Metal Tiger targets further drilling at Botswana copper JV following recent government approval (MTR)

Resources firm Metal Tiger (LSE:MTR) has submitted another drilling plan to authorities for its copper joint venture in Botswana after getting the green light for work earlier this month. The company has provided an environmental management plan to the Botswana Department of Environmental Affairs requesting permission to drill within the 697km2 T20 Dome complex at the project in the country’s Kalahari Copper Belt.

Metal Tiger hopes to drill new and existing identified targets along a 140km long strike at T20’s central structural corridor. An additional 939km2 airborne electromagnetic geophysics survey is also planned at the site in the middle of this year to link up three previous surveys. If today’s plan is approved, it will increase the total drilling area available to the two partners in the Kalahari Copper Belt to approximately 1,377km2.

The Kalahari Copper Belt project is a 30/70 joint venture between Metal Tiger and Australian business MOD Resources (ASX:MOD). On top of its stake, Metal Tiger owns around a 6pc stake in MOD and more than 1.5m options exercisable at 6 cents on or before 15 April 2019.

Earlier this month, the joint venture received drilling approval for a campaign at the 50km long T3 Dome in the Kalahari Copper Belt.  The T3 Dome EMP is currently in the middle of a four-week public review period, but drilling is expected to begin in May this year, initially targeting ten anomalies identified from an airborne electromagnetic survey. When used in conjunction with 3D modelling, the drilling is expected to help in targeting areas of the T3 Dome prospective for hosting high-grade copper vein deposits. The JV partners have already discovered two significant resources at the T3 Dome. The first, called T1, is 100pc controlled by MOD, while the second, T3, is 70pc owned by MOD and 30pc held by Metal Tiger.

Michael McNeilly chief executive of Metal Tiger said today: ‘The submission of the EMP for the T20 Dome will, where awarded, provide access to important strategic ground for the JV and open up an additional 697km2 of underexplored and prospective Kalahari copper belt for drilling. Opening the T20 Dome for drilling will allow the possibility of adding to a pipeline of confirmed copper targets whilst we move the T3 Resource through the mine feasibility study process. With the recently awarded T3 Dome EMP, drilling is planned to commence at the T3 Dome in May, and we look forward to the prospect of exciting drill intersections.’

The T3 Deposit was discovered in March 2016 when a reverse circulation drill hole intersected 52m at 2pc copper and 32g/t silver from shallow depth.  The maiden T3 JORC-compliant mineral resource was announced on 26 September 2016 with the first resource upgrade published on 24 August 2017. In December 2016, a scoping study was released for a mine at T3 with a 2Mtpa processing plant, an indicative mine life of 10 years and an average production rate of 21,800tpa of copper and 665,000oz pa of silver.

Work on a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) commenced in January 2017, and the partners discovered additional deeper copper mineralisation below the T3 Resource in February 2017. Phase 2 drilling of T3 began on 7 August 2017, including up to 70 planned diamond core drill holes designed to infill the current resource and test for possible extensions.  In January, the results of the Pre-Feasibility Study were released, including a base case scenario with plant throughput of 2.5Mtpa that revealed an indicated EBITDA of around $730m over nine years for the JV. If an expansion case proceeds, the study showed the potential for approximately $1.1bn EBITDA over 12 years.

Author: Daniel Flynn

Disclosure: The author of this piece does not own shares in the companies mentioned.

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