Iron mining a possibility
Reptile Uranium Namibia says it will continue evaluating the potential of its Shiyela Iron Project despite recent announcement by parent company, Deep Yellow Limited that it was scaling down overheads on its local exploration programme
Reptile Uranium’s general manager, Klaus Frielingsdorf said the company will continue with testwork and studies to determine the extent and the yield of the Shiyela Iron Project as the deposit looks promising.
“The study that we carried out showed us that it is a solid project at scoping study level as all aspects of the project looked positive,” Frielingsdorf told the Economist.
The Shiyela Iron Project was an “unintentional” discovery as the area was targeted for uranium using aero-magnetic anomalies associated with the company’s INCA uranium deposit. It was intended to target additional uraniferous magnetite occurrences like INCA as an extension of their uranium exploration activities.
At the time of the discovery, iron prices were relatively high and due to the prospect’s favourable location close to Walvis Bay, further investigation was warranted. Samples of the diamond core were sent to Promet Engineering in Perth to conduct metallurgical scoping tests and very promising results were obtained which prompted the explorer to conduct additional testwork and a scoping study on Shiyela.
Frielingsdorf said that they carried out an extensive drill programme over the M62 and M63 magnetic anomaly targeting a resource to sustain an approximate minimum of a 10 year life of mine at two million tonnes per annum concentrate production capacity.
He said that these two anomalies were geologically similar but that M63 had a higher hematite content associated with magnetite compared to M62 that is magnetite dominant. Explaining the two iron minerals, Frielingsdorf said that hematite contains more oxygen compared to magnetite and that it requires higher magnetic field strength to recover compared to magnetite.
The M62 mineral resource contains 43.7 million tonnes of ore with a 16.99% Davis Tube Recovery and a head grade of 17.11% Fe while the M63 resource contains 35 million tonnes of ore with a 15.16% Davis Tube Recovery and a head grade of 21.07% Fe.
The Shiyela Iron Project is subject to ongoing appraisal with indications at this stage that a mine on the site will have a lifespan of between eight and 10 years.
“The initial drilling programme was successful with a potential open pit mine over M62 and M63 having an estimated depth of between two hundred to two hundred and fifty metres subject to final mine plan and pit optimisation exercises,” Frielingsdorf said
Currently, metallurgical testwork to define the hematite recovery circuit, as well as additional Davis Tube Recovery Concentrate assays are being conducted to enable a resource update to be completed by the end of September. The results will be fed into an updated scoping study after which the company will look to divest a majority stake to a company that can develop the project. This will allow Reptile to focus on its exciting core uranium projects.