Malawi rutile project confirmed as globally significant, says Sovereign Metals

16th December 2021 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Deputy Editor Online

A scoping study has confirmed the Kasiya project, in Malawi, as a globally significant natural rutile project, Australia-headquartered Sovereign Metals said on Thursday, stating that it was the largest undeveloped rutile deposit in the world.

The initial study considers a multi-decade mine, which will provide a stable supply of sought-after rutile and graphite, while contributing significantly to the Malawi economy.

The 12-million-tonne-a-year mine will produce 122 000 t/y of rutile and 80 000 t/y of graphite over 25 years, yielding average revenue of $251-million.

With capital costs of $332-million, Kasiya has a payback period of 2.5 years. The aftertax net present value is $861-million and the project has an internal rate of return of 36%.

The rutile and graphite products will be trucked a short distance via existing bitumen roads to the Kanengo rail terminal from where they will be railed via the Nacala Logistics Corridor (NLC) to the deep-water port of Nacala on the eastern seaboard of Mozambique.

"To have achieved this fantastic scoping study milestone for the Kasiya rutile project within just 20 months of the initial discovery is a huge result for Sovereign and a testament to the dedication and hard work of our Malawi and Australia-based team,” says MD Julian Stephens.

He states that Kasiya is “just the beginning” for Sovereign in the new Central Malawi rutile province.

“We will expand our resource significantly early next year with the addition of the Nsaru rutile deposit and potentially other regional prospects.”

The Kasiya has indicated mineral resources of 304-million tonnes at 1.02% rutle and an inferred resource of 301-million tonnes at 0.93% rutile.  

The current mining inventory for the scoping study covers 49 km2 or 38% of the total drill-defined area of high-grade rutile mineralisation of 129 km2. The company expects to be able to materially increase the overall mineral resource estimate tonnage in early 2022 which will enable the study options to be reviewed in terms of potential for scale ups or mine life extensions beyond the current 25 years.