South Ghanzi, a 50-50 joint venture (“JV”) between Power Metals is located in Botswana’s underexplored Kalahari Copper Belt (“KCB”). This mineral belt extends for almost 1,000 kilometres from northeast Botswana all the way to western Namibia.
The KCB discovery rate has accelerated over the past ten to fifteen years, delineating significant new mineral resources, with two copper-silver mines developed.
Now, the JV partners are intent on securing their own slice of the pie, with Airborne Electromagnetic (“AEM”) surveys in February defining seven kilometre-scale anomalies, each representing a possible drill target.
Follow up ground-based exploration found what Kavango rightly described as “very encouraging results”. There was close correlation between the AEM data, copper-zinc in soils geochemistry, and regional geological mapping.
Michael Foster, Kavango’s chief executive, commented on the “very promising” results so far from South Ghanzi, and the “elevated copper and zinc readings” especially.
All of this closely aligns with Kavango’s prior fieldwork, as well as the regional exploration model. Based on initial data interpretation, the target depths range from 40 metres (“m”) to 400m for exploration drilling.
Foster said the “generally shallow depth of the conductors is a major asset” for the JV.
The next step for operator Kavango will be additional soil sampling, as well as trenching and geological mapping before the drill programme planned later this year. Three of the conductors identified were “associated with anticlines/fold structures”, making them the highest priority for this programme.
First priority is target 36A, known as Acacia, a 4 kilometre (“km”) by 4km conductor located inside a fold “nose”, plunging southeast. Directly over this anomaly, soil geochemistry found extensive elevated copper and zinc levels – more than 42 parts per million (“ppm”) copper and over 75 ppm zinc.
Paul Johnson, chief executive of Power Metal, said the company was “particularly encouraged” by Acacia. He noted that the target contained both “a high conductivity signature” found in the AEM survey as well as “almost perfectly coincident” zinc and copper-in soil anomalies.
Johnson pointed out that these “are key signatures typical of nearby copper-silver discoveries within the Belt”.
Second priority target 36G, Morula, is around 2km wide, plus at least 12km of strike – open at both ends. Morula is likely to be “the sheared and thrust faulted southern limb of the ‘Acacia’ fold”. Soil sample lines taken at Morula found significant 38ppm to 62ppm copper concentrations and 59ppm to 111ppm zinc all across the 12km soil anomaly.
Then there’s target B, or Baobab, a 2km by 3km closed conductor sitting across the ‘nose’ of a second on Acacia’s same stratospheric horizon. This is the third priority target.
An addition to the first three is target E, or Elephant, 2.5 kilometres wide and with a strike of at least 6km. This is open at both ends, with Elephant’s main body between 400m and 600m from surface. This is unusual for the project, given the generally shallower depth of other conductors.
Elephant is fourth priority, and has a number of faults intersecting the main body, resulting in “several close surface conductors” that might be sampled though shallow drilling.
On top of all this, Kavango may choose to conduct even more AEM survey work aimed at closing off and establishing the true extent of the conductor.
“The exploration story at South Ghanzi continues to progress at pace and we eagerly await the next phase of results and drill testing of several of these high-priority targets,” Johnson said.
The copper price recently hit a new high, with a current copper shortage and declining inventories set to push prices even higher. Right now, Bank of America is expecting a 186,000 tonne deficit for 2021 and a 369,000 tonne shortfall in 2022.
The red metal is in high demand thanks to electrification, with electric cars especially requiring a great deal of copper. An electric vehicle might need over a mile of copper wiring for its stator windings alone.
On the regulatory front, the Environmental Management Plan (“EMP”) for South Ghanzi, submitted in February, is making progress.
Botswana’s Department of Environmental Affairs (“DEA”) has now accepted the EMP project brief. The next step will see a consultant, on Kavango’s behalf, start engaging and consulting with local farmers. The consultant will then submit “a report to the DEA to progress the application”.
Kavango and Power Metals each hold their 50% interest in South Ghanzi through Kanye Resources, with plans underway for a Kanye IPO on a recognised stock exchange.
“With the Environmental Management Plan application progressing well, the next few months in South Ghanzi will be key,” Foster concluded.
Author: Anna Farley
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