- March 15, 2021
- Posted in LOCAL
Premier African Minerals Ltd, is pleased to announce the formal grant of an Exclusive Prospecting Order No. 1779 (EPO) over an area that encompasses the Zulu Lithium and Tantalum claims (Zulu) in the Fort Rixon district of Zimbabwe for a period of three years with effect from 12 March 2021 to 11 March 2024. Details of the grant of the EPO have contained in the Zimbabwe Government Gazette published last week.
George Roach, Chief Executive of Premier commented:
“I am deeply appreciative of the Zimbabwe Government for the granting of this substantial EPO and Premier will reciprocate with mobilization for the commencement of the Definitive Feasibility Study (“DFS”) on the Zulu deposit which has an estimated completion time of 14 months. The EPO area is described in more detail below, and it is important that there are further known lithium-bearing pegmatites offering upside to Zulu as well as historic small gold mines, potential molybdenite and many scheelite (a tungsten mineral) occurrences within the area.
Zulu remains a significant deposit. Premier has previously published an in-house maiden Inferred mineral resource estimate prepared in accordance with SAMREC of 20.1 million tonnes grading 1.06% lithium oxide and 51 ppm Ta₂O₅ using a cut-off grade of 0.5% Li₂O. Since the maiden Mineral Resource Estimate, the geological model has been optimised as at least six new zones of lithium mineralisation have been discovered, supporting an exploration target of up to 80 million tonnes. Test work conducted by Anzaplan in Germany on behalf of Premier confirmed that low iron spodumene concentrates of up to 6.5% contained Lithium equivalent was attainable and an independent scoping study prepared by Bara Consulting for Zulu was most encouraging.
The granting of the EPO reaffirms the Zimbabwean Government policy that Zimbabwe is open for business and further supports the Ministry of Mines policy of creating a US$12 billion mining economy by 2023.
Premier expects to provide details in regard to further developments associated with Zulu and full details of the terms and conditions associated with the grant of the EPO in the near future.”
About Zulu EPO
The EPO area is prospective for and has a history of producing other minerals. The opportunities are briefly summarised below and are based on Bulletin 61 published by N.M Harrison of the Rhodesia Geological Survey, titled “The Geology of the Country around Fort Rixon and Shangani” in 1969 and which has not been independently verified by the Company.
Besides the Zulu Lithium, Caesium and Tantalum (“LCT”) Pegmatite), the EPO area has two other main LCT showings, the Deep Purple pegmatite veins and the Altyr pegmatite veins. Deep Purple is situated some 5km south-east of Zulu, Altyr is situated some 12 km south of Zulu. The first showing is small but according to the Bulletin of the Geological Survey (1969) is said to contain remarkably high lithium, caesium, tantalum, and beryllium grades. Altyr is somewhat larger and contains visibly identifiable amounts of spodumene, petalite and lepidolite, the three main lithium-bearing minerals of economic interest.
Further to these, there are many more small lithium-bearing pegmatites sub-outcropping north, east and south of Zulu. None of these have ever been tested to determine whether they are part of large pegmatite bodies. Particularly the eastern two-thirds of the EPO are mainly flat and covered by a thick layer of soil that makes any visual identification of lithium-bearing pegmatites impossible. Only systematic exploration of the EPO will help to discover more pegmatites of economic potential.
According to the geological interpretation of the EPO, Premier believes based on its own interpretation that LCT pegmatites could occur over a strike length of 24km, i.e., over the whole length of the EPO. Gold
The most western part of the EPO is underlain by a small part of the so-called Fort Rixon gold belt where industrial gold mining took place since the late 19th century. There are more than 100 small to medium-sized gold mines in this belt, none of them have been mined on an industrial scale since the 1960s. However, artisanal gold mining is carried out by the local population at many of these mines.
Besides an unknown number of new sites of artisanal gold mining and according to the Bulletin of the Geological Survey (1969), the EPO is known to host at least 6 old gold mines:
Tonnage mined (metric tons)
Average grade (g/t)
Presently, the Pioneer mine seems to be the most active site of artisanal gold mining. It is estimated that more than 200 local gold miners successfully exploit high-grade quartz reefs and veins.
The mineral molybdenite, the principal molybdenum ore mineral, is known from the Zulu pegmatites in small, non-economic quantities since the 1950s. However, one diamond drill hole (ZDD37) intercepted up to 20m thick epidosites with disseminated molybdenite mineralization. This mineralization is most likely related to metasomatic processes due to the intrusion of the massive granitic pluton situated just north of the Zulu concession.
Careful exploration of the EPO could possibly unveil sites with economic molybdenum mineralization.
Since the 1950s, the Zulu pegmatites are known to carry small uneconomic quantities of scheelite, one of the two principal tungsten ore minerals. According to the Bulletin of the Geological Survey (1969), quite a few of the abandoned gold mines seem to be rich in scheelite, although no grades were given. Exploration of the EPO will demonstrate whether exploitable scheelite occurrences exist.
Process test work by Anzaplan on Zulu pegmatites has shown that they contain large amounts of high-quality quartz and feldspar. Both could become potential by-products of the Zulu mine. The other pegmatites of the region could also contain beryl, the principal beryllium ore mineral, and coloured gemstones like topaz, tourmaline, and others. Where the pegmatites are closely situated to ultramafic sequences, emerald may occur.