Discovery Metals Ltd said it had found a new copper zone of over 2 kilometers at its Maun copper project in northwest Botswana.
The Australian company said the new zone has further increased confidence in the ability of the Maun project to sustain long-term, open-pit operations. The new zone is located directly along strike from the Maun project’s flagship Zeta prospect.
Managing director, Jeremy Read, said besides starting pre-feasibility drilling at the Zeta prospect, the company aimed to define new inferred resources at the Plutus and North East Zeta prospects.
“If proven to be viable, this will give Discovery the potential to extract copper-silver mineralisation from three or four open pits in close proximity to each other, enhancing the project’s operational flexibility.”
The Kalahari Copper BeltÔÇönear the Zeta area ÔÇö is an extension of the Zambia Copper Belt which stretches into some parts of Botswana going as far as into the Ghanzi area. The area was previously prospected by other mining and prospecting mining outfits such as Anglo-Vaal and US Steel International who were looking for giant mining operations in exccess of 200 million tones of medium and low grades.
However, at the time it turned out that the deposits could not amount to an operation of that size ÔÇô due to technology that was used then ÔÇô and that the area’s infrastructural development was seen wanting.
Discovery Nickel Limited has said it was upbeat about the prospects of an open pit mine in the areas which will later extend into an underground mine as the finds area is greater than originally thought. It also stated that the current infrastructural development is of higher standard and the area is easily accessible to neighbouring countries.
“Significantly, world copper prices have improved dramatically since the 1990s when the majority of the earlier work and assessments were undertaken. There have also been improvements to local infrastructure (roads and power) which could significantly enhance the current economics of any mining operation in the region,” the company said.
The company has also engaged Snowden to complete the assessment of its copper-silver mineralization for the Zeta project and G Grid North and South, which are within the same area where some deposits were found. The finding through the use of hi-technology established that the deposits were of a higher grade.
“In recent years, new geological models have been developed for the formation of Zambian style copper mineralization and in particular better understanding has developed as what controls the higher grade sections of these copper deposits,” the company said.
Regarding the Dikoloti project, Discovery Nickel said it has discovered “a thickened and wide range of nickel mineralization in the northern section of the inferred resource and, at the same time; Snowden was retained as a consultant.
The mineralization extending northward, which was initially estimated at 1.2 million tones, pushed up to 4.1 million tones at 0.7 percent nickel, 0.5 percent copper and 1.2 grams per tones for platinum and Group elements at a cut off of 0.5 nickel.
Given that scenario the potential of an open pit mine is potentially mineable and will be closely followed by an underground mining.
“A total of 2.3 million tonnes at an average of 0.54 percent nickel and 0.33 percent of copper is expected. The mining grade assumed was 500,000 tonnes per annum giving a lifespan of 4.5 years,” the company said. “The positive outcome from Dikoloti Preliminary Mining Assessment indicated that infill drilling within the defined inferred nickel resource was warranted.
“Samples of disseminated nickel mineralization and massive nickel mineralization were submitted for a range of floatation tests in order to determine if a product of similar character to that of BCL Limiter’s nearby concentrator facility could be produced.”