Etruscan significantly expands area of rare earth potential in Namibia

    HALIFAX, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - Etruscan Resources Inc. (EET.TSX) announced that
it has significantly expanded the area of rare earth element enriched
carbonatite dykes associated with an alkaline intrusive complex on its Lofdal
permit in northern Namibia. A surface area of some 25 square kilometers has
now been mapped and sampled and includes a large, previously unmapped,
carbonatite plug located in the southwest. Since the initial results from the
first 242 samples were announced on October 24, 2008 (see Company press
release), an additional 1,184 outcrop samples have been analysed and indicate
that rare earth elements ("REEs") occur at Lofdal in sufficient total
concentrations (0.5% to 8.9%) to be of potential economic significance . Rare
earth elements constitute a group of 16 elements and industry standards are to
report rare earth deposit grades as the sum of the total concentration of both
the light rare earth elements ("LREEs") and heavy rare earth elements
("HREEs") plus yttrium which is typically an important accessory ("TREE+Y").
    Don Burton, Vice President Corporate Development and Chief Operating
Officer stated:

    "These additional surface samples from Lofdal have doubled the size of
    area in which an economic rare earth deposit could be found. Based on
    airborne geophysical data the target area is roughly 150 km2 so we
    still have a lot of ground to cover. We are essentially prospecting at
    this stage, however, the dykes which outcrop at surface provide
    consistent indications that we have significant concentrations of both
    light and heavy rare earth elements. We have also confirmed that the
    second carbonatite intrusion in the southwest previously referenced in
    our October 2008 press release is roughly 300-400 meters in diameter at
    surface and enriched in rare earths. The potential for an economic
    deposit with heavy rare earth elements is especially encouraging."

    Lofdal Geology and Mineralization

    A total of 1,426 selected grab samples of the dykes have now been
submitted for analysis and the average grade of all dyke samples taken to date
is 0.7% total rare earth elements plus yttrium ("TREE+Y"). Of the 1,426
samples taken to date, 602 were at or above the grade of 0.5% and had an
average grade of 1.3% TREE+Y and 292 were at or above the grade of 1% with an
average grade of 2.0% TREE+Y. The highest individual sample graded 8.9% TREE+Y
and the highest heavy rare earth (HREE) enriched sample graded 1.5% HREE.
Average grade of the 218 samples to date, collected from the new carbonatite
intrusion (tentatively named the Emanya carbonatite) is 0.6% TREE+Y.
    Carbonatite bodies at Lofdal occur as dykes and intrusions together with
syenite and nepheline syenite bodies which constitute an alkaline intrusive
complex that has intruded highly metamorphosed gneisses and schists of the
Huab Basement Complex. Detailed field mapping has demonstrated that more
carbonatite bodies exist than were previously mapped and in some instances
previously mapped syenite intrusions are in part actually carbonatite plugs of
considerable dimension. Individual dykes have been mapped over strike lengths
of up to 1.3 kilometers and likely continue for up to 5 kilometers in strike.
Dyke thicknesses are highly variable, from less than 0.5 meters up to 8
meters. Reconnaissance drilling from six reverse circulation holes at two
locations has confirmed the dykes pinch and swell but can continue to depths
of at least 100 vertical meters.

    Exploration Potential at Lofdal

    Etruscan's initial interest in this part of Namibia was exploration for
iron oxide copper gold ("IOCG") deposits and it was believed that the rare
earth occurrence at Lofdal might be associated with IOCG-type mineralization.
However, the results from the on-going systematic prospecting program suggest
that the potential exists to discover a stand-alone rare earth deposit of
economic significance.
    Rare earth deposits are commonly associated with anomalous concentrations
of uranium or thorium and the REE-enriched dykes at Lofdal are characterized
by anomalous concentrations of thorium. Airborne radiometric geophysical
surveys are therefore a highly effective exploration tool. Wide spaced (1
kilometer) airborne data is available from the Ministry of Mines and Energy
which provides a general regional picture and clearly shows a large response
over the Lofdal area. The airborne radiometric anomaly at Lofdal that is
associated with the REE dykes and alkaline complex covers a surface area of
approximately 150 km2. Mapping and sampling to date has only covered a surface
area of approximately 25 km2.

    Valuation of Rare Earth Elements

    The grade alone does not provide sufficient information upon which to
determine the economic value of REEs. One must also know the exact mix and
concentrations of elements that occur in the deposit. A rare earth deposit can
therefore comprise a highly variable mix of these 16 elements and the economic
value of the deposit will be determined by the respective concentrations and
current market pricing of each element.
    Rare earth elements are subdivided into light rare earths ("LREEs") and
heavy rare earths ("HREEs"). LREEs comprise the lighter atomic number elements
lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium and samarium whereas
the HREEs comprise europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium,
thulium, ytterbium and lutetium. LREEs and yttrium fetch moderate prices in
the range of $4 - $30 per kilogram whereas HREEs command much higher prices in
the range of $100-$800 per kilogram with thulium and lutetium selling between
$2000-$3500 per kilogram. Rare earth deposits that contain relatively high
abundances of HREEs can therefore be very valuable at lower grades. The REE
carbonatite dykes at Lofdal are enriched in HREEs.

    For comparative purposes the following tabulation presents the relative
proportion of REEs in the 1,426 Lofdal samples versus known rare earth

        Rare Earth Element Distribution of Lofdal Dykes Compared to Some
                          Major Rare Earth Deposits

                (percent distribution calculated from oxides)
                                          Emanya            Moun-
                                 Lofdal   Carbo-   Mt.      tain     Hoidas
                                 Dykes    natite   Weld     Pass     Lake
           Element       Atomic (1)      (2)      (3)      (4)      (5)
                         Symbol   (%)      (%)      (%)      (%)      (%)
           Lanthanum     La      25.9     28.8     21.9     33.0     19.8
           Cerium        Ce      40.9     43.9     46.4     49.0     45.8
    LREE   Praseodymium  Pr       3.9      4.3      4.9      4.0      5.8
           Neodymium     Nd      12.0     13.4     17.3     13.0     21.9
           Samarium      Sm       1.8      1.6      2.5      0.5      2.9
           Europium      Eu       0.6      0.4      0.6      0.1      0.6
           Gadolinium    Gd       2.1      1.6      1.7      0.2      1.3
           Terbium       Tb       0.3      0.2      0.2    Insig      0.1
           Dysprosium    Dy       1.6      0.7      0.9    Insig      0.4
    HREE   Holmium       Ho       0.3      0.1      0.1    Insig    Insig
           Erbium        Er       0.9      0.4      0.3    Insig      0.2
           Thulium       Tm       0.1      0.1      0.1    Insig    Insig
           Ytterbium     Yb       0.7      0.4    Insig    Insig    Insig
           Lutetium      Lu       0.1      0.1      0.0    Insig    Insig
           Yttrium       Y        9.0      4.1      3.1    Insig      1.3
           Total %              100.0    100.0     99.9     99.8     99.9

    (1) Etruscan Resources 1,208 samples of carbonatite dyke
    (2) Etruscan Resources 218 samples of the new carbonatite intrusion
    (3) Lynas Corporation Website
    (4) Molycorp Website
    (5) Great Western Minerals Website

    Uses and Occurrence of Rare Earth Elements

    Rare earth elements are specialized commodities and some background
information is necessary to appreciate the significance and potential of this
development for Etruscan in Namibia.
    Rare earth elements are used for a number of specialized "green" or high
technology applications including "super" magnets for electric motors and
rechargeable batteries in hybrid cars, automotive catalysts, mobile phones and
video display screens. The rare earth commodity market is controlled and
dominated by China which produces over 95% of the world supply. China has
recently imposed export quotas and tariffs on rare earth elements. With the
single exception of the Mountain Pass operation in the United States, there
are no primary rare earth deposits in production outside of China. Only a
handful of rare earth deposits are being considered for development and the
reader is encouraged to visit the websites of the following companies which
provide excellent background information on rare earth deposits and
applications in general: Mt. Weld (Lynas Corporation) and Nolans Bore (Arafura
Resources) in Australia, Thor Lake (Avalon Ventures) and Hoidas Lake (Great
Western Minerals Group) in Canada, and Mountain Pass (formerly held by
Chevron/Molycorp) and Bear Lodge (Rare Element Resources) in the United
    Rare earth elements are actually widely distributed in rocks, however,
unlike base and precious metals they are rarely found in sufficient
concentrations that would constitute an economic mineral deposit. In addition
to the 15 REEs (also referred to as lanthanides), the element yttrium is also
commonly associated and reported with REE deposits (Table 1). Deposit grades
are typically reported as percentages of total rare earths ("TREE"), or total
rare earth oxides (TREO") plus or minus yttrium.
    Rare earth and yttrium analyses was performed by ALS Chemex, Vancouver,
Canada using lithium borate fusion with an acid dissolution with an ICP-MS
finish. K. Kirk Woodman P.Geo., Etruscan's Chief Project Geologist, is the
Qualified Person overseeing Etruscan's exploration programs in West Africa and
Namibia and has reviewed and approved this press release.

    About Etruscan Resources Inc.

    Etruscan Resources Inc. is a gold focused Canadian junior mining company
with dominant land positions in district scale gold belts covering more than
13,000 square kilometers in West Africa. Its principal mine development
projects include the Youga Gold Project in Burkina Faso (latest press release
dated December 4, 2008), the Agbaou Gold Project in Côte d'Ivoire (latest
press release dated December 18, 2008), and the Finkolo Gold Project in Mali
(latest press release dated July 2, 2008). Advanced and early stage
exploration projects are on-going in Burkina Faso, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana
(see press release dated June 10, 2008) and Namibia (see press release dated
October 24, 2008). See press release dated May 6, 2008 for a comprehensive
update of explorations projects. Etruscan also has a 52.1% interest in
Etruscan Diamonds Limited which has a dominant land position in the
Ventersdorp Diamond District located in South Africa. (latest press release
dated December 12, 2008). The common shares of Etruscan are traded on the TSX
Exchange under the symbol "EET". More extensive information on Etruscan can be
found on its home page at

    This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements which
involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may
cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be
materially different from any future results, performance or achievements
expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking
statements may include statements regarding exploration results and budgets,
mineral reserve and resource estimates, work programs, capital expenditures,
mine operating costs, production targets and timetables, future commercial
production, strategic plans, market price of precious metals or other
statements that are not statements of fact. Although the Company believes the
expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it
can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct.
Various factors that may affect future results include, but are not limited
to: fluctuations in market prices of precious metals; foreign currency
exchange fluctuations; risks relating to mining exploration and development
including reserve estimation and costs and timing of commercial production;
requirements for additional financing; political and regulatory risks, and
other risks and uncertainties described in the Company's annual information
form filed with the Canadian Securities regulators on SEDAR (
Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking

                                 THIS RELEASE

For further information:

For further information: Richard Gordon, Investor Relations, (877)
465-3674, Fax (902) 832-6702,

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