Minerals sands explorer Sovereign Metals (ASX: SVM) has confirmed it is progressing a scoping study for the large and undeveloped Kasiya natural rutile project in the southern African country of Malawi.
The study represents the next major technical milestone toward the development of a large-scale, long-life, socially-responsible and environmentally-sustainable rutile operation.
It has been designed to demonstrate an economic assessment of the company’s business case to an accuracy of plus or minus 30%.
Engineering firm DRA Global has been appointed to lead the study, given its extensive experience with minerals sand and graphite projects across East Africa.
Other consultants on the study include Orelogy Mining for scheduling and pit optimisation, Paragon Tailings (mining method and tailings management), Epoch Resources (tailings disposal), Allied Minerals Laboratories (flowsheet development and metallurgy), Dhamana Consulting (environmental and social services) and TZMI (marketing).
Malawi-based drilling contractor Geoconsult has two rigs in operation at Kasiya for a program comprising more than 200 holes targeting the central, high-grade rutile corridors.
Sovereign said the holes are designed to bring areas of mineralisation into the indicated category of the maiden mineral resource estimate to underpin the scoping study.
The resource totals 644 million tonnes at 1.01% rutile for 6.5Mt of contained metal and confirms Kasiya as one of the world’s largest rutile deposits.
The area covered by the estimate represents only 49sq km (or 43%) of the project’s 114sq km drilled mineralised footprint.
Sovereign said there is opportunity to significantly expand on the mineral resource in the near-to-medium term.
Managing director Julian Stephens is on-site to oversee the drilling program and engage in meetings with Malawi government senior officials and other key stakeholders.
The globally-significant Kasiya project is located in a stable, transparent jurisdiction with existing infrastructure including grid power and a sealed road network.
The project is in close proximity to the capital city of Lilongwe, providing access to a skilled workforce, mining facilities and industrial services.
It also has access to a rail corridor which links to the deep-water port of Nacala in Mozambique, enabling a low-cost transport solution and access to major international markets.