THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Blackthorn Resources (ASX:BTR) has had a scoping study completed for the company’s 100 per cent-owned Kitumba project located in Zambia, which hosts the Kitumba resource.
The Study was based on a recently completed geological model by MSA Group ,which estimated 439 million tonnes of in situ ore at a 0.25 per cent copper cut-off, comprising 164 million tonnes of Indicated Mineral Resource and 275 million tonnes of Inferred Mineral Resource.
Key points to arise from the study include:
– Support for the potential for a large open cut mine based on the recently announced Mineral Resource estimate by the MSA Group;
– Estimated mineable ore of 84.5Mt Run of Mine (ROM) at 1.19 per cent copper and a strip ratio of 2.4:1 (tonnes of waste per ROM tonne of ore);
– Ore production of approximately 7.5Mt per annum to produce a 30 per cent copper concentrate;
– Copper metal production potential ranges from 55,000 tonnes per annum in early years ramping up to 75,000 tonnes per annum pa in the latter years;
– Open cut production mine life of approximately 14 years;
– Cash cost estimate of US$31.45 per ROM tonne ($1.49 per pound of copper);
– Estimated start-up capital expenditure of US$377 million;
– Pre-feasibility and underground operation studies to be initiated; and
– Further metallurgical studies are planned, including assessment of the viability of heap leaching of oxide ore.
The open-pit development involves a series of cutbacks.
Proposed pit cross-section. Source: Company announcement
The company said this approach minimises the quantity of overburden pre-strip, and provides earlier access to higher grade ore deeper in the deposit as well as reducing the initial strip ratio to deliver a better economic outcome.
“This is a very important milestone in the history of the Kitumba deposit within the Mumbwa project. Blackthorn Resources managing director Scott Lowe said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“While much work remains to be done, this outcome gives some indication of economic potential and gives us great encouragement and justification for further expenditure.
“We now intend to progress to prefeasibility level studies, along with further drilling to potentially extend the resource.
“We are looking forward to gathering the additional data required to increase confidence, and examining the potential benefits of underground operations.
“Mumbwa is shaping up to be a potentially valuable copper project with few rivals in the market place.”