Mano River Moves to Pre-Feasibility Stage for Putu
The Putu iron ore project is located in the center of a 425-km2 exploration license in Grand Gedeh County of eastern Liberia, approximately 100 km northeast from a potential deep water port of Greenville and 200 km south east of the Mt. Nimba iron ore deposit. The project consists of two prominent ridges that strike northeastsouthwest— Mt. Jideh and Mt. Ghi.
Exploration to date has focused on Mt. Jideh, which comprises a high-grade outcropping magnetite/hematite mineralized zone that has undergone various stages of weathering. Mt. Jideh has a strike length of approximately 12 km based on mapping, surface sampling and airborne magnetic data.
Mt. Ghi is a lower priority target and runs parallel to Mt. Jideh but does not have a similarly strong magnetic anomaly or significant outcrop. The company said Mt. Ghi has been excluded from any estimation.
SeverStal Resources is a 6.29% shareholder in Mano River Resources through its wholly owned subsidiary, Lybica Holdings B.V. Its deal with Mano River Resources provides for $15 million in cash to be injected into the joint venture company, now renamed SeverStal Liberia Iron Ore Ltd., as well as an additional $15 million debt facility. The $30 million, said Mano River, will provide for the specific advancement towards a definitive feasibility study.
Pre-feasibility planning is currently under way with a detailed airborne magnetic survey planned to commence in April and a 27,000-m multi-rig diamond drill program to commence in the second quarter of 2009. The company said it planned to begin Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) negotiations during the first half of 2009 with the Government of Liberia. This agreement will secure tenure for production for at least 25 years, as per the government’s timetable and minerals legislation, and will replace the current exploration license which was extended for two years in September 2008.
The company reported that during 2008, rehabilitation and sampling of an existing adit yielded continuous mineralization with an average combined grade of magnetite and hematite of 42.69% Fe from 103 adit samples Recent drilling indicates that the weathered part of the mineralization is partially suitable for DSO (direct shipping ore) production with lump/fines ratio close to 1:1.
Based on that data and extending both the hematite and magnetite ore potential to the physical boundaries of the deposit, and in line with a 2007 independent technical report by SRK Consulting (UK) Ltd., the company estimates that the exploration target for Putu can be increased from 900 million mt to well over 1 billion mt, projecting a mine life of up to 40 years. A production base case for Putu is envisaged to be 20 million mt/y of 65% concentrate iron ore grade for exports.