skeleton Coast.

But the company has acquired much more than that and, after gaining regulatory approvals, boosting funds and carrying out initial assessments, is ready for activity which it hopes will transform the company within a matter of months.

Reefton’s diamond-rich coastal and inland fossil beach prospects also contain heavy minerals (ilmenite, rutile and zircon), and laboratory results due next month are expected to influence company plans for these tenements.

The company has an additional seven prospecting licences over 7000 square kilometres and an option for a 430-hectare mining lease within 12 months.

The leases in the Erongo-Sandamap region contain tantalite, gold, copper and other base metals, and Reefton is more than excited about recent tantalite assessments.

One five-kilometre pegmatite belt is in an area that has produced tin and tantalite since the early 1900s, but Reefton looks to be the first to mine exclusively for tantalite.

Recent bulk random and continuous rock sampling has revealed high-grade areas with concentrations of tantalum pentoxide as high as 755 grams per tonne.

High demand for tantalite, used in mobile phones and a range of electrical equipment, has boosted the spot price to $US300 per pound.

Reefton technical director Garry Hemming says the company will not need to rely on volatile spot markets, however, as end-users in US, Canada and Europe have assured Reefton they are keen for stable, long-term supply.

In the next six months the com-pany will advance plans to mine three diamond tenements, which produced 2766 carats before the land was locked up by successive administrations and governments.

Angola has flooded the world market with quality stones in recent times, contributing to what has been described as a “flat” period, but this has not deterred Reefton.

Namibian diamonds are rounded, of high gem quality and 57 per cent white goods, and with individual stones up to 3.75 carats on its territory, Reefton does not anticipate any difficulty in marketing its produce.

“Namibian diamonds are highly sought after – they’re the world’s most desirable diamonds. There’s no issue about selling them, ever,” Mr Hemming says.

Reefton managing director Vladimir Nikolaenko says the company has attracted broker interest in Namibia, a former German colony, and plans to travel to Germany in September before seeking dual listing.

While Namibia will for some time remain a land of extremes in both culture and landscape, Reefton is no doubt hoping the contrast between its excitement at its tenements there and lack of investor interest at home will subside in subsequent months.

“We’re fine with money, expertise and personnel to go ahead,” Mr Hemming said.

Reefton’s stock has traded between 4.5 and 11.5 cents in the past year.

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