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Exploration company expands projects

FIELDWORK
A first code compliant resource estimate for eluvial columbo-tantalite showings at the Toumi artisanal mining site is planned for spring next year

FIELDWORK A first code compliant resource estimate for eluvial columbo-tantalite showings at the Toumi artisanal mining site is planned for spring next year

16th October 2015

By: Bruce Montiea

Creamer Media Reporter

  

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The Benin government’s award of exploration rights to mineralised tantalum (Ta) and gem-bearing pegmatites to multi- commodities mining and natural resources company Premier African Minerals, in April, supports the company’s strategy of expanding its exploration projects, Premier says.

“The mining convention was signed in November last year, but only became enforceable in April after a mutually agreed correction of the initial permit coordinates,” elaborates Premier CEO George Roach.

He adds that the rights are held by the company’s 100%-owned subsidiary, mineral resources company G&B African Resources Benin, which was formed in 2011, and that these tenements are an addition to Premier’s diverse portfolio of assets in Zimbabwe.

Roach tells Mining Weekly that Premier aims to establish a small-scale alluvial columbo- tantalite mining project that can be brought into production rapidly at low capital expenditure.

“Potential hard rock Ta/niobium (Nb) occurrences and gemstone-bearing pegmatites are further mining scenarios. A widespread manganese oxide occurrence in the southern part of the permit area could potentially further add value to the project,” he adds.

Roach says reconnaissance fieldwork started in May, therefore, these are still the early stages of the project.

“Within this short period of time, we have, nevertheless, been able to identify several new potential Ta/Nb and gemstone-bearing occurrences,” he says, adding that systematic fieldwork will restart in November after the rainy season, which can be heavy in the central part of Benin.

Roach says a first code-compliant resource estimate for the most important eluvial columbo- tantalite showings at the Toumi artisanal mining site, and four other adjacent artisanal mining sites, is planned for spring next year. Thereafter, the company will immediately carry out metallurgical testwork.

“Around the same time next year, we will also have finished our regional survey on the 250 km² concession, which will allow us to delineate further, still unknown, sites with potential mineralisation,” he explains further.

Roach says reconnaissance trenching at three sites of artisanal mining was completed in July, and that more trenching, pitting and, perhaps, shallow auger drilling, will be carried out after the rains.

Premier is expecting the assay results from initial sampling by October.

“This project is a positive addition to our portfolio of assets, as it is part of our diversification strategy with easy-to-extract commodities of high value, such as the columbo-tantalite, in a politically stable environment with untapped mineral potential, says Roach.

He adds that early trenching has confirmed at least three extensive pegmatite structures and, in addition, the visible tantalum mineralisation, gem-quality tourmaline and indications of coloured gemstones are encouraging signs.

“Benin is considered a politically stable and mining-friendly country, and we are looking forward to updating our shareholders on the progress of the project,” concludes Roach.

Edited by Leandi Kolver
Creamer Media Deputy Editor

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