Lofdal Heavy Rare Earth Project is located around 25 km northwest of Khorixas town in the Kunene Region of north-western Namibia. (Credit: Geomartin/ Wikipedia)
The two deposits are expected to have a combined life of 16 years. In picture, pure terbium. (Credit: http://images-of-elements.com/ Wikipedia)
The Lofdal rare earth metals project is fully permitted and has a 25-year mining licence. In picture, Dysprosium chips (Credit: Materialscientist at en.wikipedia)

Lofdal Project in Namibia is a significant deposit of the heavy rare earth metals dysprosium and terbium.

The project is being developed by a joint venture of Namibia Critical Metals and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC).

The Lofdal rare earth metals project is fully permitted and has a 25-year mining licence.

In November 2022, Namibia Critical Metals filed the updated NI 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for the expanded ‘Lofdal 2B-4’ project.

The company began resource in-fill drilling in January 2023 as part of works to deliver the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) for Lofdal 2B-4.

Production at Lofdal may begin in 2026. It is expected to produce 2,000 tonnes total rare earth oxide (TREO) per year on an average including 117 tonnes of dysprosium and 17.5 tonnes terbium.

Lofdal location and site details

The Lofdal project is located around 25km northwest of Khorixas town in the Kunene Region of north-western Namibia.

The property is situated within an Exclusive Prospecting Licence (EPL) 3400 and Mining Licence (ML) 200. Both the licences are held by Namibia Rare Earths, a subsidiary of Namibia Critical Metals.

The project is lightly forested and features a gently rolling topography. It has good road access but no significant existing infrastructure except an exploration camp with PV power supply, a network of gravel roads and several water boreholes.


Lofdal is the most advanced project in Namibia Critical Metals’ portfolio.

The property’s 43-101 mineral resource estimate was established in 2012 and it was updated in 2021.

A Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) was completed in 2014 followed by an Environmental Impact Assessment in 2016.

The project secured an Environmental Clearance Certificate from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in 2017.

The mining licence (ML 200) was granted in July 2021. It is valid for a 25-year period through to 10 May 2046.

Meanwhile, in January 2020, Namibia Critical Metals signed an agreement with JOGMEC to jointly explore, develop, exploit, refine and/or distribute mineral products from Lofdal Heavy Rare Earth Project.

Under the agreement, JOGMEC can acquire a 50% interest in the project by investing C$20m in exploration and development.

After the completion of earn-in and feasibility study, it can earn an additional 1% interest in Lofdal for C$5m.

Geology and Mineralisation at Lofdal property

The Lofdal project is underlain by Huab Metamorphic Complex’s Paleoproterozoic metamorphic rocks.

The basement of the metamorphic formation was intruded at ca 750 Ma by alkaline silicate rocks and carbonatites of the Lofdal Carbonatite Complex, which features a central intrusive core defined by several plugs of nepheline syenite and carbonatite with associated diatreme breccias.

The Lofdal Carbonatite Complex’s rare earth element mineralisation occurs across more than 200km2 and is closely associated with the carbonatite dykes and related hydrothermal alteration.

The mineralisation is variable and includes heavy rare earth elements (HREE) and light rare earth elements (LREE), both introduced in separate mineralising events.

Mineral Resource Estimate

In May 2021, Namibia Critical Metals announced an updated NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate for the Lofdal Heavy Rare Earths Project.

The total Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource tonnage increased from 2.88Mt at 0.32% total rare earth oxide (TREO) to 44.76Mt at 0.17% TREO for combined Area 4 and Area 2B deposits based on the cut-off of 0.1% TREO.

Inferred Mineral Resource tonnage stood at 8.67Mt at a grade of 0.17% TREO for combined Area 4 and Area 2B based on 0.1 % TREO cut-off.

Mining method 

The proposed mining method for the Lofdal deposit is conventional open pit mining. The mineralised rock and waste material will be blasted, drilled and loaded by hydraulic shovels and hydraulic excavators into off-highway dump trucks, and then transported to the processing plant.

Both Area 4 and Area 2B deposits are expected to be mined as open pits. The two pits are expected to have a combined mine life of 16 years.

The preferred mining involves the development of a slot in front of the mineralised zone at each level. This will enable mining mineralised material on one side and waste mining on the other side.

The ROM feed to the processing plant is expected to be 2 million tonnes per year.

Key Contractors Involved

A Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) on the Lofdal project was completed by MDM Engineering in October 2014.

Flotation test work for the rare earths project was executed by SGS Canada in Lakefield, Ontario, and at UVR-FIA in Freiberg, Germany, while Günzel Drilling, a Namibian contract drilling company, undertook diamond drilling at the property.

Gecko Exploration was associated with overseeing and managing the drill programme in 2020.

The MSA Group was engaged to prepare the updated Mineral Resource Estimate, effective May 2021.

In September 2021, Namibia Critical Metals started work to develop a starter pit at the Area 4 deposit. The mining activities were awarded to Gecko Mining, and Bulk Mining Explosives (BME) was subcontracted for blasting.