Kavango Resources (LSE:KAV) rose by nearly a third to 2.3p on Monday morning after announcing the imminent drilling of one of its major prospects in Botswana. The firm plans to begin work at its Ditau prospect, which forms part of the Kalahari Suture Zone (KSZ), early next month.

The KSZ is a 450km-long magnetic anomaly along which Kavango is exploring for copper, nickel, and PGE-rich sulphide orebodies at depth. The area is yet to be examined using modern drilling techniques. Mining consultant MSA Group has backed the potential presence of these deposits on the KSZ, first explored in the 1980s and 1990s. Meanwhile, Kavango has suggested that the area has a similar geological setting to the giant Norilsk copper/nickel deposits in Siberia.

Kavango’s initial 1,000m drill program is designed to intersect two coincident geophysical and geochemical base metal conductor/anomalies at the site. These are based at depths of 100m and 200m. The work will involve a combination of reverse circulation and core drilling, with conductors extending to depths of more than 600m. Kavango has signed a drilling contract with Maquana Explorations, an experienced Botswana company based at Selebi-Phikwe.

In today’s update, the firm said target anomalies extend north-south for at least 4km at Ditau. It added that they represent ‘very compelling’ geophysical anomalies that are coincident with zinc in soil anomalies at the surface. Zinc acts a pathfinder for potential base metal mineralisation at depth because it is the most mobile of the base metal elements.

Chief executive Michael Foster added: ‘We are pleased to be able to announce the start of drilling at the first of several exciting coincident geophysical and geochemical base metal anomalies that have been identified at the Ditau Prospect, which forms part of the KSZ Project. The drilling is scheduled to commence shortly and results will be announced as they become available.’

The news comes just a week after Kavango announced that it has now mobilised the second phase of an airborne electromagnetic survey over its 15 prospecting licences in the KSZ area. The airborne EM survey is the first stage in the company’s efforts to identify these sulphide orebodies. It detects and prioritises potential locations for these deposits, which Kavango can then follow up with more detailed groundwork and drilling.

Flying for the second phase of the survey is expected to begin later this month. It will take between four to six weeks to complete and will cover up to 2,062 line-kilometres in the Hukunstsi area of Botswana. On this, Foster said in Monday’s update:

‘With the success of our exploration techniques, we expect many more anomalous areas to be identified following completion of Phase 2 of the airborne electro-magnetic (AEM) survey (see announcement of 21 January 2019). These will be followed up on the ground and prioritized for drilling.’

As revealed earlier this month, Kavango has contracted the services of a leading airborne geophysical survey player called SkyTEM for its latest phase of AEM work. SkyTEM offers a ground-breaking, high-power surveying system that has been optimised to reach a depth of up to 300m below the earth’s crust.

It reaches these depths by using a high current and low base frequency of 12.5hz. According to Kavango, the technology has not been used in Africa before and is more effective than the older systems currently on the market.

Speaking to Mining Maven, Kavango’s exploration director Mike Moles said the technology will let Kavango investigate for orebodies at a deeper level and with higher resolution than it could in the first phase of its survey.

The company identified 26 conductive anomalies over 2,000 line-km of the KSZ project during this stage of work. However, the technology used did not penetrate deep enough beneath the surface. As such, Kavango was unable to tell which anomalies were low priority near-surface conductors like clays and shales and which went much deeper.

He believes the new technology will make it much easier for Kavango to differentiate between the two types of anomalies.

‘We will immediately be able to see which conductors have a depth component to them and represent high priority targets. Likewise, it will be much easier for the business to identify and ignore those surficial conductors that are very often just clays and other conductive materials that lie within the first 50-60m below the surface,’ he told us.

‘The technology we contracted in Phase One used a much higher frequency and was not getting deep enough to differentiate between the shallow and deep targets. If we had SkyTEM’s technology back in September when we launched the campaign, we could have reduced the number of conductors worth following up from 26 to about six or seven straight away. Using our new approach, we should be to turn over these conductors much more quickly in Phase Two.’

Author: Daniel Flynn

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