Resource, Reserve & Mining

Drilling on the 707 million tonne 6.5% THM Ranobe resource
Drilling on the 707 million tonne 6.5% THM Ranobe resource

Mineral Resource

The Ranobe deposit is located approximately 40km north of the port of Toliara in south western Madagascar. The mineralised zone at Ranobe is around 16km long, 1 to 2 km wide and comprises three mineralised sand units; the upper sand, intermediate sand and lower sand units.

A heavy minerals (HM) Mineral Resource has been calculated, in accordance with the JORC Code, for the Upper Sand unit.

Ranobe Mineral Resource estimate (From Definitive Engineering Study report August 2012)

The average heavy mineral assemblage composition in the Ranobe Resource is 72.2% ilmenite, 5.6% zircon and 2.3% rutile.

The ‘Starter Pit’ mining licence (Permis D’Exploitation 37242) contains an estimated 176Mt Mineral Resource at an average grade of 8.13% THM, most of which is in the Measured category.

The second mining licence (Permis D’Exploitation 39130) contains a Mineral Resource of 137Mt, 6.88% average grade THM.

The remainder of the 959 Mt Mineral Resource at Ranobe is within an exploration licence (Permis De Recherche 3315). Both mining licences were granted in April 2012 and have a term of 40 years and may be renewed for one or more additional 20 year terms. The Exploration Licence was renewed for 3 years in April 2012.

A cut-off grade of 3% THM was used to estimate the Mineral Resource. The grade-tonnage curve clearly illustrates that there is very little material below 3% THM in the Ranobe deposit and that Ranobe has a consistently high grade across the Mineral Resource

Grade Tonnage
The estimated Mineral Resource of 959Mt at an average grade of 6.10% THM within the Ranobe licences has the potential to support a mine life of more than 100 years at the expected initial mining rate of 8Mt per annum.\
The global potential of the resource in the Ranobe area may be significantly more than this, as wide spaced drilling indicates that mineralisation in the Upper Sand Unit extends to the north (possibly by 1km), west (beyond intersections in the most westerly holes) and south (by possibly 5km), as well as within the Intermediate Clay Sand Unit and the Lower Sand Unit.

Ore Reserve

Ore Reserves have been estimated using all available geological, drill hole and assay data, including mineralogical sampling and test work on mineral recoveries and final product qualities. The Ore Reserve estimates are determined by consideration of all the modifying factors in accordance with the JORC Code 2004, and may include but are not limited to, product prices, mining costs, mining dilution and recovery, metallurgical recoveries, environmental considerations, access and approval.

Tonnes Heavy Minerals Slimes Mineral Assemblage (% in HM)
Mt % Mt % Ilmenite Rutile Zircon
Proved 148 8.12 12.0 4.02 72.3 2.4 5.5
Probable 13 9.18 1.2 3.65 72.1 2.3 5.4
Total 161 8.20 13.2 3.99 72.3 2.4 5.5

Ranobe Ore Reserve Statement (From Definitive Engineering Study report August 2012).

Mine Plan

Front end loader (FEL) mining has been selected for this operation as it provides a high degree of flexibility, reduces the risks imposed by mining in close proximity to the limestone basement along the eastern side of the deposit, and is able to selectively sequence and mine the higher grade parts of the deposit to maximise the project cash flow.

The ore zone ranges between 2–30 metres in depth and will be mined by two FELs. Ore mined by the FELs will be fed to mining units and pumped to the wet concentrator plant. Mining operations will be performed by a contract miner.

Based upon the Measured and Indicated Resource in the ‘Starter Pit’ Licence area a mining schedule has been developed. Mining will commence on the south east corner corresponding to an area of high HM grade.

During the first two years of operations, the mining rate will be 900 tph, increasing to 1,050 tph in Year 3 in order to maintain the ilmenite production at 407,000 tpa. According to the proposed schedule, two concentrator moves are expected during the mine life. The first concentrator move is expected in Year 9, when the concentrator would be re-located to midway along the deposit. The second move is expected during Year 16.

Over the life of mine of 21 years an estimated 161 million tonnes total ore will be mined.

Proposed mine schedule

Proposed mine schedule (From Definitive Engineering Study report August 2012).

Mining, concentration and tailings disposal will occur as a continuous process. Sand tailings from the PCP will be mixed with tailings from the MSP and pumped back to the mine to fill in the mine void. The surface will be contoured and the topsoil and vegetation that was previously removed will be returned.