Sovereign Metals (ASX: SVM) has returned high-grade results from a recent drilling campaign at its Malingunde saprolite-hosted graphite flake deposit in the African nation of Malawi.
An aircore drilling program was conducted on the project in late 2017, with 210 holes for 6212 metres completed.
The program was designed to further define and upgrade the resource classification levels for inclusion in the project’s ongoing pre-feasibility study, as well as to test the graphite mineralisation at Malingunde South Extension and other targets.
According to Sovereign Metals, the results continued to confirm the “excellent consistency” of high-grade mineralisation along strike, and the substantial vertical thickness of the deposit.
Highlights from assays for the first batch of aircore samples included 23m grading at 21.2% total graphitic carbon (TGC), and 36m at 11.1% TGC including 8m at 20.1% TGC.
“Importantly, the deposit contains very high-grade zones circa 15 to 20 per cent TGC of very coarse flake graphite mineralisation hosted in soft saprolite,” Sovereign Metals managing director Dr Julian Stephens said.
“The combination of grade, flake size and the soft nature of the host saprolite create a fantastic platform to develop a low cost, high margin graphite operation,” he added.
Results for the remaining 192 aircore holes are expected to be delivered in the next four to six weeks, Sovereign Metals reported.
Sovereign Metals wholly-owns the two prospecting licences that make up the Malingunde project, located 15km southwest of Malawi’s capital city of Lilongwe. The tenements are also situated 25km from operating rail and 20km from a major power sub-station.
In November, the company commenced its pre-feasibility study for the project, which intends to build on the promising results derived from a recently completed scoping study.
The scoping study demonstrated the project’s potential to become a very low cost operating mine, producing an annual graphite concentration production of approximately 44,000 tonnes over an initial 17 years.
The pre-feasibility study is anticipated for completion by mid-2018. The purpose of the program is to increase the resource classification level for the Malingunde mine plan, as well as test several surrounding prospects for high-grade saprolite-hosted graphite mineralisation.
Sovereign Metals said the Malingunde’s resource estimate was expected to be updated early in the second quarter of 2018.