Mineral sands explorer Sovereign Metals (ASX: SVM) has announced the discovery of a “significant” area of high-grade rutile mineralisation within kilometres of its flagship Kasiya deposit in Malawi.
The new zone, named Nsaru, is located within the same geological domain as the large and high-grade Kasiya rutile deposit and was identified through geological modelling. An initial 39 wide-spaced, reconnaissance hand-auger holes were drilled for a total 371m to test the target.
Sovereign today reported that more than 87% of the holes hit high-grade rutile mineralisation within the top 8-12m of the weathering profile.
At this early stage of discovery, Nsaru is showing high-grade mineralisation from surface with widths of up to 5.5km and a current strike length of about 9km. The mineralisation also remains open to the north and importantly, to the south at its widest zone.
These drilling results have expanded Sovereign’s total mineralised footprint in Malawi to 91sq km, comprising 66sq km at Kasiya and 25sq km at Nsaru.
Sovereign managing director Dr Julian Stephens said this high-grade discovery confirms the company has one of the largest and globally significant rutile provinces on its hands.
“We are looking forward to the maiden JORC resource estimate for Kasiya next quarter, which we believe will put the company on the path toward eventually delineating one of the largest rutile deposits in the world,” he said.
Latest drilling results
Of the 39 holes drilled to depths of up to 14m, 34 holes showed rutile with very high grades encountered near surface: 13m at 1.27% rutile, including 4m at 1.62%; 11m at 1.24% including 5m at 1.56%; 9m at 1.38% rutile, including 4m at 1.43%; and 12m at 1.15%, including 3m at 2.05% rutile.
These results from Nsaru are similar to those received at Kasiya, where the majority of the highest rutile grades were intersected in the top 3-5m from surface. It is hoped that Nsaru may eventually link up with Kasiya once more drilling has been completed.
Sovereign’s maiden mineral resource estimate for Kasiya is advancing and will be based on a substantial portion of the extensive Kasiya footprint.
Given these positive results so far, the company has commenced a further, more systematic drilling program aimed at bringing the drill spacing closer to at least 800m by 400m in order to incorporate results into a future mineral resource estimate.
$8m secured to fund exploration
Sovereign also announced it has secured commitments for $8 million (gross proceeds) from Northern Hemisphere-based institutional investors for the placement of 20 million shares at $0.40 each, plus a one-for-two unlisted option with a 12-month expiry and an exercise price of $0.50.
Sprott Capital Partners acted as exclusive financial adviser with affiliates of the Sprott Group participating in the placement.
The raised funds are expected to be used on exploration and development activities at the company’s Malawian rutile assets including the delivery of Kasiya’s maiden mineral resource estimate expected next quarter.
“We are now well funded to continue accelerating our activities, with a number of key milestones to be met over the coming months,” Dr Stephens said.