Assays from Sovereign Metals’ (ASX: SVM) phase two drilling program at the recently-discovered Nsaru deposit in Malawi’s prolific rutile province have increased the deposit’s mineralised footprint by 15 square kilometres.
Step-out drilling was completed on 98 exploration holes to depths of 14m, with 94 holes showing rutile with “very high grades” within 5m from surface.
Highlights were 11m at 1.29% including 5m at 1.55% rutile; 10m at 1.51% including 3m at 1.99% rutile; 10m at 1.51% including 4m at 2.14% rutile; and 8m at 1.25% including 5m at 1.43% rutile.
The assays have increased Nsaru’s footprint by 37% from 25sq km to 40sq km and drilling at both Nsaru and the nearby high-grade Kasiya deposit have now defined a “very large-scale area” of high-grade rutile totalling 129sq km.
Sovereign managing director Dr Julian Stephens said the company will continue to work towards a maiden resource estimate at Nsaru before year end.
“Nsaru validates the view that we have discovered one of the world’s largest and most strategic natural rutile provinces,” he said.
“We are rapidly progressing resource drilling for a JORC estimate… [it] is an important step in our objective of becoming a future supplier of premium-grade natural rutile to global titanium markets.”
Strong rutile potential
Nsaru was initially identified in March as an area with strong potential for rutile mineralisation using Sovereign’s proprietary geological exploration targeting model.
The deposit is located a few kilometres from Kasiya and may eventually link up with it once more drilling has been completed.
Testing of Nsaru commenced with 39 wide-spaced, reconnaissance, hand-auger holes as part of a phase one drilling campaign for a total 371m.
A further 98 holes for 842m have been completed as part of a phase two infill and extensional drilling program which intersected high-grade rutile mineralisation generally from surface to 14m depth.
Nsaru now shows a high-grade mineralised envelope with widths of up to 9km and a strike length of about 11.5km.
When added to Kasiya’s 89sq km mineralised area, Sovereign’s total high-grade mineralised footprint in Malawi sits at 129sq km.
Approximately 38% of this is classified within the Kasiya mineral resource estimate of 644 million tonnes grading 1.01% rutile.
Nsaru is located within the same geological domain as Kasiya, suggesting potential for significant resource growth.