Resources firm Metal Tiger (LSE:MTR) has announced that its joint copper venture in Botswana has received drilling approval from the country’s authorities. The Botswana Department of Environmental Affairs has approved the environmental management plan (EMP) for a drilling campaign at the 50km long T3 Dome in the country’s Kalahari Copper Belt. The T3 Dome is controlled by a joint venture between Metal Tiger and Australian business MOD Resources (ASX:MOD).
The T3 Dome EMP is now subject to a four-week public review period, but drilling is expected to begin in May this year, initially targeting 10 anomalies identified from an airborne electromagnetic survey. It is hoped that the drilling, in conjunction with 3D modelling, will help to target areas in the T3 Dome prospective for hosting high-grade copper vein deposits. The EMP increases the T3 Dome’s available drilling area to around 680km2 and drilling is planned to commence with four rigs in addition to the three that are already drilling in the area.
Two significant resources have been discovered to date at the T3 Dome. The first, called T1, is 100pc controlled by MOD, while the second, T3, is 70pc owned by MOD and 30pc owned by Metal Tiger. In addition to its 30pc interest in the joint venture, Metal Tiger owns around a 6pc stake in MOD and more than 1.5m options in the company exercisable at 6 cents on or before 15 April 2019.
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 announced on 24 August 2017. A scoping study 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 was released in December 2016.
Work on a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) commenced in January 2017 and additional deeper copper mineralisation was discovered 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 indicated the potential for around $1.1bn EBITDA over 12 years.
Michael McNeilly chief executive at Metal Tiger, said: ‘The approval of the EMP for the T3 Dome is a key development for the JV, opening up an additional 680km2 of the prospective T3 Dome for drilling. Subject to the public review it is planned that four drill rigs can start turning in May, with the objective of testing the numerous anomalies already identified by the previous airborne geophysics and soil sampling programmes.
‘These high priority target anomalies represent an opportunity for the discovery of additional satellite copper deposits that could augment or supplement the potential offered by developing the T3 Open Pit Resource and its potential underground extensions. We look forward to the prospect of an exciting stream of regional drill results whilst the JV continues to progress the T3 Feasibility Study works.’