What’s happening on the exploration side of things in Africa’s mining sector? Here’s a brief roundup of three of the most recent updates on mining exploration projects in Africa.

Recent updates on mining exploration around Africa

10 Jan – Zambia: Soil sampling now complete at Deep-South’s Zambian copper projects

Deep-South has finished the soil sampling programme it was carrying out on its Luanshya West and Chililabombwe copper projects in Zambia.

1,980 soil samples have been collected from the Luanshya West project and sent to the laboratory for assays, the results of which are due to come later in the month.

The sampling programme focused on three points where five significant anomalies were discovered in a 2009 soil sampling programme and geophysical survey, in order to further examine these.

Meanwhile, 124 samples from Chililabombwe have been sent off for assays, with assay results for these also expected later this month.

The samples were gathered from within a regional grid of 500 m x 100 m. The samples from this project were collected from the many termite mounds in the area. Termite mounds, according to Deep-South, contain soil from reasonably deep under the surface, meaning there was no need to dig for samples of this type of soil.

10 Jan – Burkina Faso: Drilling by WAF company reveals high-grade gold mineralisation

WAF (West African Resources), an unhedged gold miner, literally struck gold during recent diamond drilling at its MV3 East prospect in Burkina Faso. The site lies a few kilometres away from WAF’s Sanbrado Gold Project.

While carrying out the drilling, the company intercepted what it discovered to be high-grade gold mineralisation at different points in the ground.

These intercepts included:

  • 20.5 metres at 2.89 g/t of gold
  • 16 metres at 2.88 g/t of gold
  • 21 metres at 2.16 g/t of gold
  • 12 metres at 2.02 g/t of gold.

9 Jan – South Africa: Proposed West Coast marine seismic survey gets the green light

Last year, Searcher Geodata, a UK-based geoscience company, attempted to carry out a 3D seismic survey off the West Coast of South Africa.

However, it failed to get approval when the Western Cape High Court refused to grant permission for the project, which would involve searching for oil and gas off the coast.

Now, though, after a second attempt, the company has managed to get the go-ahead to conduct 3D seismic surveying from South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE). It received permission from the department on 20 December 2022, although the news has only been announced this year.

This is despite complaints from the country’s scientific community and activists about the harm seismic blasting could cause to marine life and the livelihoods of residents of communities living along the West Coast.

On the positive side, the project could create jobs for local professionals in various areas of the mining, oil, and gas industries. What is more, seismic surveys are reportedly carefully done to cause as little disruption as possible to the areas they are conducted in.

Searcher Geodata plans to explore an area of 30,000 km2 in size for the seismic survey. The area extends from St Helena Bay to Hondeklip Bay, more than 200 km from the shore. It would take approximately 127 days and involve just one survey vessel.

Whether it ultimately goes ahead remains to be seen as there is a possibility the decision to approve the project will be appealed.

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