Hodges Resources Ltd, the junior explorer listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), said it has started resource definition drilling at Moiyabana Coal Project located in central eastern Botswana as it wants to speed the project in a bid to cash in on the current high demand for coal.
The drilling, which the company said will be the largest drill campaign to date, is planned to consist of 125 drill holes for a total of 14,000 metres.
Hodges Managing Director, Mark Major said the exploration outfit wants to speed up the development of the project at a time when coal in southern Africa was attracting high levels of interest within the region, Asian and Indian coal export markets.
“Using RC diamond drilling, we will complete around 90 percent of our initial drilling phase as core. Whilst a more expensive approach, in doing this we will maximise our knowledge base within each hole, and have more core for testing,” Major said.
“It is clearly in our shareholders’ interests that we work efficiently to prove-up the potential of the 1.6 billion tonne Exploration Target at this project as early as we can. Investors, and our prospective coal offtake partners, want to know if Moiyabana has the potential to become a significant part of the southern Africa energy story.”
The Phase One drilling, which will be completed within 2 months, will initially focus on the definition of a maiden JORC compliant inferred resource over the central southern target.
The Joint Ore Reserves Committee Code (JORC Code) is the Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves. It requires that for a published report to be compliant with the JORC Code in reporting resources, reserves or exploration results, the documentation on which the report is based must be prepared by, or under the direction of, and signed by, a Competent Person or Persons.
Hodges said subsequent drilling phases will be aimed at both upgrading existing resource categories and defining the extent and continuity of new resource areas. The greater program will be completed over a 6 month period.
During the course of the drill program, average and maximum hole depths have been modelled to be in the order of 125 meters and 180 meters respectively.
Currently one reverse circulation and two diamond drill rigs are present at site however, an additional two diamond drill rigs are expected to arrive at site within approximately one month.
The Moiyabana coal project is located approximately 90 km from the Morupule colliery and 50 km from existing rail infrastructure in central east Botswana.
The project consists of two prospecting licences, PL93/2008 and PL94/2007, covering a total of 593.1 km2 which lies within the South East central Kalahari Sub-basin of the Karoo Supergroup.
Historically, the area was partially explored by Shell Coal Botswana during the 1970s and more recently by the licensee company, Jaguar Ventures (Pty) Ltd, which completed thirteen diamond drill holes during the period 2009 ÔÇô 2010.
Coal quality intersected in previous drilling at the project is variable, but raw qualities are interpreted as suitable for domestic thermal markets and indicative of the area’s coalfields.
There is evidence within completed laboratory testwork that some of the coal could be upgraded to export quality coal.
In May, the company stated it was embarking on a cash raising exercise to raise A $ 5.8 million (about P40 m) to meet obligations of┬á taking a large stake in both┬á Morupule south and Moiyabana coal fields as it tries to build-up its assets.
The Morupule south┬ácoal project agreement provides that Hodges┬ácan earn up to 99 percent interest in a strategic project with┬áa target of 1.4 billion tones.
The Morupule South Coal Prospect is adjacent to the operational Morupule mine and Colliery which is the only operational coal fired power plant in Botswana.
Botswana has extensive unexploited coal resources estimated to be in the order of 212 billion tonnes, making it one of the most coal rich countries in Africa.