ARM holds a 65% interest in TEAL Exploration & Mining Incorporated (TEAL), which holds a strategic portfolio of high quality base and precious metal development projects and exploration prospects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Namibia and Zambia.The TEAL board operates independently from ARM with an arms length agreement governing the relationship between the companies. A number of ARM board members and executives serve on the TEAL board.TEAL is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) in Canada and in South Africa on the JSE.
TEAL has targeted three specific projects for rapid development:
In the past year TEAL has made rapid progress in proving up resources within its extensive mining and exploration licences in sub-Saharan Africa, advancing its projects and bringing them into production.
A major area of focus in the year was the Kalumines Copper-Cobalt Project in the DRC, held jointly with Gécamines, that countrys state-owned mining company. Exploration drilling has progressed well in the past year, with plans in the next financial year to continue this programme, with the objective of supporting a major mine development in that country. In October 2007 the smelter started commissioning, and opencast mining on the Lupoto deposit is running at a rate of 110 000m³ per month, and expected to produce some 40 000 tonnes of concentrate at a grade of more than 25% copper. The smelter has a capacity to produce some 5 000 tonnes per annum of black copper ingots, grading 85 to 95% copper.
Capital expenditure associated with the project comprised a sum of US$2 million on the mine commissioning, and some US$6 million on the commissioning of the smelter.
TEAL has also concluded a scoping study based on a larger mine at Kalumines. This is being followed by the conclusion of verification and infill drilling, and together with the requisite metallurgical work, this will enable the conclusion of a feasibility study for a larger open-pit operation and plant.
In Zambia, at the Konkola North Copper Project, a feasibility study into the establishment of an operation to mine the South and East Limb areas of the orebody was completed six months ahead of schedule in July 2007. The Konkola North project is expected to build up to annual copper production of 25 000 tonnes. Consideration is being given to the establishment of an operation producing 1 250 000 tonnes per annum of ROM ore by using existing infrastructure to access the orebody first in the South Limb, and followed by mining the East Limb. Konkola North has the potential to grow into a significant producer.
Also in Zambia, the Mwambashi Copper Project includes an open pit capable of producing 12 000 to 15 000 tonnes of copper annually. The feasibility study on the project was completed ahead of schedule in August 2006; full release of the operation remains subject to securing an offtake agreement with a third party to treat Mwambashis ore, which in the early years is largely oxide-based. Although the process of concluding an off-take agreement advanced over the past year, in the absence of concluding suitable terms, TEAL is assessing various alternatives.
TEALs progress at the Otjikoto Gold Project in Namibia has manifested in a 1.76 million ounce inferred gold resource. TEAL is currently conducting an exploration programme over a portion of the property to expand and upgrade the current resource base through further drilling and a pre-feasibility study assessment of the deposit is also underway. TEAL has performed airborne geophysics and geological compilation over the project area and has identified additional targets, several of high priority and in proximity to the known deposit. A full-scale feasibility is planned for the next financial year to advance this project.
The majority of TEALs projects are at the stage where the feasibility studies are being completed. In the year ahead, decisions need to be taken on a number of these projects, along with the requisite funding mechanisms. To this effect ARM has agreed to increase its support through a guarantee of up to US$50 million.
© 2007 African Rainbow Minerals Limited