Genmin’s key quarterly activities build momentum around Baniaka iron ore project

Genmin ASX GEN Baniaka iron ore project June 2021 Gabon Africa
This quarter will see Genmin ramp up resource growth and infill drilling at Baniaka and the completion of pilot-scale metallurgical test work.

Exploration company Genmin (ASX: GEN) experienced a strong start to the next stage of works at its Baniaka iron ore project in West Africa’s Republic of Gabon during the three months to end June.

In its quarterly report released this week, the company cited the recommencement of diamond drilling, a detrital iron deposits (DID) resource update and the start of pilot-scale metallurgical test work as key activities which helped build momentum around the project’s execution.

In May, the company announced it had appointed global mining consultancy Golder Associates to update the DID estimate for the Tsengué and Bandjougoy prospects based on data from 118 infill auger holes for a total 1,464m.

In line with the company’s expectations, minor variations in tonnage and grade for both prospects were noted in comparison to the original estimate released in April last year.

Total tonnage increased 4.3% from 60.5 million tonnes to 63.1Mt, while the in-situ iron grade reduced by 1.3% from 47.2% to 46.6% and overall contained metal increased by 3.2%.

Indicated DID resources materially increased from 11.6Mt to 24Mt, representing an approximate 107% uplift over the original estimate.

Overall, the indicated category now comprises 38% of the total reported 63.1Mt DID estimate.

Metallurgical test work

Pilot-scale metallurgical test work commenced at South African specialist mineral processing and engineering firm Bond Equipment following receipt of samples in the March quarter.

Bulk samples weighing a combined 21t were representative of DID (DID and hybrid) and oxide mineralisation from within the mineral resource envelope at Baniaka.

Test work aimed to develop engineering level process design criteria, confirm product yields and grade, and provide large (more than 500kg) product samples for value-in-use test work to feed into Baniaka’s pre-feasibility study.

At the close of the quarter, feed preparation, wet scrubbing and screening, and particle size distribution analysis (PSD) had been completed on six out of 13 samples with ongoing work including further PSD assessment on wet scrubbed products.

Preparation works

General preparation works to support infill and definition drilling programs progressed according to schedule during the quarter.

Genmin signed a contract with Gabon-based civil engineering firm SOCOBA-EDTPL and works continued on the maintenance of a 31km access road to support larger and high-frequency traffic during drilling programs and other pre-feasibility study workstreams.

Civil consultant Tanit was appointed to supervise SOCOBA and ensure the works are completed on schedule and to design.

Site work relating to the installation of a 50,000 litre bunded bulk fuel storage facility at the Tsengué base camp is approaching completion.

Additional works include the refurbishment and provision of new containerised accommodation to house nightshift drill crews to afford double-shifted operation of diamond and reverse circulation drill rigs.

Drilling progress

During the quarter, Genmin signed an agreement with contractor Boart Longyear (ASX: BLY) for an initial 2,000m of diamond drilling at the Bandjougoy prospect to test oxide mineralisation and provide information for the conversion of mineral resources to ore reserves.

It also executed a contract with FFA Gabon (part of diversified French company Groupe Duval) for an initial 10,000m of reverse circulation drilling to commence in the current quarter at Bandjougoy and Bingamba North.

Australian port and coastal engineering firm PRDW was engaged to conduct a gap analysis and assessment study of scale-up plans for the Owendo mineral port.

The study will focus on the identification of existing and future bottlenecks and how these may impact Genmin’s plans to utilise the facilities.

It is scheduled for completion during the current quarter.

Licence extension

Genmin holds six iron ore exploration licences in the Republic of Gabon covering approximately 5,270sq km.

The Baniaka project – comprising the Baniaka and Baniaka West exploration licences – is the most advanced of these and exploration since 2013 has defined a cumulative strike length over 85km of iron mineralisation, subdivided into 12 prospects of varying maturity.

In June, Genmin submitted an application to the African regulator to extend the third term of validity of the Baniaka exploration licence for a further three years to allow for the continuation of technical, economic and commercial assessments.

At the end of the quarter, Genmin had approximately $25.7 million in cash on hand.

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