Aviva Corporation Limited, the Australia and Botswana listed Energy Company, moved a step further to giving the markets the much needed confidence by saying its resource at Mmamantswe has been upgraded from inferred to indicated.
The move, which shows that the company is close to working on a bankable feasibility study and mining licence, comes at a time when the southern African region is in dire need of energy to power its economies.
“The upgrade of the resource to indicated category allows the company to move ahead with mining studies designed to upgrade the resource to a reserve over the 12 months,” the Chief Executive Officer of Aviva, Lindsay Reed, said.
“This upgrade is a significant milestone for shareholders and provides a greater confidence in the ore deposit,” he added.
According to the latest studies, Mmamantswe indicated resources stand at 1.3 billion tones of coal which is capable of supporting six million tones per annum power station and a similar external sale quantity if required.
The results are based on 32 holes drilled to the depth of 3500m out of which 26 intersected coal deposits.
Eskom, the South African power utility company which is grappling with power outages in that country, has asked for the detailed information regarding the deposit saying it needs between 390 and 780 million tones of coal over the next 40 ÔÇôtoÔÇö 60 years in order to sustain that country’s economy.
The move comes in the wake of right option that effected earlier this year in a bid to raise A$ 5.35 million to bring cash on hand to A$ 26 million. It said the exercise was embarked on in attempt to raise funds for the development of an integrated energy project at Coolimba in Western Australia and Mmamantswe in Botswana.
“A resource estimate for Mmamantswe based on the 2007 drill programme is almost complete,” it added.
The Mmamatswe concession areaÔÇö- which is some 110 kilometers north of Gaborone ÔÇö fell into the hands of Mawana Minerals (Pty) LimitedÔÇöa company owned by Paul Ramaloko and his family some time last year after the discoveries made by BP in the 1980s.
And, in April last year, he invited Aviva Corporation to a joint venture that would see the Australian company owning 90 percent subject to the fact that it covers full financial budget for prospecting up to a bankable feasibility study.
Since the marriage between the two companies in April 2006, 26 drilling holes have been made within the two concession areas that cover an area the size of 2000 km2. All the holes have shown the presence of coal.
The energy company was targeting coal reserves of 600 million tones enough to last 30 years.
“The next step would be to work on a plan that would take the resource to the reserve status. And that will start in March and it will take three months. We would be looking at coal that would last for 30 years with customers most likely to be southern African states,” Reed has said.
The work will entail increasing the drilled hole from 26 to 80, which is hoped will enable the company to do a proper data assessment. So far, available records from the Department of Geological Survey indicate that the area has two different types of coal, soft coal (similar to that at Matimba) and Grootguluk mine in South Africa, at a depth of 70 meters and deeper, has coal with similar rock characteristics to that of Morupule and Mmamabula.
Aviva comes at a time when the country is estimated to have coal resources of 200 billion ÔÇô enough to supply the power hungry southern African region, which is at the initial stages of industrialization.
“We found Botswana to be very good in working with. Botswana has a wonderful reputation as a place to do mining with.
“Southern Africa needs a lot of power and you need to secure a place for investment and Botswana provides for that,” Reed said in a statement recently.
The company is planning to start operation by 2010 and it is expected to be an open cast mine.
It further stated that some of the encouraging factors are the site, which is closer to the highway, railway and high voltage transmission line. The company is going to do the scoping report to determine the number of people who will be employed at the mine.