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Sovereign’s Kasiya on track

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Sovereign’s Kasiya on track
Malawi is back in the spotlight next month as WhyAfrica makes our way north on the 2024 WhyAfrica Road Trip. Image credit: Unsplash

Sovereign’s Kasiya on track

Early work at Sovereign Metals’ Kasiya project in Malawi is progressing as planned.

By Leon Louw owner of WhyAfrica and editor of the WhyAfrica magazine

Malawi hosts several critical mineral deposits and a number of early-stage exploration and mining projects have drawn the attention of major global mining companies.

WhyAfrica will visit Malawi next month on Leg 3 of our 2024 WhyAfrica Road Trip to find out how far the country has come in terms of positioning itself as a significant African mining destination.

One of the projects in the landlocked country of Malawi that has caught the attention of global mining majors is Australian listed Sovereign Metal’s Kasiya Rutile-Graphite project, about 75km from Malawi’s capital city of Lilongwe.

Sovereign announced in July last year that global mining giant Rio Tinto made a USD40.4-million investment to become a 15% strategic shareholder in Sovereign Metals.

Under the agreement Rio Tinto will provide assistance and advice on the technical and marketing aspects of Kasiya, including Sovereign’s graphite co-product, with a primary focus on spherical purified graphite for the lithium-ion battery anode market.

Sovereign’s Kasiya on track
If you want to be part of the WhyAfrica story e-mail leon@whyafrica.co.za

Agreement with Rio Tinto (Sovereign’s Kasiya on track)

The landmark agreement between Sovereign Metals and Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest and most accomplished global mining companies, is confirmation of Kasiya’s significance as a critical mineral discovery.

According to Sovereign, Kasiya is the largest natural rutile deposit and one of the largest flake graphite deposits in the world.

Groundworks underway at Kasiya (Sovereign’s Kasiya on track)

Earlier this month Sovereign Metals announced that the pilot site construction for the ongoing pilot mining and land rehabilitation program (Pilot Phase) at Kasiya is on schedule with groundworks underway.

According to Managing Director Frank Eagar the pilot phase is a step-change for Kasiya and demonstrates Sovereign’s ability to execute in Malawi.

“The early works are progressing as planned and is on schedule and within budget.

“We are pleased with the progress and specifically how the mobile fleet is performing in the soft saprolite ore, confirming our understanding of how simple mining, with no drilling or blasting required, will contribute to low operating costs,” says Eagar.

The construction fleet is on-site with groundwork to excavate the water storage pond and construct the test areas currently underway.

Site equipment is currently moving 5,000 cubic metres of earth daily. The fleet consists of four excavators, 20 trucks and a support fleet, including two bulldozers and a motor grader.

Eight water extraction boreholes have been commissioned and are delivering water to the site, with the filling of the water storage pond to follow. The temporary water storage pond is currently being excavated and will be sealed using natural clay from excavated material.

This will minimise the use of conventional plastic lining at the pilot site.

Key contractors and consultants (Sovereign’s Kasiya on track)

Key contractors and consultants have been appointed across all major disciplines essential for the pilot phase.

  • Multinational engineering and construction company Mota Engil Group has been appointed to perform all excavation required for site establishment, the water storage pond, the test pit, seven rehabilitation pits site closure and general rehabilitation of the site.
  • South Africa-based consultancy Fraser Alexander has been contracted to complete the hydraulic mining phase.
  • Backfill, storage and tailings management will be assessed by South African residue management solutions consultancy Epoch Resources
  • International engineering company DRA Global has been appointed to oversee and provide engineering and design services required during the pilot phase. 

Sovereign’s Kasiya on track

Sovereign’s Kasiya on track
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AgricultureEnvironmental Management & Climate ChangeEnergyESGInfrastructureMiningPolitical EconomyTourism and ConservationWater Management