Blencowe Resources PLC (LON:BRES) is a London-listed development company focused on moving the Orom-Cross graphite project, in northern Uganda, into production.
After relisting in April, the company has wasted no time in commencing a 59 hole, 1,800-metre diamond drilling programme.
While the COVID-19 crisis led the company to pause its drilling activities briefly, work has now resumed with results expected in the second half, with a maiden a JORC 2012-complaint mineral resource estimate also anticipated before the end of the year.
I caught up with CEO, Mike Ralston, to discuss Blencowe’s plans for the Orom-Cross Project.
Mike is a chartered accountant with 25 years’ experience developing resources businesses worldwide.
He has been a senior executive and board member for several junior resource companies, including managing director of Balamara Resources Ltd and chief financial officer of Kangaroo Resources Ltd (ASX:KRL). He is currently non-executive chairman of Trigg Mining Ltd (ASX:TMG).
The Orom-Cross Project, meanwhile, lies within the Orom District, of northern Uganda (Figure 1). The Project can be accessed by a 104km long paved road from Gulu to Kitgum and thereafter by 87km of gravel roads.
Figure 1: Location of the Orom-Cross Graphite Project
(Source: Blencowe Resources)
Prior to relisting, the company completed a series of reconnaissance exploration programmes that included geophysics and reassessing previously-completed trenching and drilling results. All of this culminated in the definition of an exploration target* of between 701mt and 1.3bt at a grade between 4.3% total graphitic carbon (TGC) and 8.5% TGC.
(*The potential quantity and grade is conceptual in nature, there has been insufficient exploration to estimate a Mineral Resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the estimation of a Mineral Resource.)
Orom-Cross benefits from already having a 21-year mining licence, which ensures that once the company has completed its studies, and assuming they are favourable, it could rapidly move into production without high-level permitting risk.
Work to date has demonstrated that the graphite mineralisation is associated with deformed neoproterozoic graphitic gneisses and schists.
The Orom-Cross deposit is shallow and should be amenable to open pit mining, with a low-strip ratio and free digging ore. Initial metallurgical studies indicated that a concentrate could be produced with a grade of 94% TGC. A follow up metallurgical programme, expected to commence shortly, is designed to take the product to the next level by targeting the production of a higher-grade, 95-97% TCG, concentrate.
Blencowe is confident that the current drill programme can delineate approximately 8-10mln tonnes of mineralisation, which could provide the initial resource for 10 years of mine life.
The area targeted by the drilling represents less than 1% of the total Orom-Cross graphite deposit, so there is great potential for the company to continue to expand the scale of the deposit with additional exploration.