Devastating effects of COVID 19 are seen worldwide ever since the unprecedented virus outbreak has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. It swiftly became apparent that countries need to take urgent and necessary steps to protect their respective economies and people from the black swan event.

Exploration and production activities have been impacted and remained on halt, and consequently, businesses have suffered.

Amid the pandemic situation, ASX-listed Mount Burgess Mining NL (ASX:MTB), currently developing the Kihabe and Nxuu Zinc/Lead/Silver/Germanium and Vanadium deposits in Botswana, has notified that the Government restrictions have affected and may continue to impact its Kihabe-Nxuu Project. However, MTB affirms that it will continue with planned work once there is some sign of relief on the health crisis.

Kihabe-Nxuu Project- PL 43/2016

The Company’s objectives are to explore for and in the event of discovery, develop commercial deposits of mineral resources with the current focus on PL 43/2016, for which a two-year renewal to 31 December 2020 was granted on 29 November 2018, with a right to renew for a further two years to 31 December 2022.

Located in Western Ngamiland, Botswana, the PL 43/2016 covers an area of 1000 sq km within which is situated a Neoproterozoic, hosting what is believed to be SEDEX style mineralisation and is a belt prospective for base metals.

The Company has developed resources at two deposits to date, namely the Kihabe and Nxuu deposits that are 7 kms apart and comprise of indicated & inferred 2004 JORC compliant resources of 25 million tonnes @ 3% Zn/Pb along with 3.3 million ounces of Silver (at Kihabe). Besides this, they also comprise of credits of Germanium and Vanadium mineralisation, which could add significant further value to the resource base.

Nxuu Deposit

MTB is initially concentrating on developing the totally oxidised polymetallic Nxuu Deposit, containing Zinc, Lead, Silver, Germanium and Vanadium. The deposit is a shallow basin-shaped deposit with a maximum depth of 64 meters. It has the probability for onsite metal/mineral recovery procedures to be applied, and is a low-cost, low-risk operation, apt to attain beneficiation in Botswana.

Involved only in exploration and resource development currently, MTB has been assessing the way forward for the Project in the past few months. Investigating the potential to exploit additional known metal credits (like Vanadium and Germanium) and analysing several metallurgical processes that can enhance the possibility of on-site beneficiation of metal production are some of the activities that fetched market interest for MTB.

Significant Vanadium assay results have been obtained from both the deposits, as well as the Gossan Anomaly. Moreover, there is a potential future demand for energy storage in Vanadium Redox Flow batteries.

Besides, mineralogical and metallurgical test work on the Nxuu Deposit Vanadium samples confirmed that-

·Vanadium is hosted in the oxide vanadate DESCLOIZITE, where the mass of Vanadium Pentoxide is 1.785 times the mass of Vanadium.

·For recovery to a concentrate, 82% of Vanadium Pentoxide equivalent can be recovered from DESCLOIZITE on site, via flotation using a Hydroxamate oxide collector. Straightforward hydrometallurgical steps can then produce Vanadium Pentoxide, a significant credit for the Project.

 

Let us look at recent tests conducted at the deposits-

Bulk Sensor Sorter X ray Test Work

A bench scale test work took place on 1/2 HQ drill core samples from the Nxuu Deposit last year. Results demonstrated that more than 4mm was rejected as insignificantly mineralised, after crushing 45% of the complete crushed feed. Consequently, only 55% is required to be milled to be further subjected towards downstream treatment.

Milling requires the most amount of power, and the results validate that there could be a significant saving on power requirements and power costs.

EDS Vertical Milling Process

EDS South Africa supposes that Vertical milling process will work proficiently on the Nxuu Deposit as the ore is extremely oxidised. The process merely necessitates 25% of the power to operate conventional Ball/SAG/ROD mills. Like the bulk sensor sorter X ray test work, this too can have a further substantial saving on power costs and power requirements.

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