Pilot phase at Sovereign’s Malawi project on track

12th June 2024

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online


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ASX- and Aim-listed Sovereign Metals says pilot site construction for the ongoing pilot mining and land rehabilitation programme (pilot phase) at the Kasiya rutile/graphite project, in Malawi, is on schedule, with groundworks under way.

“This pilot phase is a step-change for Kasiya and demonstrates our ability to execute in Malawi. The early works are progressing as planned – on schedule and within budget.

“We are very pleased with the progress and specifically how the mobile fleet is performing in the soft saprolite ore, confirming our understanding of how simple mining, with no drilling or blasting required, will contribute to low operating costs,” says MD Frank Eagar.

The construction fleet is on site, with groundwork to excavate the water storage pond and build the test areas currently under way.

Site equipment is currently moving 5 000 m3 of earth a day.

The fleet comprises four excavators, 20 trucks and a support fleet, including two bulldozers and a motor grader.

A perimeter fence around the 9.9 ha pilot site has been erected to maintain the necessary health and safety standards.

Sovereign’s strategic investor, Rio Tinto, is assisting with establishing health and safety protocols and implementation on a day-to-day basis.

Eight water extraction boreholes have been commissioned and are delivering water to the site, with the filling of the water storage pond to follow.

The temporary water storage pond is currently being excavated and will be sealed using natural clay from excavated material. This will minimise the use of conventional plastic lining at the pilot site in accordance with Sovereign’s objectives for a sustainable operation at Kasiya, the company points out.

Key contractors and consultants have also been appointed across all major disciplines essential for the pilot phase.

The pilot phase will be an educational opportunity for project stakeholders, says Sovereign, pointing out that it will undertake a series of stakeholder visits and consultations for this purpose.

Sovereign’s objective is to restore land after mining to conditions that achieve the same or better agricultural yields than existing land uses and crop yields, it emphasises.

The pilot phase is expected to demonstrate to local communities the successful rehabilitation of land for agricultural use post-mining. Land rehabilitation will, therefore, form an integral component of the ongoing optimisation study.

Results will also allow Sovereign to determine optimal excavation and backfill approaches, providing critical information for the upcoming definitive feasibility study. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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