TSX-V-listed diamond and metals explorer Tsodilo Resources reports that the first set of geotechnical lab test results for its wholly-owned Xaudum iron project, conducted on the Xaudum iron formation (XIF), indicate that the XIF materials are competent and have good to moderate strength properties.
This outcome, Tsodilo states, will result in a positive set of geotechnical parameters to be used in the ongoing preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of the XIF project, in Botswana.
In addition, with rock strength data being important in generating slope designs for safe mining, Tsodilo notes that this set of lab test data will contribute to further geotechnical studies into rock mass rating for pit stability and pit wall design during the engineering stage of the PEA.
The aim of conducting lab tests on these XIF samples is to measure the ranges at which the XIF will fail under tension, compression and shear on their discontinuities.
To test these properties, the selected samples from XIF geodomains were subjected to various tests, including 18 unconfined compressive strength (UCS) tests, eight Brazilian tensile strength (BTS) tests and four direct shear strength tests.
These 31 tests were conducted at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology by the Mining and Geological Engineering department.
Tsodilo chairperson and CEO James Bruchs says the results were what Tsodilo expected, showing that the XIF materials are all within standard mechanical rock property ranges and that there will be no geotechnical issues arising from the XIF materials.
“[The results] confirm that the XIF will show ‘normal’ pit wall angles as assumed in [Tsodilo’s] previous resource reporting.”
The UCS and the BTS strength tests indicate that the XIF major geodomains are competent and strong in both dimensions of compression and tension.
The UCS mode of failure indicates that diamictite schist formation, diamictite schist weathered formation and weathered banded magnetite tend to show a preferred mode of failure related to the foliation.
Tsodilo states that this is not as common for banded magnetite formation and calcrete overburden.