Sandfire has completed a maiden probable ore reserve for the deposit comprising 114,000 tonnes of contained copper and 5.7mln ounces of contained silver (with 9.7mln tonnes with 1.2% copper and 18 grams per tonne silver).
It means that some 85% of the deposit’s contained copper is now classified as reserves and confirms the deposit as a high-grade source of additional ore feed for the Motheo copper mine, around 8 kilometres away.
“Given the speed from discovery of A4 in early Q1 2020 to today we remain confident that Sandfire will continue to deliver key milestones at a quick pace,” Michael McNeilly, chief executive of Metal Tiger, said.
Sandfire will now move directly to a definitive feasibility study for the Motheo expansion, and the study is due by the third quarter of 2022.
McNeilly described it as a pivotal moment in Sandfire’s plans to establish a major new long-term mining hub.
“In my opinion these sorts of robust numbers help provide a steady base from which to grow, both underpinning the investment case in Sandfire as well as underpinning a base case value of the 2% uncapped royalty where I believe A4 has significant room to expand but also that there will be additional discoveries to feed the hub that will be captured by MTR’s royalty,” McNeilly said in a statement.
“Exploration, especially resource drill outs in the KCB are not budget light affairs so the fact that Sandfire are committed to continuing significant drilling both in the near-mine area but also over the wider Kalahari Copperbelt is why I believe the Kalahari Copperbelt will emerge as a significant production hub in the medium term.”
McNeilly added: “It is also worth noting that significant work has already progressed on areas such as environmental studies and approvals, met testwork, geotechnical drilling and analysis and mine scheduling and open pit optimisation.
“Subject to currently fast-tracked environmental & social impact assessment studies and mining licence approvals it is clear that should further optimisation, which includes combined T3 and A4 open pit scheduling prove optimal then we could potentially see A4 ore production brought forward.”
Metal Tiger currently holds approximately 3.4% of Sandfire’s issued share capital and has a 2% uncapped net smelter royalty over the area.