Walviskop Heavy Mineral Sands Project
Walviskop Heavy Mineral Sands within the vicinity of Alexander Bay/Port Nolloth, South Africa
Kazera owns a 60% stake in Whale Head Minerals, giving the Company a significant interest in the Walviskop Heavy Mineral Sands project. Tectonic Gold (TTAU) holds a residual 10% interest and 30% is held by Black Economic Empowerment Partners as required by South African law.
The potential for Heavy Mineral Sands within the vicinity of Alexander Bay/Port Nolloth was recognised as early as 2016. Access to these deposits was made difficult by their proximity to the highly protected diamond mining areas on the West Coast. These HMS deposits contain substantial diamond deposits which means that HMS miners cannot get permission to mine them. For diamond miners however, the cost of extracting diamonds from material with the geological profile of the HMS made diamond mining of the area economically unviable. Kazera is in a highly advantageous position of being able to generate cash from both resources
The initial mine permit area applied for by WHM and accepted by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has been moved circa 100 metres to the west due to conflicts identified with the original permit coordinates. This has resulted in the Mine Permit now being in the surf zone of the bay and not largely on the beach. The resource volume for the new offshore permit location estimated by CREO Design (PTY) LTD, which undertook the initial competent persons report and resource estimate, is determined to be comparable in volume to the initial volume estimate for the onshore area but at a grade of 49.9% total heavy minerals compared to the 62% total heavy minerals on the beach area. This can be explained by the wind playing a significant role in removing light sand grains from the beach and so enriching the heavy mineral deposited there. However, a major benefit of the permits being moved is that wave action is constantly renewing the resource and rehabilitating the mine site. This means that current volumes in situ are largely irrelevant as what is mined is naturally replenished.
Initial testing has confirmed that the installation of a separation plant will result in upgrading of the material from 49.9% to in excess of 80%, which will be directly saleable and is believed to be one of the highest grades in the world. The Company is targeting production of in excess of 6,000 tons of concentrate per month at a gross profit of over $200 per ton.
The Company has placed an order for the manufacture of equipment to undertake the separation of HMS and allow for the sale of concentrate containing predominantly Ilmenite and Garnet, which will attract a much higher value than a bulk product. The Company is in active discussions with several prospective purchasers for these products. In the interim, the Company is introducing a double-deck 500-micron screen with a view to accelerating production of the separated HMS product. The Company is currently building up stockpiles of HMS, whilst identifying a site to dry material away from the moisture and dust of the coast.
The Company is currently actively pursuing mining rights over additional areas with known HMS deposits.