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Marula advances plans with partners to commission Kinusi copper processing plant

5th April 2023

By: Donna Slater

Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

     

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Africa-focused miner and developer Marula Mining is advancing plans to install a copper processing plant at its 75%-owned Kinusi copper project, in Tanzania, with initial design and capital and operating cost works well under way, and in line with the company’s strategy to advance the project to production in the second half of the year.

Marula in February increased its stake in Kinusi through an amended agreement with Tanzanian mining company Takela Mining Tanzania.

Going forward, Marula is working with Takela and its mineral processing consultants Southern Metal Processing (SMP) to commission the copper processing plant.

In parallel, Marula is advancing its discussions on copper offtake arrangements with four shortlisted global trading commodity groups for the sale and purchase of copper from Kinusi. About 100 kg of representative samples from Kinusi will be delivered to these groups for analysis, and finalisation of offtake and payment terms.

Additional samples are being sent for assay and analysis as part of enhancement metallurgical and process plant test work.

Marula CEO Jason Brewer says discussions with Europe-based global commodity groups for the offtake of the high-grade copper and precious metals from Kinusi have intensified over the past month, and are “no doubt” partly driven by the ever-strengthening copper market and supply and price outlook.

Thus far, the processing plant has received detailed design work for the installation and commissioning of the plant by SMP, with site works set to start this month.

These site works will include the establishment of mine offices, and associated mine and operations support infrastructure.

Planned upgrades to access roads are in progress, and mobile mining equipment and ancillary vehicles and equipment are being secured.

Takela will start initial small-scale mining later this month, focusing on the Takela 1, 2, 3, 4 and 12 pits, with mined material to be stockpiled ahead of commissioning of the proposed copper processing plant.

The initial mining and site upgrade works will run in parallel with the ongoing exploration work to be undertaken by Marula’s on-site geological team and by experienced Tanzanian geological and mining consultancy group Geofields Tanzania.

Work by Marula’s geological team also includes preparation of initial drilling and establishment of drill pads for an initial diamond drilling programme, comprising holes to depths of 100 m to 150 m, to enable a better understanding of the structural controls to high-grade copper mineralisation, and also to determine the depth extensions of the mineralisation.

GRAPHITE

Geofields Tanzania has also completed Phase 1 of exploration activities at Marula’s 73%-owned Bagamoyo graphite project.

Marula reports that the preliminary results indicate two graphite trends on the Mihuga and Saadan South prospects within the project area. It adds that large graphite flakes were observed in all high-grade graphite zones.

At the Mihuga prospect, surface mapping has identified an east-west trending mineralised envelope which extends up to about 500 m in strike length on surface and is interpreted to extend a further 2 km over six of the granted mining licences.

High-grade graphitic schist within the Mihuga prospect has been estimated to have graphite grades of between 35% to 75% based on visible observations. Ten samples from Mihuga were collected for graphite and graphite-carbon analysis at an accredited laboratory in Tanzania for confirmatory grade and flake size work.

Geofields has made a number of recommendations including induced polarisation ground survey to be carried out to determine the graphite resource potential at depth and laterally along the east-west controlling structure. Further recommendations include targeting extensions of the known 500 m surface mineralised graphite zone towards the west and also the northern flanks of this mineralised trend.

Further, the Saadan South prospect is located immediately south of an active graphite mining operation in an area considered by Geofields to be “a new and emerging graphite exploration environment capable of hosting significant primary graphite mineralisation”.

Graphite outcrops have identified a north-northeast trending graphite zone of about 150 m by 50 m wide exposed from trenching and interpreted to extend for a further 750 m across four of the granted mining licences. High-grade graphitic schist within the prospect has been estimated across 3 m to 5 m widths to have graphite grades of between 35% to 65% based on visible observations.

Seven samples from the Saadan South prospect were collected for graphite and graphite-carbon analysis at an accredited laboratory for confirmatory grade and flake size work.

Meanwhile, Marula also recently conducted a technical site visit to its 75%-owned Nyorinyori graphite project in the Simanjiro district of Tanzania, during which high-grade graphite mineralisation and the presence of jumbo graphite flakes were observed on the granted mining licences.

The high-grade graphite mineralisation observed bore visual estimates of more than 90% graphite content in shallow and broad graphite veins exposed at depths of about 2 m from limited and small-scale mining activities.

Based on the site visit and observations by senior management, Marula has now committed to an accelerated exploration programme at Nyorinyori, which will include further mapping, sampling and a maiden shallow drilling programme.

“The high-grade graphite mineralisation and presence of jumbo graphite flakes are indicative of the immense potential that we believe this project holds. As a result, we will be fast-tracking our on-site activities and accelerating exploration work to further demonstrate and realise this potential,” says Brewer.

Further associated graphite mineralisation was also observed at surface from numerous outcrops, extending over an initial strike length of over 2 km and which remains open.

Several samples of the high-grade graphite mineralisation have been taken for analysis and assay to determine total graphite content grade and flake size with results expected in the second quarter.

A planned 1.5-tonne bulk sample is to be extracted and sent for full independent metallurgical analysis and assessment.

“Graphite is an essential component in green energy technologies, such as electric vehicle batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.

“The Nyorinyori graphite project not only aligns with our strategic focus on battery metals but also positions Marula to, in our opinion, quickly contribute towards the global demand for graphite as we collectively push towards the green transition,” he says.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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