Berg Aukas project enters evaluation stage
Chief Executive Officer of Weatherly plc, Rod Webster, recently indicated that development of its Berg Aukas mining project was on track and had entered an evaluation stage.
Weatherly plc’s involvement in the Berg Aukas project comes as a result of a 25% stake it holds in the project. Weatherly plc will also manage the project on behalf of its partner, and majority shareholder in the Berg Aukas mining project, China Africa Resources plc.
“The board of China Africa Resources plc is considering the pre-feasibility study by looking at both the scope and funding of an underground evaluation stage,” said Webster.
Webster remained positive about Weatherly’s involvement in the mine and said, “There is a reasonable likelihood that Weatherly will continue [on] as managers.”
Said Webster, “The next stage would involve pumping out the mine and accessing some of the key production levels to verify the reserves and quantify the costs involved in rehabilitating the mine.”
According to Webster, it will take approximately 12 months to pump out the second shaft on the site taking into account the time it will take to set up as well as the issuance of effluent disposal permits. The unhindered fulfilment of the set objectives would also allow Weatherly to forge ahead with the final plant design. Added Webster, “ If all stages proceed as planned, the mine could be fully operational in 2-3 years.”
A pre-feasibility study based on mining 250,000 tonnes of ore per annum would have the potential to create approximately jobs for 350 people directly, with a mine lifespan of ten years Webster said. Of late, the focus was on the progress of a feasibility study of the Berg Aukas deposit. China Africa Resources in 2013 announced a maiden Joint Ore Reserve Committee estimate at the Berg Aukas mine. Metallurgical test work in the core recovered from the 2012 drilling campaign has commenced at Mintek in South Africa. Once the resource estimate and ore body modelling is complete the mining study will commence.
The Berg Aukas underground mine operated from 1958 to 1978. The first shaft was established in 1958 with a second shaft sunk in 1968. From 1967 to 1978 it is reported that 2.3 million tonnes of material at 15.0% zinc, 3.9% lead and 0.85% vanadium oxide were hoisted from the mine, of this 1.5 million tonnes of ore at 21.5% zinc, 5.5% lead and 1.23% vanadium oxide was milled.
The mine closed in 1978 and significant resources remain unexploited. The majority of the remaining resource is located in areas of the mine where extensive development is in place, providing good access to the ore body.