Sovereign Metals has unveiled a huge maiden resource for its Kasiya Rutile Deposit in Malawi, drawing favourable comparisons to Iluka Resources’ world-leading Sierra Rutile Mine. Kasiya contains a mammoth 644 million tonnes at 1.01% rutile at a cut-off grade of 0.7%, with a high grade section including 137Mt at 1.41% rutile.
The result comes just 18 months from discovery, and it’s well timed.
Natural rutile is the rarest and highest-grade source of titanium, favoured by pigment producers due to its lower carbon footprint and lower levels of impurities.
It is also used in the titanium metal industry and as a welding component, which aligns it with the booming industrial and construction sectors.
The natural rutile market is in deficit and a lack of discovery, until now, has meant few sources of new supply are under development to fill the gap that has seen prices head north over the past 12 months.
“It is a remarkable result to achieve the maiden JORC mineral resource estimate of this scale, grade and global significance in under 18 months since discovery,” Sovereign MD Dr Julian Stephens said.
“We believe this maiden resource is just the beginning and expect to upgrade and expand the resource over the coming quarters.
“The Company is surging forward with the Kasiya Scoping Study which will target a large-scale natural rutile operation to help address the supply deficit and reduce the titanium industry’s environmental footprint.”
Comparisons to global giant
Just check out that table.
Comparisons to Iluka Resources’ (ASX: ILU) Sierra Rutile operation show how rare the Kasiya find is.
Sierra Rutile has operated for around half a century, but is headed into suspension due to a tough operating environment for Iluka in Sierra Leone, with Iluka suspending its guidance of 145,000t of rutile for this year.
With existing operations also declining in grade and failing to replace depleted reserves, Sovereign’s Kasiya operation is starting to take shape as gaps begin to open up in the global market.
Room to grow
There will likely be more to come from Sovereign at Kasiya, where a scoping study is now under way.
For one, the inferred mineral resource estimate covers just 49km2 or 43% of a drilled footprint of around 114km2.
The 25km2 Nsaru prospect has not been included at all, with step out drilling continuing at both it and Kasiya.
Nsaru features high-grade rutile mineralisation from surface with widths of up to 5.5km across and a current strike length of around 9km that remains open to north and south at its widest zone.
A two rig, 150 hole drill program is targeting Kasiya’s high grade core to bring it into the higher indicated mineral resource category, something that will vastly improve Sovereign’s development prospects.
This article was developed in collaboration with Sovereign Metals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.
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