First Quantum exercises its option over two Zambia copper licences

23rd October 2023

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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Copper miner First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has delivered a formal notice to exercise its option over two out of the four licences covered by the option agreement with London-listed exploration and resource development company African Pioneer's (AFP's) 80%-owned subsidiary African Pioneer Zambia. 

The notice was issued on October 20, after the option agreement between the parties was initially announced on January 20, 2022. 

This action has effectively marked the start of a two-year earn-in period. 

Further, taking into consideration the total exploration expenditure by FQM to date of more than $1.6-million and work carried out so far, FQM has been granted an additional six months, extending until January 17, 2024, to incur $500 000 of exploration expenditure over the remaining two licences encompassed within the option agreement – exploration licences 27770-HQ-LEL and 27768-HQ-LEL. 

This latest update issued by AFP highlights that FQM has successfully identified the key structural architecture that delineates the boundary between the Western Foreland and the Central Fold and Thrust Terrain within the area of AFP's licences. Deep drilling activities on AFP's licences have led to the identification of diagnostic features that suggest similarities in stratigraphy and mineralisation processes with those associated with the formation of the Kamoa-Kakula deposit.   

The two exploration licences FQM has exercised the option over are XE27767-HQ-LEL and XE27771-HQ-LEL. The first earn-in period started on September 17.  

During this period, FQM has to prepare a technical report demonstrating an indicated mineral resource of at least 300 000 t of contained copper for FQM to earn a 51% shareholding in African Pioneer Zambia. 

Work completed by FQM includes mapping, soil sampling, ground geophysics, air core drilling and diamond drilling. Drilling has begun on Turaco, a prioritised near-surface mineralised target in the fold and thrust domain. 

FQM also confirmed its intention to drill-test each of the main near-surface targets, including Chipopa, Turaco and Chibwika during the current programme, while planning for deeper drilling to test the Western Foreland domain for Kamoa-style mineralisation.   

"The initial period under the option agreement has been extremely successful for both First Quantum and AFP, with the Western Foreland and Kamoa-style mineralising environment being established, as well as near-surface mineralisation in the fold and thrust domain further to the east on some of our licences.  

“We are particularly eager and excited to see the outcome of the current Turaco drilling, given the broad mineralised intercepts reported at shallow levels during the 2022 programme," AFP executive chairperson Colin Bird commented. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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