Britannia Mining, a UK-based mining development company whose subsidiary is prospecting for iron ore in Nthale, Blantyre, has appointed Bastillion Resources Pty Ltd, a South African geological and mining consulting firm, to continue field exploration at its mine.
Britanniaâ€™s subsidiary, Britannia (Malawi) Limited, was awarded an Exclusive Prospecting Licence (EPL) in 2009 by the Malawi Government at a multi-million kwacha Nthale iron ore project of over 650 square kilometres (km), located 22 km north of Blantyre.
In a statement made available to Business News on Saturday and signed by the companyâ€™s co-founder and chief operating officer, Nicola Newmarch, the miner said it has sought independent geological consultancy from Bastillion Resources to update the Nthale geological report including a review of data, targets and geological modelling.
â€œBastillion will undertake ongoing field reconnaissance including sample collection and a review of geology and targets during October 2012,â€ said Newmarch.
In August this year, the miner appointed Blue Mantle Partners, an international environmental and natural resources consulting and advisory company, to enter into a joint venture project to design and deliver environmental impact assessment (EIA) for and on behalf of Nthale Iron Ore concession area.
The EIA will be conducted in the concession area to explore opportunities to develop mitigation projects to offset the carbon emissions predicted for the lifetime of the mine operations and related commercial activities that may occur.
Nthale iron ore deposits, which rise 40 metres above the Chileka plain, are located seven kilometres from the nearest railway station at Lirangwe.
The miner completed magnetic imaging studies over a test area of 20 sq km, and has located a number of ore bodies that are encouraging as potential targets for drilling and core sampling.
According to international media reports, global iron ore market continues to be firm and prices have risen in the second half of this year and next year amid expectations that exports from India, the worldâ€™s third largest exporter of the steel-making commodity, will fall and China will launch incentives that could boost steel demand.
Iron ore spot prices delivered to China should average $150 a metric ton this year, rising to $165 a ton in 2013, according to a Goldman Sachs (GS) mining and metals analyst.
Iron ore prices have fallen from a recent peak of $181 a ton in early September 2011.
Last year, the company completed a magnetic survey which found high grade iron oreâ€”rocks and minerals from which metallic iron can be economically extracted.
Ores are usually iron oxides and vary in colour from dark grey, bright yellow, deep purple to rusty red.
A study the miner commissioned in 2010 found that the regional geophysical and magnetic signature at Nthale is encouraging with evidence detailing historical sampling during the 1960s confirming that the area bears high grade ore in excess of 68 percent.