GoviEx announces higher openpit mineral resources at Muntanga

17th July 2023 By: Cameron Mackay - Creamer Media Senior Online Writer

Mineral resources company GoviEx Uranium has announced an updated mineral resource estimate (MRE) for its mine-permitted Muntanga uranium project, in Zambia.

The Muntanga project comprises three mining permits that cover about 720 km2 and contains five deposits – Dibbwi, Dibbwi East, Muntanga, Gwabi and Njame.

“Our drilling campaigns in 2021 and 2022 have led to a significant update in the Muntanga MRE. This progress is characterised by a notable growth in in-pit resources, a substantial conversion of inferred resources into the indicated category, and an overall rise in uranium grades,” enthuses GoviEx CEO Daniel Major.

“What’s more exciting is that this upward trajectory in resource growth persists even under lower uranium prices, such as the $50/lb used in our preliminary economic assessment (PEA).

There is also additional potential for further upgrading of inferred resources, thereby expanding the resources that can be included in the feasibility study. These are very promising results and will be integrated into our ongoing feasibility study,” he comments.

The updated MRE is the result of extensive infill drilling, including 8 010 m drilled in 2021, and a further 19 990 m drilling in 2022 predominately on the Dibbwi East deposit, to further delineate the deposit and convert inferred resources to the indicated category.

The mineral resource update included a comprehensive reassessment of previous work and a revised correlation between down-hole radiometric probe data and chemical assays used to convert down-hole radiometric data into equivalent uranium grades (eU3O8) for mineral resource estimation.

Based on the $50/lb triuranium octoxide (U3O8), used to define the mining schedule in the 2017 PEA, constrained total pit resources are 36.5-million pounds eU3O8, comprising 34-million tonnes at 374 ppm eU3O8 for 28.4-million pounds in measured and indicated and 11-million tonnes at 348 ppm eU3O8 for 8.1-million pounds of inferred.

This highlights the robustness of the mineral resources at Muntanga.

The company is optimistic that the updated MRE will be favourable to the project economics previously estimated for Muntanga in the PEA.

This is owing to the quality of the resource estimate, higher measured and indicated mineral resources, higher grade and a notable increase in estimated resources within the constrained openpit area, and especially as the ongoing drilling is targeting conversion of more inferred resources into indicated resources.

As per the regulations applicable in 2017, when the company released its National Instrument 43-101 technical report, the MRE reported it did not need to be constrained by pit shells based on any particular uranium price.

Almost all mineralisation at the time occurred within 125 m of surface with uranium grades that were, in general, considered to have a reasonable prospect for eventual economic extraction (RPEEE) by openpit mining.

The cut-off grade used for reporting the 2017 MRE was 100 ppm eU3O8.

The 2023 MRE is disclosed, including an additional constraint applied to comply with the RPEEE and is accordingly reported within a constraining openpit shell based on a uranium selling price of $70/lb U3O8 and a 100 ppm eU3O8 cut-off grade.

The 2017 constrained mineral resources are based on a fixed uranium price, and should uranium prices increase, a conversion of additional material into a constrained mineral resource would be anticipated.

Based on the drilling completed in 2021 and 2022, an updated MRE has been prepared by consulting engineers SRK Consulting (Canada).

The mineral resource is that portion of the resource estimate which has been constrained within an openpit shell, considering reasonable mining, processing and general and administrative cost, geotechnical parameters and processing recoveries.

SRK considers that the material reported as a mineral resource fulfils the requirement by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Guidelines of having a RPEEE through openpit mining.

Analysis of the openpit shell used to constrain the MRE highlights that there are still inferred category mineral resources that have the potential to be converted to indicated resources with additional drilling.

That would enable them to be included in the economics related to any future feasibility study.

This work is currently under way as part of this year’s previously announced drilling programme.

“In conclusion, the updated MRE for the Muntanga project is a testament to GoviEx’s strategic focus and commitment to maximising the potential of its vast resource base.

“As the only uranium developer with two African projects ready to begin development and near-term production, GoviEx is well placed to benefit from future growth,” the company states.