Iron ore explorer Akora Resources (ASX: AKO) has revealed initial assays from its latest resource drilling campaign at the Bekisopa iron project in Madagascar, uncovering very high-grade iron levels from surface, with low impurities.
The assays cover the first 18 shallow (less than 100m in depth) diamond drill holes designed to primarily determine the eastern extent of the iron mineralisation along strike. The results continue to show a near-surface, high-grade weathered massive iron zone and iron mineralisation at depth.
The highest assay interval graded 68.3% iron. Other drilling highlights also were: 6m at 67% iron, 2.1% silica and 2% alumina; 7m at 66% iron, 2.4% silica and 2.9% alumina; 15m at 65% iron, 1.9% silica and 1.5% alumina.
Akora said these very high-grade surface intercepts – greater than the benchmark iron grade of 62% – indicate potential for direct shipping ore (DSO) tonnes.
“Expectation is that this zone of very high-grade weathered iron at 62%-plus iron may be able to be mined, crushed and screened to produce high-grade lump and fines DSO products,” the company reported.
“This in conjunction with the known outcropping iron ore, where rock chips showed an average iron grade of 66.7%, could be the focus for an initial mining phase producing the high-grade lump and fines products.”
Drilling finished in iron mineralisation
Of the first 18 drill holes, 16 intercepted iron mineralisation at surface and hole BEKD14 finished in iron mineralisation at 107m, grading 43% iron and remaining open at depth.
Assays averaged 60% iron within the weathered massive iron zone down to depths of 15-20m from surface, along and across strike. At depth, head grades were as high as 65% iron and averaged 34.4% iron.
Akora said the results showed potential for mining high-grade DSO lump and fines, at grades higher than 62% iron, from outcrop and from within the expansive near-surface weathered massive iron zone.
“This high-grade weathered massive iron mineralisation has the potential to form the first phase of mining activities due to its characteristics being equivalent to DSO with average head grades better than benchmark and low impurity levels,” the company stated.
Drilling continues ahead of resource estimate
Akora has completed a total of 30 shallow diamond drill holes in the program with assay results for the further 12 holes expected in early November.
Drilling continues in the north on a series of deep holes to confirm depth potential beyond 100m, then the campaign will move back to the southern area to complete planned holes designed to extend the drill grid width and length, adding tonnage to the Bekisopa mineral resource estimate.
Akora is anticipating a JORC resource estimate by year end “assuming the drilling equipment, sample preparation, international logistics and resource estimation continues to plan”.