- MTB’s Kihabe-Nxuu project is a SEDEX mineralised system within a Neo-proterozoic belt
- Deposits have credits of Vanadium and Germanium mineralisation, adding significant value to the overall resource base; MTB’s stance as a Vanadium developer gives significant competitive edge
- Test works on Nxuu can contribute to up to 40% reduction in power requirements at the Project
- Activities are likely to resume, and planned works will commence once there is some sign of relief from COVID-19
Metals & mining companies that aim to explore for, and in the event of discovery, develop commercial deposits of highly lucrative mineral resources always garner market attention.
Mount Burgess Mining NL (ASX:MTB) is renowned for previous discoveries of the Red October Gold Deposit in Western Australia and three kimberlites in Namibia. Presently, the Company is focused on base metals and is developing its 100% owned Kihabe-Nxuu Zinc/Lead/Silver/Germanium and Vanadium Project (PL 43/2016) in Botswana, with initial focus on the totally oxidised polymetallic Nxuu deposit, which is 7 kms away from the Kihabe deposit.
Covering 1,000 sq km, PL 43/2016 holds a Neo-proterozoic belt potential for base metals. On 29 November 2018, a 2-year licence renewal was awarded with a right for further renewal by 2 years (31 December 2022).
At present, MTB is involved in exploration and resource development activities while assessing the way forward for the project- investigating the potential to exploit additional known metal credits like Vanadium and Germanium, in addition to investigating several metallurgical processes that could be applied to enhance the potential for on-site beneficiation of metal production.
Kihabe-Nxuu Project Unique Attributes
MTB’s Kihabe-Nxuu project is a SEDEX (Sedimentary Exhalative) mineralised system within a Neo-proterozoic belt where mineralisation occurs in a quartz wacke, in contact with the local dolostone. The Nxuu Deposit is shallow basin shaped and has a maximum depth of 64 metres. As an oxide deposit, it presents a potential low cost, low risk operation, with the potential for onsite recovery processes to be applied, thereby achieving beneficiation within Botswana.
Besides this, both the deposits have credits of Vanadium and Germanium mineralisation, which attaches considerable value to the overall resource base. They comprise of indicated and inferred resources (2004 JORC compliant) of 25 Mn tonnes @ 3% Zn/Pb with 3.3 Mn ounces of Silver (at Kihabe deposit).
The Vanadium Advantage
An inorganic compound, Vanadium Pentoxide (V205) is known for its high oxidation state, which makes it an amphoteric oxide as well as an oxidizing agent. It is an integral compound of vanadium, used as catalyst for alloys. Of the current global production of V2O5, 85% is generated as a co-product during steel making, extracted from Titaniferous Magnetite deposits in a laborious and costly process.
Historical and recent drilling has shown substantial Vanadium assay results for both MTB’s deposits and the Gossan Anomaly.
Moreover, metallurgical test work conducted by ALS Metallurgy Pty Ltd at the Nxuu deposit affirmed that Vanadium is hosted in oxide vanadate DESCLOIZITE. The test work highlighted that equivalent mass of Vanadium Pentoxide (V205) is 1.785x Vanadium’s mass.
The test work also affirmed that 80.40% of marketable V205 can be recovered from DESCLOIZITE via the simple process of flotation using a Hydroxamate collector for recovery, as opposed to producing from magnetite deposits, which is where most of the world’s V205 currently comes from. As per MTB, this is an environment friendly recovery process as V205 in DESCLOIZITE does not require either smelting to 1,0000 C or potassium salt roasting.
Chairman Mr Nigel Forrester also believes that significant intersections of V205 mineralisation occur outside of the known Zinc and Lead domains, which will be integral to the overall mineralised widths within Nxuu.
This is an exceptionally great achievement, strengthening MTB’s stance as a Vanadium developer, and giving the Company a significant competitive edge. With significant recoveries of a marketable product, V205 mineralised zones in the Nxuu Deposit could add significant dimension to the overall recoverable Zinc/Lead/Silver/Germanium mineralised zones.
Recent Developments at Nxuu Deposit
Bulk Sensor Sorter X ray Test Work
A bench scale test work on 1/2 HQ drill core samples validated that post crushing 45% of the entire crushed feed, over 4mm was rejected, deemed as insignificantly mineralised. This means that merely 55% is needed to be milled for downstream treatment. As milling involves hefty power amounts, results certify the possibility of substantial saving on power requirements and costs.
EDS Vertical Milling Process
EDS (South Africa) believes that vertical milling process will work on the deposit, as the ore is exceptionally oxidised. The process merely needs one-fourth of the power to operate conventional Ball/SAG/ROD mills- demonstrating a further substantial saving on power requirements and costs.
Together, the Bulk Sensor Sorter X ray Test Work and EDS Vertical Milling Process can contribute to up to 40% reduction in power requirements at the Project.
Test Work to Uphold Host Mineral of Germanium
Ms Maria Boni, Dean of the Faculty of Geosciences at the Naples University, will determine the host minerals of Germanium, once the COVID-19 restrictions ease. MTB has arranged 6.8kg of crushed HQ diamond core samples to be sent for the same.
If recoverable, Germanium could possibly embody a considerable credit for the Project. Moreover, as per MTB's recent report, it is trading at just below US $2,000 per kg.
COVID-19 Impact and Subsequent Plans
COVID-19 had a devastating impact across the world with exploration and production activities adversely affected. Due to Botswana Government restrictions, MTB’s Project has been influenced, though activities are likely to resume, and planned works will commence once there is some sign of relief from the pandemic-
- Bulk Sensor Sorter X ray test work through STEINERT could be conducted following previous encouraging result, once travel and lockdown restrictions ease. Ample HQ core from Nxuu has been already recovered for the test work to occur in Perth.
- MTB also plans to send HQ core from the site to South Africa for EDS vertical milling process
- The host mineral of Germanium determination might pick up once Naples University reopens
Meanwhile, MTB has been granted $10k from ATO as part of COVID-19 State and Federal stimulus programs.
The stock quoted $ 0.003 on 29 May 2020 and traded with over 1.3 million shares. Its YTD return is 50%.
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