Genmin’s Bandjougoy in Gabon a good fit for open cast
Results from the recent drilling programme show a significant thickening of iron mineralisation to the west, continuity over the drill tested 3km of the modelled 4.4km strike extent and continues to validate Bandjougoy’s suitable geometry for the potential development of a large-scale open pit mining operation.
Although it is still early days at Australian listed Genmin’s 100% owned Baniaka Iron Ore Project in Gabon, results obtained from the recently completed diamond drilling program, indicate that there is potential to develop a significant open pit mine in the Central African state.
Baniaka comprises the Baniaka and Baniaka West exploration licences which cover a total area of 881km2. Baniaka is Genmin’s most advanced project and exploration since 2013 has defined a cumulative strike length of 85km of iron mineralisation, which has been subdivided into 17 prospects.
According to Genmin, the iron mineralisation comprises a surficial blanket of unconsolidated detrital iron deposits (DID) underlain by oxidised Banded Iron Formations (BIF) ascribed to the Archaean Belinga Group and termed Oxide. The DID mineralisation is from 1 to 16m thick. The Oxide extends to depths of 20 to 70m below surface. The Oxide is underlain by fresh magnetite BIF (Primary). The main focus of Genmin’s exploration programs has been testing the DID and Oxide iron mineralisation.
Although the Bandjougoy exploration target is conceptual in nature and there has not been sufficient exploration to estimate a Mineral Resource, early exploration results indicate excellent geological continuity.
The mainstay of initial mining activities
According to Joe Ariti, Managing Director and CEO of Genmin, the results also show a significant thickening of iron mineralisation to the west, providing an ideal starter location for open-pit mining activities.
“In this area, oxide thicknesses are up to 65m beneath the existing detrital iron mineral resource, validating our strategy to centre mine infrastructure for Baniaka adjacent to Bandjougoy in the Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS), as it is likely to form the mainstay of initial mining activities,” Ariti explains.
He added: “Remaining assays for the balance of the diamond program are expected in the coming weeks, triggering the commencement of a maiden oxide mineral resource estimate. The Bandjougoy maiden oxide mineral resource will not only increase Baniaka’s oxide resource inventory but will provide additional soft oxide material for production of a pellet feed product,” Ariti adds.
Pellets are a greener feedstock for blast furnace iron making, as they do not require sintering. As China’s steel making industry decarbonises, it is expected that there will be greater demand for pellets.
Bandjougoy Drilling Results
The diamond drilling program at Bandjougoy comprising 26 holes for 2930m was completed at the Bandjougoy prospect in late 2021. Drilling reported to date has intersected oxidised iron mineralisation (oxide) beneath the DID mineralisation over 3km of the total strike length of 4km being tested at Bandjougoy during the diamond drilling program. Oxide iron mineralisation comprises both soft oxide and intact oxide material types. DID and soft oxide are the initial targets to support a mining operation at Baniaka. The 2021 diamond drilling program at Bandjougoy builds on an initial 12 exploratory diamond drill holes for 1186m completed in 2018. The 2018 drilling confirmed oxide and primary mineralisation on the eastern part of Bandjougoy. The 2021 diamond drilling program was designed to confirm oxide mineralisation over a continuous 4km of the possible 4.4km strike length of Bandjougoy. This drilling program was completed in Q4 2021 and comprised 26 holes for approximately 2930m.
Infrastructure at Baniaka
Baniaka is proximal to existing and operating bulk commodity transport and renewable energy infrastructure. The Trans-Gabon multi-user railway currently provides bulk rail freight services to four operating manganese mines at Moanda, Franceville, Okondja and Ndjolé. Baniaka is located approximately 60km from the Trans-Gabon Railway.
Through the Trans-Gabon Railway, Baniaka is connected to the recently developed Gabon Special Economic Zone Mineral Port for exporting iron ore cargos. The port is currently exporting 5 million tonnes per annum of manganese ore cargos, and has demand driven plans to expand capacity. The 200MW Grand Poubara Hydro Power Plant is located about 30km from Baniaka on the Ogooué River. The plant has significant unused renewable hydroelectric power supply available.
Gabon is extremely rich in resources and its natural endowment includes petroleum, natural gas, diamonds, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, and hydropower. Gabon is currently the second largest producer of manganese ore in the world and the eighth largest crude oil producer in Africa. It has had strong economic growth over the past decade, driven by its production of oil and manganese.
Information regarding the Bandjougoy Exploration Target is extracted from the “Independent Geologists Report on the Mineral Assets of Genmin Limited” dated January 2021 (IGR) authored by SRK Consulting (Australasia) Pty Ltd. The IGR is included in the Company’s Prospectus dated 9 February 2021. The Bandjougoy Exploration Target is conceptual in nature, there has been insufficient exploration to estimate a Mineral Resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the estimation of a Mineral Resource.
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