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King copper at Kombat

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King copper at Kombat
The old Kombat mine from a distance when WhyAfrica visited site during the 2022 WhyAfrica Road Trip. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica.

King copper at Kombat

Results from Trigon Metals’ drilling in Namibia indicate that there is still plenty of copper in the Otavi Valley.  

Canadian listed Trigon Metals caused a stir in Namibia in 2021 when they started talking about mining copper at the historic Kombat mine close to the towns of Grootfontein and Otavi again.

On the one hand there were many excited conversations and debate about how to deal with a myriad of challenges, including flooding and water ingress. On the other hand, there were those who believed it was impossible and not viable.

After a few years of stop-start Trigon started mining the open pit with vigour towards the end of last year. Although they haven’t shot the lights out yet, Kombat has been ticking over a steady pace since then.

Since Kombat’s rebirth, geologists were eyeing significant surface mineralisation at an area about 15km east of the active mining licence and the historic mining town of Kombat.

Schlangental – a key prospect (King copper at Kombat)

The area was known as Schlangental, a key prospect within the wider Kombat property.

According to Jed Richardson, Trigon’s CEO and Executive Chairman, there were reports of historical drilling that indicated mineralisation continued at depth, but no cores or detailed logs were available.

Trigon started planning to drill more than 36 holes totalling 4000m in the area they refer to as the Copper King Extension. The first two holes have now been drilled at Schlangental, and both holes intercepted mineralisation at modest depths.

The mineralisation was largely chalcocite (sulfide) and malachite (oxide) with associated higher-than-average silver compared to the main mineral resource at the Kombat mine and compared to the bornite and chalcopyrite copper sulfides predominant at the Kombat mine.

“Given the encouraging start, deeper drilling will now be undertaken to confirm if this pattern continues in the new area,” says Richardson.

Kombat – where copper is king (King copper at Kombat)

Kombat remains one of the most significant copper discoveries in Namibia. Mining operations started there in 1962 and the mine produced decent tonnages until 2008, with total output reaching 12.46 million tonnes of ore grading 2.6% copper on average.

Trigon acquired the historic mining operation in 2021 with more than USD150-million worth of usable infrastructure in place. That included a 1,000 tonne/day mill, an 800m shaft with two other vertical shafts, extensive underground workings, tailings facility, ramp systems, mine buildings and concentrator.

The mines’ close proximity to the port of Walvis Bay and to one of only five commercial-grade smelters in Africa (located in the town of Tsumeb) is an additional benefit to the project.

Because the Copper King Extension and specifically Schlangental has long been an area of interest for management and the exploration team, Trigon expanded its land holding in Namibia, through the acquisition of exclusive prospecting licence which is situated on the Kombat trend, the mineralised structure on which the Kombat project is located.

The Copper King Extension covers an area of 5,614 hectares in the Grootfontein District of the Otjozondjupa Region, between the towns of Otavi to the west and Grootfontein to the east.

“The results at the Copper King Extension bolster our belief that Otavi Valley still has plenty of new copper to be discovered. In 45 years of mining, about 12.5 million tonnes were mined at 2.6% copper plus associated silver, and we still have a measured and indicated resource of another 13.3 million tonnes at 2.2%.

“All told, that is over 25 million tonnes of combined tonnes over 2% copper, almost all contained in just 2.1 km of strike-length. We can now confirm that 15km to the east mineralisation continues, with copper showings throughout the whole 35km land package. Needless to say, we have a lot to be excited about,” say Richardson.

Plan for Exploring 35km of the Copper King Extension (King copper at Kombat)

Richardson adds that the broader exploration plan for the Kombat property encompasses an array of methodologies to comprehensively understand its geological potential.

Phase 1 involves data compilation in 2D and 3D, supplemented by the acquisition and processing of government data. Subsequent phases entail the interpretation of gathered data to construct a full 3D geological model, augmented by a high-resolution magnetic survey using drones to refine structural geology insights.

Moreover, soil sampling initiatives, including auger drilling, will cover the entirety of the property. More specifically, auger drilling will target the western region to penetrate the B horizon for representative soil samples, while the eastern side’s challenging calcite cover may necessitate the use of small exploration drill rigs.

“This integrated approach underscores Trigon’s commitment to thorough exploration methodologies, positioning the company for strategic advancement and value creation across its extensive mineral assets. Follow-up holes are anticipated to be drilled as soon as the programme resumes,” says Richardson.

History at Kombat (King copper at Kombat)

Minerals were discovered near Kombat in 1850. Around the year 1900, Kombat Mine was opened to extract copper.

It was operated by Tsumeb Corporation Limited until the 1970s and by Ongopolo Mining as from 1999.

In 2006 Ongopolo and the mine were taken over by Weatherly International PLC, a mining house based in London.

Soon thereafter in 2007 the mine flooded, was abandoned, and was dormant for several years. In 2015 Namibian  businessman Knowledge Katti acquired the town and the mine for 50 million Namibian Dollars.

In November 2021, Canadian-based Trigon Metals announced it had secured USD5-million in financing from IXM to reopen the Kombat mine, agreeing to sell concentrate from the mine to IXM for distribution. Mining at Kombat resumed soon after that. WhyAfrica visited the Kombat mine in July 2022 as part of the 2022 WhyAfrica Road Trip.

Besides copper, there are sizeable deposits of lead and silver. The mine is also known for a host of rare minerals, including Nambulite and glaucochroite.

King copper at Kombat

King copper at Kombat
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King copper at Kombat

 

 

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