The first phase of the pre-feasibility study of the Mutamba heavy sands project is already underway, the Savannah Resources group said, adding that the study is being conducted by TZMI, a technical consultancy firm specializing in heavy sands.
The Mutamba Project has the potential for the definition of a large ore body able to sustain a significant mining operation. The mineralization is amenable to dry mining and dredge mining in parts, with ilmenite being the dominant heavy mineral present. Savannah’s overall objective is to build, together with Rio Tinto, a commercial mineral sands presence in Mozambique, delivering, via Rio Tinto’s offtake, a stable supply of titanium feedstock to global markets.
Savannah Resources also said that after completion of the first phase of the pre-feasibility study a second one will follow, which when completed, will be an important milestone in this project, securing the company a 35% stake in the Mutamba consortium.
British group Savannah Resources and Anglo-Australian group Rio Tinto in June 2015 set up a partnership for heavy sands exploration in Mozambique.
Signed between Rio Tinto International Holdings Limited and AME East Africa, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Savannah Resources group, the partnership is intended for the groups to join forces in their adjacent concessions in Mutamba, Dongane and Jangamo, in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane and at the Rio Tinto deposits in Chilubane, Gaza province, also in the south.
The statement said Savannah Resources will be the operator and that the Rio Tinto group will guarantee the purchase of the entire production, namely of minerals like ilmenite, rutile and zircon.
In the statement, the British group also announced the construction of a pilot processing unit with a capacity of 20 tonnes of heavy sand per hour.