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BWA Group PLC - Positive Results from Sampling at Nkoteng Rutile Project

·16-min read

26 April 2021

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT CONTAINS INSIDE INFORMATION FOR THE PURPOSES OF REGULATION 11 OF THE MARKET ABUSE (AMENDMENT) (EU EXIT) REGULATIONS 2019/310.

BWA Group PLC

(“BWA” or the “Company”)

Positive Results from Reconnaissance Pit Sampling at the Nkoteng Rutile Sands Project, Cameroon

BWA Group plc [AQSE: BWAP], which has mineral exploration licences split between Canada and Cameroon and is quoted on London’s AQSE Growth Market (formerly NEX), provides an update on its recent surface sampling programme at its 90% owned Nkoteng rutile sands project located in Central Cameroon (“Nkoteng” or the “Nkoteng Project”).

BWA currently has two heavy mineral sands (“HMS”) licences in Cameroon, both of which are at an early stage of exploration. The Nkoteng Licence covers an area of 497 km2, comprising part of the prospective Sanaga river system and is located 60 km to the north east of Yaoundé with easy transport links to the port of Douala. The Dehane Licence (“Dehane” or the “Dehane Project”) is 132 km2 comprising part of the prospective Nyong river system estuary and is located 166 km to the west of the capital, Yaoundé and 70km from the deep seaport and industrial zone of Kribi.

BWA is pleased to announce positive results of a reconnaissance surface exploration pit and auger sampling programme conducted on the Nkoteng Project, reported in accordance with JORC (2012).

The sampling programme comprised 15 hand excavated exploration pits and 38 auger holes for a total of 169.1 m and 90 samples. Three grab samples were also taken as part of the reconnaissance programme. The programme targeted the central sector of the licence and has identified an area of alluvial HMS mineralisation related to the extensive Sanaga river system and associated floodplains. Results from samples confirm the area has anomalous titanium (Rutile-Ilmenite), zirconium (Zircon) and aluminium (Kyanite) with samples reporting up to 2.38% TiO2, 0.29% Zr and 25.6% Al2O3.

Highlights

  • 93 samples collected around the central Sanaga area within the Nkoteng licence.

  • 47 controlled interval samples in excess of 1% TiO2 with associated elevated Zr and Al2O3

  • Significant pit and auger mineralised intervals include:

    • 3.45 m @ 1.54% TiO2, 15.49% Al2O3 & 0.07% Zr from 0.00 m in NKO_002.

      • Inc. 0.5 m from 0.00 m @ 2.26% TiO2, 16.40% Al2O3 and 0.08% Zr

    • 2.55 m @ 1.38% TiO2, 11.83% Al2O3 & 0.11% Zr from 0.00 m in NKO_003.

      • Inc. 0.9 m from 0.00 m @ 1.73% TiO2, 17.30 % Al2O3 and 0.10% Zr.

    • 2.20 m @ 1.77% TiO2, 21.84% Al2O3 & 0.04% Zr from 0.00 m in NKO_008.

      • Inc. 0.9 m from 0.00 m @ 2.38% TiO2, 22.8 % Al2O3 and 0.056% Zr.

    • Elevated titanium, zircon and aluminium identified multi-element associations.

    • Occurrence of HMS mineralisation within both sand/gravel and overlying clay units.

    • Mapping and data interpretation indicate extensive prospective alluvial units and target areas.

    • Preliminary granulometric studies imply that within the sands, rutile is more abundant, within the fraction -600 to +180 µm. Major ilmenite was also observed.

    • Minor HMS also observed in -180 µm size fraction.

    • Plastic clays contain elevated TiO2, also within the fractions -600 to +180 µm.

    • Initial studies show that rutile is more prevalent than ilmenite in the plastic clays.

    • Implications of the granulometric studies are as yet not fully recognised, although suggest distinctive mineralised size fractions and preferred host strata.

An enhanced version of this announcement with maps and table can be VIEWED HERE.

Outlook

The company are processing the data and are still in the early stages of exploration and evaluation, understanding the distribution of mineralisation and related size fractions, but are very encouraged by the presence of elevated intervals of Rutile-Ilmenite, Zircon and Kyanite over continuous zones within an area considered prospective for heavy mineral sands, and that the first campaign in this area has returned such positive results to warrant further exploration.

Our COVID-19 health and safety protocols continue to allow the team to be effective in the field.

Richard Battersby, Non-executive Chairman of BWA, commented:

“We regard these initial pit and auger results for the Nkoteng licence as extremely encouraging and supportive of BWA’s long-held view of the prospectivity for significant rutile and zircon mineralisation in the Sanaga river system.

These results demonstrate the presence of titanium, zircon and aluminium at grades and intervals of potential economic interest within interpreted extensive depositional environments along the prospective Sanaga river system contained within our licence area.

We are greatly encouraged by the grades encountered thus far, which compare favourably to those seen in alluvial HMS mining operations worldwide and the target deposit model.

The Company has already initiated similar tests at our Dehane licence situated on the prospective Nyong river system, following on from positive results from surface grab sampling completed in 2020, as well as expanding the exploration work at Nkoteng.

We become increasingly attracted by the outlook for our investment in Cameroon.”

The Directors of BWA are responsible for the contents of this announcement.

Ends -

For further information:

BWA Group PLC
Richard Battersby
Chairman

+44 (0)7836 238172
enquiries@bwagroupplc.com

Allenby Capital Limited
Corporate Adviser
Nick Harriss

+44 207 3328 5656

Overview

BWA is pleased to announce the results of the surface sampling in Nkoteng, in accordance with the JORC code (2012).

Implications for Exploration

The programme has demonstrated that there is excellent potential for continuous HMS mineralisation and deposit development within the area tested at sufficient levels to warrant further follow up systematic exploration.

The combined areas tested equate to approximately 39 km2 of the Sanaga river floodplain consisting of the northern (7 km2), central (17 km2) and southern areas (15 km2), which represents around 16 km of strike or 40% of the BWA available river system excluding restricted areas in the southern part of the licence, where there is a DUP (Décret d'utilité publique) protected environmental area that encompasses approximately 10 km of the active river and prevents exploration and mining. This protected area consists of an active floodplain and neighbouring woodland zone. The DUP active flooding area is to south west of the licence area, immediately adjacent to a protected woodland area and plantation.

The results of the programme are extremely encouraging as the basement geology and depositional environments are currently interpreted as being continuous over the available approximate 40 km of the Sanaga river within the current BWA landholding, excluding restricted areas.

BWA are planning immediate follow-up on these anomalous results with a view to extend and infill the sample area, as well as understand the relationships between the mineralisation and host strata and carry out additional sampling on the plastic clays. This work will provide a better indication of the HMS exploration potential within the licence and better focus intended follow up drill programmes.

Positive results for TiO2, Al2O3 and Zr were from the three areas sampled, the north, central and south. The central area appears to be more positive than the northern and southern samples, but these extremities are still anomalous for HMS and show encouraging continuation of mineralisation over 15 km.

The central area was targeted more heavily after the presence of gravel and encouraging HMS mineralisation at the bottom of the hole NKO_002 was observed and suggests that the Sanaga River was deeper at this location at some point in its history and is likely either an abandoned channel or a cut meander. BWA are extremely encouraged by the grade and extent of all the target minerals and are planning follow up work, to be conducted shortly.

Summary of Exploration Works

In accordance with JORC (2012) reporting guidelines, a summary of the material information used is set out below. For further details, please refer to the JORC (2012) Table 1, located in the Appendix to this announcement.

The exploration consisted of 38 auger holes, 15 hand dug exploration pits and three grab samples, for a total of 93 samples. These samples were collected from within the current floodplain and paleo alluvial basin related to the Sanaga river.

The auger holes were hand drilled to a maximum depth of 4.5 m and the pits were hand excavated to a maximum depth of 4.4 m, stopping the hole and pit when bedrock was reached.

The whole auger sample was taken in its entirety for analysis and the 50 controlled interval samples were generally between 60 – 100 cm in length and lithologically controlled. Within the pits, a 15cm wide channel was dug down the centre of the pit and the 40 controlled interval samples were generally between 50 – 100 cm in length, constrained by lithology.

During the sampling programme, the principal host for the mineralisation, the sands, were routinely sampled to test for the presence of heavy minerals. However, in some pits and augers, the overlying plastic clays and saprolite were also sampled for reconnaissance purposes. The sands characteristically retuned the presence of heavy minerals. Moreover, the plastic clays also frequently retuned anomalous TiO2, Al2O3 and Zr results and occasionally, some high-grade results including sample N026006, which returned 0.50 cm at 2.26% TiO2, 16.40% Al2O3 and 0.08% Zr and N026019, which returned 0.90 cm at 2.38% TiO2, 22.8 % Al2O3 and 0.056% Zr, both from surface. The granulometric study shows that the plastic clays are made up of more than 56% of sand particles larger than 180 µm within a clay matrix. This constitution can explain the presence of heavy minerals.

Selected representative strip logs of representative holes demonstrate the significance between the plastic clays that have been sampled and the clays which have not been sampled. NKO_002 is a hand dug pit and NKO_018 is an auger hole. BWA are understanding these results and the implications for exploration and are currently planning follow up work to sample the plastic clays as well as infill pits in these areas.

After collection, the samples were oven dried for 24 hours, riffle split and pulverised to -75?m at Afrigeolabs in Yaoundé to produce a pulp of 250 g and sent to ALS Johannesburg for multi-element XRF analysis by method ME-XRF11bE.

Quality assurance and quality control measures included the insertion of external certified reference materials and field duplicates, and internal lab standards and duplicates. There were no issues associated with the QC samples.

Ten -2mm sample rejects were used for granulometric studies and visual size fraction analysis, with work continuing in this domain. Four sieves were used to fraction off the sample with each size fraction having a detailed description and analysis.

Preliminary granulometric studies imply that within the sands, rutile is more abundant, within the fraction -600 to +180 µm. Minor ilmenite was also observed, and minor HMS also observed in -180 µm size fraction. The plastic clays contain elevated TiO2, also within the fractions -600 to +180 µm. Initial studies show that rutile is more prevalent than ilmenite in the plastic clays. In saprolite lithology, ilmenite is more prevalent than rutile. This can be explained by the difference in density between ilmenite and rutile. The former has a density of 4.72 while the latter has a density of 4.2. In addition, saprolite is the lithology located at the bedrock contact.

Implications of the granulometric studies are as yet not fully recognized and further testwork required going forward, although the preliminary work suggest the minerals of interest occur within specific size fractions and preferred host strata.

Geology and Geological Interpretation

The prospective Sanaga river is the main river which runs through the BWA licence area and accommodates approximately 50 km of the river floodplain system and associated tributaries, and an even larger paleo-floodplain area, observed in satellite imagery, although this has yet to be fully ground-truthed through fieldwork. This interpreted paleo-floodplain is likely to be a significant target for exploration and covers the length of the river with an initial interpreted width of up to 3 km.

The geological sequence generally consists of 0.3 m to 4.3 m with an average of 2.4 m of clay cover from surface. This clay cover is laid on top of detrital deposits consisting of sands and gravels with an average thickness of 0.45 m. In places it lies directly on the bedrock. The limited sampling for plastic clays also suggests that it contains HMS mineralisation, which increases the thickness of the mineralised zones.

The Nkoteng deposit is likely to be a trap placer (native) deposit. The entire stratigraphic column of the Sanaga alluvial deposits is considered potentially mineralised.

Nkoteng is located within the Yaoundé Domain of the Pan African Belt, a large nappe unit that has been thrusted southward onto the Congo Craton and is characterised by low-grade to high-grade garnet bearing metamorphosed schists, gneiss and orthogneisses.

Heavy mineral sands are loose aggregates of unlithified material containing combinations of minerals with a high specific gravity, generally above 4 g/cm3. The heavy minerals at Nkoteng occur in a variety of igneous and metamorphic rocks, but because of their resistance to weathering and comparatively high specific gravity, they are found to accumulate in river channels.

The Nkoteng pit programme encountered distinctive alluvial basal sand and gravel units, with average thicknesses of some 2.4 m. Depths of up to 8 m have been stated in Archidona Minerales S.A (formally Cameroon Rutile) adjacent Nanga-Eboko (Lembe) licence, situated up-stream to the east along the Sanaga from Nkoteng.

Archidona Minerales and the BRGM have historically reported that the Sélé and Tédé rivers, within the Nanga-Eboko licence are estimated to contain approximately 723,000 tons* @ 1.1% TiO2 and 174,000 tons* @ 0.89% TiO2 respectively (BRGM RR-36134). Archidona are not carrying out any field work at this time. Selected photos are shown in here as

The Nkoteng general area has been known for some historic small scale artisanal rutile mining. This historic work has been developed by Eramet to the south of the Nkoteng licence who are currently carrying out advanced exploration in the Akonolinga area and Archidona Minerals who hold the Nanga-Eboko licence, immediately adjacent to the east of BWAs Nkoteng licence.

Eramet are currently carrying out exploration work along the Yo and Djaa rivers in the Akonolinga area. The respective widths of the Yo and Djaa rivers are 400 m and 300 m with the average thickness of prospective alluvium of about 2.5 m.

Previous explorer, Cameroon Minerals reported historic resources for the Yo and Djaa rivers systems at approximately 0.64 Mt* @ 1.4% rutile (TiO2) and 1.32 Mt* @ 1.05% rutile (TiO2) for Indicated and Inferred classifications respectively.

Further afield, Sierra Rutile (subsidiary of Iluka Resources) HMS projects consist of a multi-mine operation located in the Bonthe and Moyamba districts, south west Sierra Leone. Sierra Rutile has an established operating history over more than 50 years and further mine life of at least 20 years, with plans to increase production from current levels of ~150ktpa of rutile.

Sierra Rutile is also associated to the Pan African Belt, a large nappe unit characterised by metamorphosed schists, gneiss and orthogneisses. Tertiary to Recent sediments, known as the Bullom Group, unconformably overlays the crystalline basement rocks. The Bullom Group comprises sediments recognised as having been deposited in alluvial, fluvial, coastal marine and estuarine environments. Rutile and other heavy minerals were liberated in response to the erosion of topographically elevated areas subsequently deposited in erosional valleys or as alluvial fans.

The Sierra Rutile properties have a mineral resource, reported in accordance with the JORC Code (2012) as of the 31st of December 2016 of 60 Mt* at @ 1.26% rutile, 0.12% ilmenite and 0.16% zircon (Measured); 538 Mt* at @ 1.02% rutile, 0.14% ilmenite and 0.07% zircon (Indicated); 122 Mt* at @ 1.06% rutile, 0.00% ilmenite and 0.01% zircon (Inferred) (http://www.sierra-rutile.com/).

*BWA have been unable to verify the historic resource estimates and as such for the purpose of this technical report these are not treated as current resources in accordance with JORC (2112) or similar reporting standards. BWA also cautions that this information is not necessarily indicative of the mineralisation on the property that is subject of the technical report.

Competent Person’s Statement

The information in this report which relates to exploration results for the Nkoteng Project is based upon and fairly represents information collected and compiled by Mr Emmanuel Simo, MSc., Senior Geologist and Chief Geologist for BWA, who is a Member of the Australian Institute of Geoscientists.

The exploration results were reviewed by Mr J.N. Hogg, MSc. MAIG, Principal Geologist for Addison Mining Services (AMS) and Non-executive Director of BWA.

Mr Simo and Mr Hogg have sufficient experience relevant to the style of mineralisation, the type of deposit under consideration and to the activity undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the JORC Code 2012 edition of the Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves.

Mr Hogg has reviewed and verified the technical information that forms the basis of and has been used in the preparation of this announcement, including all sampling and analytical data, and analytical techniques. Mr Hogg consents to the inclusion in this announcement of the matters based on the information, in the form and context in which it appears.

Forward Looking Statement

This announcement contains forward-looking statements which involve a number of risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are expressed in good faith and believed to have a reasonable basis. These statements reflect current expectations, intentions or strategies regarding the future and assumptions based on currently available information. Should one or more of the risks or uncertainties materialise, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary from the expectations, intentions and strategies described in this announcement. No obligation is assumed to update forward looking statements if these beliefs, opinions and estimates should change or to reflect other future developments.

For further information on the Company, please visit http://www.bwagroupplc.com/index.html

Glossary of Technical Terms:

“%”

percent;

Al2O3

Aluminium Oxide;

“ALS”

Australian Laboratory Services;

“AMS”

Addison Mining Services;

"BRGM"

Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minié
(French Geological Survey);

"BWA"

BWA Group PLC;

"DTM"

Digital Terrain Model. Computerised topographic model;

"DUP"

Décret d'Utilité Publique (Public Utility Decree);

"HMS"

Heavy Mineral Sands;

“km”

Kilometre;

"TiO2"

Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium (IV) oxide. Generally sourced from ilmenite, rutile, and anatase;

"Zr"

Zircon or Zirconium;

“JORC (2012)”

the 2012 edition of the JORC code;

“JORC”

the Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves, as published by the Joint Ore Reserves Committee of The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Australian Institute of Geoscientists and Minerals Council of Australia;

“m”

metre;

“ME-XRF11bE”

Analysis by Fusion/XRF;

“QA/QC”

Quality assurance/quality control.

Ends -