Extensional and infill drilling at Sovereign Metals’ (ASX: SVM) Central Malawi rutile project in East Africa has tripled the mineralised footprint of the flagship Kasiya deposit from 22sq km to approximately 66sq km and identified new areas of high-grade rutile.
The Phase 7 program has also extended the strike length of the rutile-mineralised envelope from approximately 7.5km with widths of up to 3km, to over 16km with widths of up to 6km.
Sovereign said 50 extensional holes were drilled to the east, north and south-east of Kasiya’s core mineralised zone and fall within the targeted area for Central Malawi’s upcoming mineral resource estimate.
A number of high-grade intercepts from surface were encountered in these holes.
Among the best results were assays of 9m at 1.02% including 4m at 1.3% rutile; 13m at 1.01% including 3m at 1.32% rutile; 12m at 1.47% including 4m at 2% rutile; and 10m at 1.41% including 4m at 1.88% rutile.
The company said results from 32 infill drillholes also showed high rutile grades from surface, with all holes limited to the central portion of the main resource target area.
Best results from infill drilling were 12m at 1.01% including 4m at 1.24% rutile; 16m at 1.16% including 4m at 1.6% rutile; 9m at 1.27% including 2m at 2% rutile; and 7m at 1.27% including 2m at 1.92% rutile.
Sovereign managing director Dr Julian Stephens said the results validate the company’s geological exploration model and provide a step-change in the potential size of Kasiya.
“A threefold increase in the rutile-mineralised footprint shows that Kasiya could well develop into one of the largest rutile deposits in the world,” he said.
The assays build on earlier phases of drilling which pointed to Kasiya’s potential.
“It is now clear that [our] geological team has the ability to predict, with some accuracy, new areas of rutile mineralisation prior to any on-ground soil sampling or drilling,” Dr Stephens said.
“If [our] geological exploration model continues to hold true regionally, the rutile potential across Sovereign’s exploration licences in Malawi is immense.”
Sovereign’s bulk-scale metallurgy program has also shown “exceptional outcomes”, with premium chemical and sizing parameters producing over 98% recovery via conventional “off the shelf” processing methods.
“This continues to consolidate our view that we have discovered a potentially globally-significant deposit that forms part of a new rutile province,” Dr Stephens said.