Tsodilo Resources Limited, an international diamond and metals exploration company, which is assessing the potential viability of the iron deposits in the North-West District of Botswana, has tapped local partners for its project.
The company has entered into a research collaboration endeavour with the Department of Chemical, Materials and Metallurgical Engineering at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology and Morupule Coal Mine to undertake metallurgical studies with respect to the potential of generating a Pellet Feed and Direct Reduced Iron product from its Xaudum Iron Formation (XIF) project, utilizing its magnetite and Morupule Coal Mine’s coal as a reductant.
“Commercially, these high-grade pellets and DRI product would be used to produce steel in electric arc furnaces within Botswana, the region and internationally,” the company said in a statement.
In March, Tsodilo revealed that metallurgical results show that the XIF magnetite product is expected to be a premium high-grade product containing +67% iron magnetite, which will be ideal pellet feed material.
“The collaboration study with BIUST and MCM will identify if the XIF magnetite can be further beneficiated to a pellet feed and upgraded to a DRI pellet or similar product using Botswana coal as the reductant,” the company said.
High-grade ores over 65% Fe currently command larger price premiums over standard ores of 62% Fe resulting in higher margins for suppliers of high-grade products. The current global drive for lower emission steel production results in steel producers dramatically increasing their demand for these high-grade ores.
Iron ore increased in price by 74 percent in 2020 outperforming all other metals by a significant margin as iron ore reached close to $180 per tonne (62% Fe, CFR China) in December 2020, a level not seen for almost a decade and the price continues today in the range of US$170 per tonne.
“The business case for generating pellet feed, DRI products, and low emission steel from the XIF magnetite is just one of the scenarios that are to be evaluated in the Company’s current Preliminary Economic Assessment,” the company said.
Tsodilo Resources Limited is engaged in the search for economic diamond, metal deposits and industrial stone at its Bosoto, Gcwihaba and Newdico projects in Botswana. The company has a 100 percent stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) and the PL216/2017 diamond prospection license also in the OKF.
The company holds 90 percent stake in its Gcwihaba project area consisting of seven metal (base, precious, platinum group, and rare earth) prospecting licenses all located in the North-West district, and 100 percent interest in its Newdico industrial stone project located in the Central district.