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Lotus Resources Ltd (ASX:LOT) (OTCMKTS:LTSRF) is set to begin a reverse circulation (RC) drilling program of around 5,000 metres within days at the Kayelekera Uranium Project in Malawi.

This will be the first uranium exploration drilling program at the project in more than 15 years with the company planning to test a number of airborne radiometric anomalies within 3 kilometres of the existing processing facility.

The exploration program is aimed to test these near mine targets with the ultimate objective of increasing the current 14-year mine life.

Project has 14-year mine life

Lotus managing director Keith Bowes said: “As demonstrated in the scoping study, the Kayelekera Project already has a 14-year mine life.

“While exploration success is seen as beneficial in increasing mine life, it is not required for a recommencement of operations.

“Following the uranium exploration drill program, the company will move the drill rig to our rare earth targets at Milenje, for the initial follow up to the positive results that were returned from the reconnaissance trench sampling program completed last year.

“An update on the rare earths projects is expected to be released later this year.”

Regional exploration assessment

The company also has a regional uranium exploration assessment underway that includes a more detailed review of the historical data available on the four most prospective exploration licences together with mapping, radiometric prospecting and sampling.

Its 5,000-metre drilling program will test three of the individual anomalies and a smaller infill drill program on the western edge of the resource outside the current mine plan has been included in the program.

The company has identified five radiometric anomalies in the south of the existing pit, which cover areas of outcrop and have similar signatures to the Kayelekera anomaly.

Lotus is also advancing numerous technical studies, including ore sorting test-work and power assessments.

The initial success of the ore sorting program provided confidence that the grades of any potential resources could be reduced from the original higher grades knowing that ore sorting provides a simple and cost-effective method of increasing grades of the plant feed.

Milenje rare earths discovery

After completing initial uranium exploration program, the company plans to undertake a focused drill program at the Milenje rare earths discovery to gauge the depth profile of the mineralisation.

Before starting this program, additional fieldwork including ground magnetic surveys and modified trenching will be undertaken to help define drill collar locations and drill orientation.

To support the evaluation of the Milenje rare earth potential, samples collected from the drilling and trenching program will be used in a bench-scale metallurgical test-work program.

If results from the uranium drill program are positive, then the opportunity to conduct a Phase 2 uranium drill program will be considered.

This program would look at extending the known mineral resources in the step-out area and undertaking a mineral resource estimate for mineralisation at the satellite pits.