Ongombo Project, Namibia – Update

RNS Number : 0876B
African Pioneer PLC
09 February 2022

African Pioneer Plc
(“African Pioneer” or “the Company”)

Ongombo Project, Namibia – Update

 

African Pioneer plc (“APP” or the “Company”), the exploration and resource development company with projects located in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia, is pleased following a site visit to provide an update on the 85% owned Ongombo Copper Mine Project (“Ongombo” or the “Project”) situated in Namibia.

Highlights:

·    Engineering consultant Practara (Pty) Limited (“Practara”) has reviewed and validated Scoping Study assumptions based on a detailed assessment of the Ongombo Project as part of a site visit.

·    Project design engineers Nurizon, have recommend relocation of certain mine-site infrastructure and future underground access after on-site consultation and a review of local topography. 

·    Potential open pittable oxide – sulphide mineralisation has been identified over and above the previously recorded sulphide Mineral Resource. A drill plan has been approved and will be implemented shortly.

·    The Company has invited a preferred engineering company to provide a plant design and capital estimate for a processing plant suitable for future Ongombo ore treatment. Management will visit and assess other plants constructed and operating in Africa by the same engineering group.

·    Amendments to the operating plan for the Ongombo Project will be adopted by the consulting engineers and the Scoping Study adjusted accordingly.

·    Environmental consultants will be provided with the updates and the Environmental and social Impact Assessment will be advanced.

 

Colin Bird, Chairman and CEO commented ”All of the fundamentals for the Ongombo Copper Mine project are in place. The technical team visit was designed to identify potential negative issues and seek out opportunities within the project. Our visit was very productive and we are of the opinion that the mine can be fast tracked as soon as we’ve received the mining licence.

The previous plan envisaged the opening of an open pit and we concur with this plan but believe the open pit can be considerably extended along strike and we will be commencing a drill programme shortly to test our prognosis. Should this drill programme produce the results expected we should be able to have an initial open pit lasting at least 18 months which would allow us to develop the underground system resulting in a seamless transition between open cast and underground mining.”

Ongombo Engineering Studies & Plant Layout

The presence of potentially economic near-surface copper-gold mineralisation requires the relocation of certain infrastructure to ensure that Mineral Resources are not sterilised. The proposed Mining Licence area covers less than 50% of the existing exploration licence and, there is ample room to accommodate the relocation of infrastructure. 

A box cut and portal excavated in the floor of any future open pit will provide a convenient location for underground access and, could result in a meaningful reduction in total metres of development and a corresponding reduction in capital expenditure.

Near-surface mineralisation & Drill Programme

The Company has elected to investigate the potential for an open pit to mine copper oxides. Oxides are known to occur at or near surface from the outcrop of the Ongombo deposit coincident with the Central Shoot and may extend for a strike length of approximately 350m. Drilling will test a horizontal distance of approximately 100 to 150m in the direction of dip. The purpose of the drill programme is many fold;

·    to establish whether an economically viable copper resource is available near-surface that can be exploited by the Company;

·    in the event that a viable resource is delineated, the extension of the life of mine of the Project by providing feedstock that can be processed at the same time as underground development is being installed to access sulphide copper – gold ores; and

·    to sterilise ground at surface as part of the process of locating infrastructure.

Goldfields Namibia Limited previously undertook a limited drill programme to test near-surface potential, delineating an open pittable non-compliant Resource of 335,256t at 1.035% Cu. African Pioneer will expand the footprint of the original Goldfields Namibia Limited drill programme which was undertaken in 1995 at a time when the copper price was less than one third of the current price.

Drilling of approximately 700 metres (17 drillholes) will be undertaken. An additional metreage will be added to provide drill core for geotechnical analysis and thereafter metallurgical test work.

Plant Design

Simple, well-understood processing technologies are expected to be implemented at Ongombo and the current preferred plant design offers a model that is being successfully applied in similar mining scenarios elsewhere in Africa. 

ESIA

Changes to the Mine Plan and layout will be discussed with the environmental consultant and the ESIA is expected to evolve as various production and processing scenarios are tested by external consultants in consultation with the Company.

 

For further information, please contact:

African Pioneer Plc 

 

Colin Bird

Executive Chairman

 

 

+44 (0)20 7581 4477

 

Beaumont Cornish (Financial Adviser) 
Roland Cornish 
+44 (0) 020 7628 3396
Novum Securities Limited (Broker)

Jon Belliss

 

 

+44 (0) 20 7399 9400

 

or visit  https://africanpioneerplc.com/

 

Qualified Person:

In accordance with AIM Note for Mining and Oil & Gas Companies, June 2009 (“Guidance Note”), Colin Bird, CC.ENG, FIMMM, South African and UK Certified Mine Manager and Director of Xtract Resources plc, with more than 40 years’ experience mainly in hard rock mining, is the qualified person as defined in the Guidance Note of the London Stock Exchange, who has reviewed the technical information contained in this press release.

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014 as it forms part of UK Domestic Law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (“UK MAR”).

 

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