JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Results from recently assayed drilling under the historic Namib lead and zinc mine, in Namibia, indicate significant quantities of high-grade mineralisation beneath the existing mine workings, North River Resources reported on Thursday.
While the bulk of these intersections came from the central orebody, drilling in 2011 revealed evidence of high-grade mineralisation appearing across the historically mined orebodies at depth, while further drilling would explore the possibility that the size of the orebodies could be increasing.
"The discovery of large intersections of high-grade ore directly beneath the floor of the old mine is very meaningful. It [indicates] that early production could potentially pay-down the cost of the plant more quickly than anticipated,” MD Martin French said in a statement on Thursday.
The Aim-listed explorer further noted that a definitive feasibility study on the project was progressing on schedule, with the geotechnical work and several other major components of the study completed.
Equipment tenders had been received by the study engineers, while the financial model and draft report were due for completion in mid-March, with final sign-off expected around two weeks later.
“Soon after completion of the study, we will submit a mining licence application with the Ministry of Mines and Energy in Namibia, after which the approval process will take several months.
“However, during this period, North River will continue to drill on double shifts below the historic mine, while also starting to engage on both infill and exploration drilling on the unmined northern lodes,” French said.
Planning for this new phase of drilling was “well-advanced” and comprised around 9 000 m of drilling planned from both underground and surface.
The company had entered the planning phase for a comprehensive programme to actively explore lead and zinc targets across North River's considerable exploration licence areas adjacent to the mine, including a second helicopter electromagnetic survey of the licence area to the south.
The company was also currently in discussions with several potential development capital financiers, reporting good interest from African and European banks, several offtake concentrate trading houses as well as a number of equity funds.
Multicommodity resources company Mwana Africa’s former FD Donald McAlister had joined North River as a consulting financing adviser to assist with these discussions.