Copper exploration and development company MOD Resources is progressing with its growth strategy as the T3 openpit copper project, in the Kalahari copperbelt, in northern Botswana, continues towards a decision to mine.
The company and its advisers are advancing a range of funding options with interested parties following the successful completion of the T3 copper project feasibility study.
The T3 prefeasibility study has confirmed the project as a robust, long-life copper mine.
The project is proposed to be mined by conventional openpit mining methods and equipment. The selected mining method, design and extraction sequence suit the T3 orebody characteristics, minimise dilution and ore loss, defer waste movement, conform to maximum rates of vertical mining advance and use planned process plant capacity, according to a Creamer Media’s Research Channel Africa report.
The process plant has been designed for an average throughput of three-million tonnes a year.
The proposed openpit mine design in six stages will provide for a mine life of about 11 years.
The objectives of the growth strategy are to continue to build mineral resources, confirm the potential for increased production through the planned T3 process plant and demonstrate the unique copperbelt-scale opportunity of MOD’s joint venture and 100% licence holdings, through new discoveries.
Planned targets include the T23 drilling, which will test the potential for near-surface mineralisation over a wide area. Success at T23 will provide further encouragement of the copperbelt-scale opportunity.
The T3 underground project represents a medium-term production growth potential for T3. Meanwhile, the A4 Dome represents a significant opportunity for expanded production and mine life at T3, according to the company.
While the feasibility study has confirmed the outstanding economics of the T3 openpit, MOD is now looking to define additional high-grade resources in the surrounding T3 expansion project area which could leverage off the proposed T3 infrastructure and potentially result in increased production through the process plant.
In addition, exploration drilling will focus on several targets in the T20 exploration project, including the T23 Dome and T4 West prospect. The objective is to scope out the potential for new resources in this highly prospective area and confirm the wider potential of MOD’s dominant licence holdings in the copperbelt.
As announced last month and, in line with forecast exploration expenditure, drilling over the next few months initially comprises three high-priority resource targets.
“Over the past three years, the MOD/Tshukudu team has demonstrated the ability to make new discoveries in this underexplored copperbelt, systematically increase mineral resources, and move our first mine towards early production,” says MOD MD Julian Hanna.
“The growth strategy will aim to continue the momentum at T3 and leverage infrastructure to be developed at T3 to add further value to the project and open up the wider potential of this copperbelt.”
He adds that the exploration drilling, which forms a key part of the growth strategy, will initially focus on near surface targets in the T20 exploration project area and targets where there have already been numerous ore grade intersections reported, in close proximity to the planned T3 openpit mine.
Starting this month, the company plans to follow up on encouraging shallow disseminated copper and silver mineralisation reported in the first three holes at the T23 Dome, in December 2018.
The T23 Dome appears to be part of a structural zone, interpreted to link T4, T4 West and T23 prospects extending over more than 15 km. A preliminary interpretation of electromagnetic (EM) data along this structural zone indicates a number of potential domes and anticlinal folds occurring at a shallow depth.
While the EM data suggests the same structures may continue between T23 Dome and T4, drilling is required to test this potential, given that there has been no previous drilling within this area.
The first stage of nine widely spaced reverse circulation (RC) and four diamond drill holes is planned to follow up the initial shallow intersections at T23 and test a 4 km strike length of this structure.
If the T23 drilling programme is successful, drilling is planned to extend to the T4 West target, about 7 km east of T23. T4 West also shows similar structural features to the T4 prospect, where MOD has previously announced significant copper intersections.
Following completion of the T3 resource infill drilling programme expected later this month, MOD expects to starts resource infill drilling of high-grade, vein-hosted mineralisation which is known to extend immediately below and down dip of the planned T3 openpit.
Drilling of T3’s 100%-owned resource is expected to occur in two stages, with the first stage comprising a planned 16-hole diamond drill programme, designed to delineate further high-grade copper and silver mineralisation within the T3 underground target area. The second stage of drilling will include infill holes to assist with defining a resource, expected during the second half of this year.
The proposed A4 Dome drilling programme will be staged to follow up on three different targets.
“The company expects that drilling of the A4 Dome, if successful, would allow further drilling programmes designed to delineate and define a resource.”