Gradually, methodically, and with caution, Kavango Resources is inching towards an exploration prospect that could be as significant as anything it’s yet undertaken.
Indeed, the Kalahari Suture Zone in Botswana, which is already known to be highly prospective for nickel, copper and platinum group metals from depths of about 600 metres, may contain even greater riches further down.
Early signs are that at between about 1,000 metres and 2,000 there may be an iron-oxide-copper-gold deposit comparable in scale to BHP’s famous Olympic Dam project in Australia.
At this stage, it’s still a highly speculative proposition, but there are several positive indicators to support the theory.
First off, it’s not, in fact, new.
The idea was first mooted back in 1990–long before Kavango got its hands on the KSZ.
But back then, exploration techniques weren’t advanced as they are now, and although the theory looked tenable, alternative corroboration was thin on the ground.
Thirty years on, though, Kavango has been able to deploy what’s known as audio-magnetotelluric profiles to complement the existing geophysical and drill data that already indicates the presence of a major magnetic and gravity anomaly.
The company’s attention was initially drawn back to the potential presence of an iron-oxide-copper-gold deposit deep down at the KSZ after drilling conducted at the end of last year hit 4% magnetite at the end of the hole.
Magnetite is an ore of iron, and although 4% as a grade is nothing to write home about, its presence in conjunction with several other indicators aroused considerable interest inside the Kavango team.
It was time to reassess old data and time to deploy new technologies.
So, what are audio-magnetotellurics?
Essentially, they send long-range high frequency electromagnetic pulses into the earth down to depths of up to 10,000 metres. The procedure was first pioneered by INCO in the early 1990s, and was taken up by Falconbridge a few years later. After this, it began to gain widespread acceptance.
It took a while for Kavango to deploy the technology at the KSZ, though, in part because the company has had so much else going on. After all, even if there is an Olympic Dam-like project more than 1,000 metres down at KSZ, it’s still just as true that there might be something Norilsk-like a few hundred metres above it.
Now, though, with audio-magnetotellurics already providing support for the geological thesis that an IOCG deposit exists at the KSZ, Kavango wants to do more such surveys.
And why wouldn’t it?
Although Olympic Dam is considered a unique deposit, and the hypothetically comparable mineralisation at the KSZ is around 650 metres deeper, even something that bore similarities would be highly significant.
Well, Olympic Dam is one of the most famous and richest mines in the world. It yields several of the world’s key commodities, including uranium, which is likely to enjoy increasing demand in the current energy price environment.
For something that deep to be economically viable at the KSZ, it would have to be big. But the early signs are that it is–which is why Kavango wants to have a closer look.
The magnetic anomaly that presents at the key portion of the KSZ known as the Great Red Spot shows significant similarities to the anomaly that led to the discovery of Olympic Dam back in 1975.
What adds real fuel to the fire, though, is the audio-magnetotellurics. These weren’t available in 1975, but nonetheless, at this stage, they corroborate the geological model Kavango is beginning to be build up at the KSZ.
So, there is an extra layer of geological data that wasn’t available to the original discoverers of Olympic Dam that is available to Kavango. It’s not something to rush into. But, on the other hand, it could be the biggest thing to hit Botswana since DeBeers.
Author: Alexander Crossing
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