Block mountains

Mineral-rich Otavi mountains attract big miners

Regina Murphy and Lazare Amukeshe

SOME of the world renowned mining companies are jostling for a share of copper, zinc, lead and vanadium in the Otavi region.

In recent weeks, one of the world’s five largest zinc producers, Brazil’s Nexa Resources, said it was targeting high-grade copper deposits in the Otavi Mountains region.

The Canadian company, Cazaly Resources Limited, also announced on Monday that it has partnered with previously disadvantaged Namibians for its new application for the Abenab North project in the Otavi mountains.

Another company is Golden Deeps of Australia, exploring and developing copper and vanadium in the Otavi Mountain region.

Golden Deeps owns the Nosib Block prospect 20 kilometers southwest of Abenab, where there is a shallow high-grade vanadium-copper-lead-silver zone. Additionally, Golden Deeps owns the Khusib Springs mine.

The land of the Otavi Mountains (also known as the Otavi Triangle), the Zambian Copperbelt and the Kalahari Copperbelt belong to the mineral-rich mobile Damaran Belt.

The mobile belt of Damaran starts from the Atlantic coast and crosses the center of Namibia, the north of Botswana, Zambia then the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Frank Melcher, chair of geology and economic geology at Austria’s Montanuniversität Leoben, says there could be up to 600 occurrences of copper, lead carbonate, zinc and vanadium on the lands of the mountain. ‘Otavi.

Melcher groups minerals into four categories – Berg Aukas, comprising zinc and lead; the Tsumeb type with lead, copper and zinc; and the Abenab type with vanadium deposits.

The fourth category is the Tschudi type, which contains low-grade copper ore in sandstone.

Nexa Resources has two projects in the mountainous region of Otavi – the Otavi Project and Northern Namibia.

Nexa Resources’ senior vice president of exploration and business development, Jones Belther, recently said his company has made significant progress drilling both projects.

The projects, which measure 172.5 square kilometers, are under two exclusive prospecting licenses, 3540 and 3542.

The Australian company Saber owned 80% of 3540 and 70% of 3542 before selling them in February 2021.

Belther said the drill program which began in July saw Nexa drill 1,080 meters in six holes totaling 2,216m, while another 1,450m is planned during the fourth quarter.

Tara French, Managing Director of Cazaly Resources, said if successful the project would present a fantastic opportunity for her company to add value to its portfolio with potential base metal mineralization and element mineralized carbonatites. rare early.

“To date, our investigations indicate that previous work focused more on the Abenab vanadium mine to the south. No further exploration has been carried out on the carbonatites in the permit application area. I look forward to updating the market with the progress of this app,” French said.

Poor Namibians own 5%, while local Cazaly Resources subsidiary Philco One Hundred and Seventy-Three owns 95%.

Cazaly Resources announced on Monday that it has applied for exclusive prospecting license 9110 to explore for base metals used in construction and manufacturing.

The company also wants to explore rare earth elements to make computer memory components, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lights and glass, among others.

In an announcement on October 22 this year, Golden Deeps said it is focusing on the exploration and development of high-grade vanadium-zinc-lead on the Abenab project, where the mineral resource estimate is 2 .80 Mt.

The company also said it was interested in high-grade vanadium, copper, lead and silver from the Nosib Block, as well as the high-grade Khusib Springs copper-silver deposit.

Namibia’s mining industry, which is largely export-oriented and dependent on international prices for mineral resources, has been growing, analysts and mining experts noted.

The outlook remains on the upside, particularly with the rise in uranium prices, new gold discoveries, as well as mining investment projects pending in the country.

The country’s national database by the Directorate of Mines records a total of 83 mineral producers in the country.

A large portion (27%) of this total is owned by producers of industrial minerals (cement, salt, fluorspar, phosphate) and their operations are often small to medium scale.

Semi-precious stones (precious stones) come next in number (about 21 producers out of 83 – 25%).

The dimension stone industry exports large slabs of granite and marble, which are inputs into the construction industry, and records indicate that 14 out of 83, or rather 17%, of the mineral producers belong to this industry.

The base metals and rare earths industry represents 14% of the national mining industry.

Major mining companies already have operations in Namibia – reputable names such as Paladin, Rössing, B2Gold Inc, QKR, De Beers, Vedanta, Trevali and Orano dominate the market for active miners.

Antler Gold, Bannerman, Elevate Uranium, Reptile Uranium, Osino Gold and Namibia Crical Metals dominate the exploration space.

Officials from the Ministry of Mines said most new investors submitting license applications are looking for uranium, gold, cobalt, lithium and come mainly from Canada, Australia and China.

E-mail: [email protected]