Epangelo Mining wants in on Haib copper

Windhoek – The Namibia government will force Canadian miner Afri-Can Marine Minerals Corporation, which owns rights to develop the Haib copper project in the southern parts of the country, to partner the state-owned Epangelo Mining. Afri-Can Marine Minerals Corp is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and has been drilling at the Haib copper project in partnership with exploration group, Teck Resources Ltd. Haib is the second largest known copper deposit in Namibia after London-listed Weatherly International Plc’s mines, Otjihase, Matchless and Tschudi deposits, situated in the northern-central parts of the country. The Namibian cabinet, which recently announced that it had endorsed the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s decision to give all future strategic exploration and mining rights to state-owned Epangelo, added that the recently established company should be part of Haib copper project, which is situated in the Karas region. Exploration drilling conducted so far indicates that the Haib deposit has a reserve estimate of 630 million tonnes of copper at an average grade of 0.34 percent. The Haib project, close to the South African border, is a classic porphyry copper-molybdenum deposit hosted within quartz-feldspar porphyry. The government has expressed frustration that despite Afri-Can Marine Minerals holding the license for the Haib copper project, no development has taken place. “Apart from the Weatherly mines where known copper occurrence is apparent and has been exploited for decades, the Haib deposit in the south is also considerable and one that the minister would like the state to get involved in. “The current license holders have had exploration rights there for a very long time and little progress has been achieved over the years. “Other projects will be identified for potential state company participation and submissions will be made to that effect,” the Namibian cabinet said. Namibia has classified copper and rare earth metals amongst a list of strategic minerals of which future exploration and mining rights will only be given to Epangelo Mining. The directive will not affect existing exploration licences. Epangelo Mining will then enter into joint ventures for exploration and exploitation. The strategic minerals are uranium, gold, coal, diamonds, copper and rare earth metals. While the full exploration potential is still to be realised, Namibia is believed to be sitting on substantial deposits of rare earth metals. The ministry of mines and energy said that it is sitting on 358 exploration license applications for base and rare metals. Australian and Canadian exploration companies top the list of mining investors currently exploring for rare earth metals. Toronto-listed Namibia Rare Earths Inc is currently developing its Lofdal rare earth project in north-western Namibia.

May 2011
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