African Copper is expected to make a major announcement relating to its copper mining project in Dukwi following a meeting of its board on Tuesday last week.
Board members flew into the country last week and sources said they decided that the project had to go to plan, a move that will see the mining sector continuing to be the bedrock of the economy and directly creating hundreds of jobs.
The move came right on the heels of a major announcement last month which stated that the grades for its finds at Thakadu project are of the same quality as those mined at Zambia’s Copper Belt.
“Drilling at the Thakadu Project has shown the presence of a strataform, strata bound disseminated copper deposit within Proterozoic-folded metasediments of the Matsitama Belt. This mineralization is similar to that found and mined within the Zambian Copper Belt,” the company said last month.
The findings were based on seven holes drilled to check historic information and describe over 2000 metres of strike extent. It said historic exploration had been concentrated in two areas at opposite ends of a 2000 metre strike extent.
The drill results presented here include 4.18 percent copper and 45 g/t silver over 25.85 metres and 2.10 percent copper and 11 g/t silver over 24.91 metres at Thakadu.
Approximately 900 metres to the west, a single drill hole returned 1.78 percent copper and 20 g/t silver over 8.15 metres. Further to the west, another drill hole returned 2.15 percent copper and 48 g/t silver over 12.18 metres.
“These drill holes cover approximately 2000 metres of strike extent. These results are from a twin-hole drill programme designed to verify historic results from exploration programmes conducted by other companies over the past 40 years.
Specific drill holes were selected for twinning such that a wide variation in grades, thicknesses of mineralized horizons, depth of intersections and strike extent could be tested. Drilling is on-going and further results will be released when they become available,” the company said.
Previous operators completed extensive metallurgical tests that showed a copper recovery of 90 to 96 percent could be achieved by flotation of the sulphides producing a sulphide concentrate containing 28 to 32 percent copper and approximately 250 g/t silver.
“The deposits at the Thakadu Project show striking similarities to the sedimentary hosted copper deposits of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” commented Joe Hamilton, Chief Operating Officer of African Copper.
“The structural setting, age of mineralization and associated rock types and mineralogy are almost identical to those found in some of the larger copper deposits. The grade is certainly equivalent.
The Thakadu and Makala deposits lie within Botswana, which has a low geopolitical risk, good infrastructure and a skilled workforce. The proximity to road, rail, power and water will be an asset in the development of these deposits to be fast-tracked.”
The Thakadu Project area is approximately 70 kilometres to the southeast of the Company’s flagship Dukwe Project within the prolific Matsitama Metasedimentary Belt. The Dukwe project is under construction with production expected early in 2008.
Thakadu lies at the eastern end of a 40 kilometre long mineralized belt which contains numerous showings of sedimentary hosted copper-silver, copper-lead-zinc and zinc-silver. Historic drilling has concentrated on two deposits that are approximately 2000 metres apart but only sporadic exploration has been conducted between the two deposits.
Surface geochemistry and geophysics, as well as geologic mapping and trenching, indicates that the folded stratigraphy is probably continuous between the two deposits, and that mineralization may extend for up to 2000 metres to the west of known drilling. These deposits are five to ten kilometres from the Francistown-Orapa paved highway.
The deepest drill holes historically attained a vertical depth of about 550 metres and were still well mineralized indicating that the down dip potential is significant.
This work culminated in the late 1990s with a fully permitted mining license granted over the concession. No construction ever commenced and the mining license defaulted back to the Botswana government in late 2003.
The area became open for acquisition in March of 2004 and a Prospecting license was granted to African Copper in January 2005.
The Botswana-London and Toronto stock exchange listed company said economic evaluations indicated that reasonable profitability could be achieved, albeit at modest levels of cash flow.