The Avontuur manganese project, located 75 km north- west of Kuruman, in the Northern Cape, comprises an initial openpit mining operation and a processing plant, with product to be hauled by road to a new rail siding to be developed in the Hotazel area. The mine will eventually be developed underground by decline access from the final openpit.
The project consists of the Gravenhage and Eersbergint deposits, which have a total resource of 108.9-million tons at 38.6% manganese (Mn). The Gravenhage deposit has an average grade of 40%, with 25.4-million tons of the resource grading 43.8% Mn.
Strong exploration potential exists within the 10-km-long Avontuur basin, which is wholly contained within the 370 km2 Avontuur prospecting rights area. Five target areas have been identified for further exploration.
The Gravenhage deposit is currently the subject of a feasibility study. A mining rights application has been submitted to the Department of Mineral Resources, along with a proposed social and labour plan.
The project team is using contractors and consultants experienced in manganese projects and operations in the Northern Cape to complete the study. Environmental studies including flora, fauna and hydrology are well under way. An engineering study will develop capital and operating cost estimates for the project. The feasibility study report is due for completion in the fourth quarter of this year.