Bougouni lithium project E&D update; bulk sample mining contract terminated
Published by Stephanie Roker,
Kodal Minerals, the mineral exploration and development company focused on its Bougouni lithium project in Southern Mali, is pleased to provide this update on recent activities at the project. The company has focused on advancing the development of the Bougouni project through the completion of the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) and various engineering studies, as well as continuing its exploration programme.
- ESIA technical reports being compiled and finalised for submission to the authorities.
- ESIA community consultation meetings completed with positive response to the proposed development from officials and the community.
- Project visits completed by engineering consultant groups to finalise mine and process planning.
- Engineering review of infrastructure and transport ongoing at the project, with significant cost savings identified in transport estimates.
- Metallurgical test work ongoing with a focus on targeting commencing with a dense media separation (‘DMS’) plant, with a flotation circuit to be added potentially four years later in the mining cycle.
- Bulk sample mining contract terminated at the Bougouni project due to poor performance of contractor.
- Kodal shipping 980 t of lithium spodumene material directly from Dakar port to China for testing.
- The large size test will provide beneficial information regarding processing and recovery at an operational scale.
- Exploration activities identified further drill targets within the Bougouni project and at the recently acquired Bougouni West concessions, with drilling to commence in early June 2019.
Bernard Aylward, CEO of Kodal Minerals, remarked: “I am delighted to announce that we have continued to make significant steps in advancing operations at our Bougouni lithium project. The large amount of technical work that is currently underway represents significant components of our upcoming feasibility study and we are using the most experienced consultants to ensure we achieve the best result. Moreover, the completion of all specialist baseline studies for the ESIA, combined with the completed community consultation, will allow us to finalise our ESIA application and lodge it for approval. The ongoing support we have received from the Mali Government and local community has been very encouraging and demonstrates the significant interest in our project’s development.
“Unfortunately, we have terminated the contract for the completion of our bulk sampling programme at Bougouni due to poor performance of the contractor. Currently we have over 980 t of material at the port of Dakar for shipping to China and our in-depth discussions with the processing company, Ruifu Chemical of Shandong, have informed us that this size sample will provide very useful information nonetheless. It is clear that this sample, combined with our ongoing metallurgical testwork, will allow us to optimise the future mining and processing of lithium spodumene at the Bougouni project.
“Our exploration programme continues to identify and delineate high priority exploration targets, and as such, we have been working extensively on the Bougouni West concessions which we acquired in 1Q19. We expect to commence a drilling programme in June 2019 with key targets identified within the Mafele West concession, which is close to Birimian’s Goulamina project, as well as drilling additional targets within our own Bougouni project that are in close proximity to the existing resources.
“This is a very exciting time for the company with much work underway. The pace of our development programme continues as we focus our attention towards lodging the ESIA, continuing to strengthen of our relationships with the Malian authorities and local communities and finally, undertaking a pivotal work and drilling programme at Bougouni. I look forward to updating our shareholders in due course.”
ESIA and engineering
Site visits have been completed by specialist engineering consultants to review the proposed mining project and current planned infrastructure layout. The studies have confirmed that the proposed processing facility site location is suitable as there is ample flat land for construction, very low risk of flooding, with minimal need for bulk earthworks for site preparation. In addition, the location of the tailings storage facility and water storage dams are also suitable for the proposed development.
The optimisation of the potential open pits is continuing following the site visit by the consultant geotechnical engineer to review the geology for open pit stability implications, as well as by the mine development engineers to assess the area of proposed open pit and confirm geological database.
An infrastructure specialist group based in West Africa have also completed a site visit to review and provide cost estimates for the development of site offices, maintenance areas, access roads and additional accommodation required.
The ESIA is nearing completion with all specialist baseline studies complete and draft reports received and reviewed by Kodal for the soils, wetlands, surface water, social, heritage, closure planning and the community development plan. These are key documents for the ESIA and combined with the community consultation indicate that the ESIA is nearing completion.
The community consultation was undertaken from 21 - 24 May 2019 and was attended by Kodal staff members, as well as community leaders including regional officials of Prefet and Sous-Prefet, as well as the village chiefs and mayors of the two main communes of Bougouni and Kola. All sites were visited, and larger community meetings were held at local Mayoral offices to present the project, receive community questions and provide feedback.
Bulk sample and metallurgy
The bulk sample mining at Ngoualana has been terminated due to poor performance of the contractor. The key concerns identified by Kodal were the lack of experienced technical staff mobilised to the project and a lack of focus on safe work practices and environmental awareness during opencast mining activities. Kodal has consistently maintained a very high standard of community relations and demand its contractors to maintain this standard and as this was not the case, Kodal stopped the work. The level of metallurgical studies combined with the already extracted 980 t of material will provide detailed information for planning and the company does not intend to re-commence the bulk sample to recover further tonnage at this stage.
The bulk sample of 980 t of pegmatite at the Dakar port will now be shipped to China following discussions with the Ruifu Chemical technical team, to ensure that this sample will still provide high quality information via processing of the ore in an operation-scale plant. This will then be combined with Kodal’s ongoing metallurgical testing programme to finalise the processing plant design.
The metallurgical testwork is continuing with analysis of a ‘Master Composite’, comprising material from the Sogola-Baoule and Ngoualana prospects and variability composites being tested. In addition, a programme of testwork utilising ‘floatation’ is underway to review the potential to maximise recovery of the spodumene concentrate and maximise the grade of the material to ensure that Kodal can produce a high quality 6% spodumene concentrate that will achieve the best valuation.
Exploration activity has focused on the geological mapping and geophysical surveying to finalise targeting for exploration drilling in June 2019.
At the Bougouni project, field work has focused on the region between Sogola-Baoule and Boumou with the recently identified ‘Marigo’ prospect defined for initial drill testing. Geological mapping and ground magnetic geophysical survey has defined a target extending for over 500 m strike length and comprising multiple coarse-grained pegmatite veins with abundant spodumene identified in hand specimens. Identification of mineralisation in this area could have an immediate positive impact on the proposed mine development due to its close proximity to the existing resources.
At the Bougouni West project, exploration activity has focused on geological mapping, ground magnetic geophysical surveys and compilation of all data to identify drill-ready targets. The region adjacent to the Goulamina project is a priority and the geological team has identified targets that will be drilled in June. This is a new exploration region for Kodal and the identification of new pegmatite hosted mineralisation in this area will be significant for the long-term development in Bougouni.
Read the article online at: https://www.drybulkmagazine.com/dry-bulk/31052019/bougouni-lithium-project-ed-update-bulk-sample-mining-contract-terminated/
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