OCT 30, 2006 - 02:00 ET
African Copper Plc: Thakadu Project Exploration Returns High Grade Copper-Silver Drill Intersections; Pre-feasibility Study Underway
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 30, 2006) - African Copper Plc (TSX:ACU)(AIM:ACU)(BSE:AFRICAN COPPER) -
African Copper Plc ("African Copper" or the "Company") announces initial drilling results from the first of the high priority targets in the Matsitama Schist belt. The Thakadu Project contains sediment-hosted stratabound disseminated sulphide zones in a metamorphosed sedimentary sequence with minor volcanic and volcaniclastic units.
The drill results presented here include 4.18% copper and 45 g/t silver over 25.85 metres and 2.10% copper and 11 g/t silver over 24.91 metres at Thakadu. Approximately 900 metres to the west, a single drillhole returned 1.78% copper and 20 g/t silver over 8.15 metres. Further to the west, another drill hole returned 2.15% copper and 48 g/t silver over 12.18 metres. These drill holes cover approximately 2000 metres of strike extent. These results are from a twin-hole drill programme designed to verify historic results from exploration programmes conducted by other companies over the past 40 years. Specific drillholes were selected for twinning such that a wide variation in grades, thicknesses of mineralized horizons, depth of intersections and strike extent could be tested. Drilling is on-going and further results will be released when they become available.
The primary sulphide minerals are chalcopyrite (85-90%) and bornite (10-15%) with minor pyrite adjacent to the copper bearing material. The upper 50 metres of the deposits are characterized by secondary zones of oxidation where the primary sulphides are replaced by chalcocite, malachite and cuprite-tenorite together with traces of native copper and marcasite. Previous operators completed extensive metallurgical tests that showed a copper recovery of 90 to 96% can be achieved by flotation of the sulphides producing a sulphide concentrate containing 28 to 32% copper and approximately 250 g/t silver.
Joe Hamilton, Chief Operating Officer of African Copper, commented "The deposits at the Thakadu Project show striking similarities to the sedimentary hosted copper deposits of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The structural setting, age of mineralization and associated rock types and mineralogy are almost identical to those found in some of the larger copper deposits. The grade is certainly equivalent. The Thakadu and Makala deposits lie within Botswana which has a low geopolitical risk, good infrastructure and a skilled workforce. The proximity to road, rail, power and water will be an asset in the development of these deposits to be fast-tracked."
The Thakadu Project area is approximately 70 kilometres to the southeast of the Company's flagship Dukwe Project within the prolific Matsitama Metasedimentary Belt. The Dukwe project is under construction with production expected early in 2008.
Thakadu lies at the eastern end of a 40 kilometre long mineralized belt which contains numerous showings of sedimentary hosted copper-silver, copper-lead-zinc and zinc-silver. Historic drilling has concentrated on two deposits that are approximately 2000 metres apart but only sporadic exploration has been conducted between the two deposits. Surface geochemistry and geophysics, as well as geologic mapping and trenching, indicates that the folded stratigraphy is probably continuous between the two deposits, and that mineralization may extend for up to 2000 metres to the west of known drilling. These deposits are five to ten kilometres from the Francistown-Orapa paved highway.
The historical dataset assembled over the past 40 years on these deposits includes approximately 39,000 metres (156 holes) of surface percussion and diamond drilling, prospect shafts to a depth of approximately 70 metres on each deposit with a combined 620 metres of lateral development, 882 metres of underground diamond drilling, 3 tonne samples of oxide and sulphide material for bench scale metallurgical test work, 180 tonnes of sulphide mineralization taken for pilot plant test work and a variety of hydrogeological, geotechnical, and mineralogical investigations. The deepest drill holes historically attained a vertical depth of about 550 metres and were still well mineralized indicating that the down dip potential is significant. This work culminated in the late 1990s with a fully permitted Mining Licence granted over the concession. No construction ever commenced and the Mining Licence defaulted back to the Botswana government in late 2003. The area became open for acquisition in March of 2004 and a Prospecting Licence was granted to African Copper in January 2005.
Four feasibility studies were completed on the Thakadu Project deposits by previous operators between 1980 and 1993. These studies noted a number of constraints to development at that time including available water and electrical power supplies and a lack of skilled workers in the region. As a consequence of this, small mining projects were considered in the studies. The economic evaluations indicated that reasonable profitability could be achieved, albeit at modest levels of cash flow. The infrastructure situation has changed in the region with marked improvements in the available water and power supplies. The Thakadu Project deposits need to be re-evaluated in the light of these changes. Additional information with respect to the Thakadu deposits is contained in a technical report prepared by A.C.A Howe International Limited dated March 30, 2006 and entitled "Technical Report on the Dukwe Copper Project and Matsitama Prospecting Licences, Botswana, Africa". A copy of this technical report can be obtained from the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com.
A table showing the composite assay intervals for the diamond drill holes is attached to this press release. A plan map showing the location of these holes and historical holes is available on the African Copper website at www.africancopper.com. Cross sections of the drill holes reported herein are also available on the website.
African Copper is a tri-listed (AIM, TSX, Botswana Stock Exchange) international exploration and development company. African Copper is planning to develop its first copper mine at the Dukwe Project and commence production in 2008. The Company's other interests are the 4,000 sq km Matsitama exploration concession adjacent to Dukwe, which contains the Thakadu Project deposits in addition to a further 9 high priority drill-ready targets and 35 lower priority targets. African Copper has approximately 130 million shares outstanding.
Mr. Joseph Hamilton, P.Geo, and Chief Operating Officer of African Copper, is a "qualified person" as defined in Canada by National Instrument 43-101. This press release has been prepared under Mr. Hamilton's supervision. Mr. Hamilton has verified the data disclosed in this press release, including the sampling, analytical and test data underlying the information.
This document contains or refers to forward-looking information, including exploration results, potential mineralization and resources, exploration and development plans and timing of commencement of operations and is based on current expectations that involve a number of business risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statement include, but are not limited to, failure to establish estimated resources and reserves, the grade and recovery of ore which is mined varying from estimates, capital and operating costs varying significantly from estimates, delays in obtaining or failures to obtain required governmental, environmental or other project approvals, political risks arising from operating in Africa, uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future, uncertainties due to inflation, changes in exchange rates, fluctuations in commodity prices, delays in the development of projects and other risks involved in the mineral exploration and development industry. Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expected results. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and the Company assumes no responsibility to update them or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances other than required by law.
Further information about our properties, to download a copy of our Annual Report, or any technical report or to access our Press Release Archive please visit. www.sedar.com or our website at www.africancopper.com
Table 1: Thakadu Project Drilling Intersections
Note: These intersections are not true widths since all holes are drilled to the northeast into the mineralized zone that dips to the southwest. Samples of half core were cut and placed into sealed bags at the Thakadu exploration camp under the direct supervision of RSG Global Consulting ("RSG"). These were transported weekly by commercial carrier to Johannesburg. All sample preparation and analyses were completed at ALS Chemex laboratories in Johannesburg (ISO 17025 accredited and independent of African Copper and RSG). Copper assays are completed using standard preparation of crushing to 70% less than 2 mm followed by splitting and pulverizing to 85% less than 75 micron. Analyses are generally completed utilizing 27 element four-acid ICP-AES in addition to a four-acid ore-grade element digestion followed by ICP-AES. Any overlimit analyses are reanalyzed using an ore-grade four-acid digestion with AA or ICP-AES finish. QA/QC procedures included the submission by RSG of systematic duplicates, blanks and both low-grade and high-grade standard samples within the sample batches submitted to ALS Chemex. Control samples comprise 20% of all samples submitted. No referee analysis has yet occurred. The results of the RSG QA/QC programme for copper analyses have been reviewed by RSG. Mr. Joseph Hamilton, P.Geo. and the Chief Operating Officer of the Company has reviewed the results presented above for accuracy.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:African Copper Plc
David Jones / Joseph Hamilton
+44 (0) 20 7321 3721
Numis Securities Limited (NOMAD)
John Harrison / James Black
+44 (0) 20 7776 1590
Justine Howarth / Ana Ribeiro
+44 (0) 20 7493 3713
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