The transformation of Bezant Resources PLC (LON:BZT) is proceeding apace, as due diligence is underway and proceeding as planned on the Hope copper-gold project in Namibia, which the company is in the process of acquiring.
Bezant has had a tricky time of it in recent years, attempting some heavy lifting of projects in difficult jurisdictions, but here executive chairman Colin Bird is returning to one of his favourite stomping grounds, Southern Africa. Already, earlier in the year, he’s taken the company into Zambia, with the acquisition of a copper project there. Now, it’s the turn of Namibia.
The Hope project is situated on Namibia’s famous Matchless copper belt, which also plays host to the country’s major copper smelter at Tsumeb. This has been owned and operated by the Canadian company Dundee Precious Metals (TSE:DPM) since a declining copper price began to precipitate the demise of its former owner Weatherly International some years ago.
But Dundee has invested in Tsumeb and expanded its output, and the Matchless copper belt remains a major regional hub for exploration.
Bezant’s entry into the scene is recent. On 19 June 2020 it announced the proposed acquisition of Virgo Resources Ltd, the owner of Hope, and immediately set about the due diligence process required to complete the deal.
Much is already known about Hope. It has a JORC resource 10.2mln tonnes of ore grading 1.9% copper and 0.3 grams per tonne gold. Within that, there’s an indicated resource of 3.09mln tonnes grading 2.53% copper 0.84 grams per tonne.
Among the more significant of the historic drill intercepts are 7.1 metres grading 9.18% copper from a depth of 186 metres, 7.65 metres at 5.32% copper and 1.37 grams gold from 147.66 metres, and 12.09 metres grading 1.47% copper and 0.21 grams from 280.7 metres.
So far, test work has shown that excellent recoveries of 96% copper and 84% gold can be returned to a 28% copper concentrate via conventional flotation.
The Hope project includes the Gorob-Vendome deposit, which on its own boasts 3.83 million tonnes of mineralised ore, with some intercepts running at over 4% copper, but no available gold assays.
However, as Bezant begins to get to grips with the Namibian dataset, much more information is likely to be forthcoming.
“The more we dig into the archives, it becomes evident that resources quoted were the subject of extensive drilling programmes which gives us added confidence,” says Bird.
“It is also evident that the contribution of gold has been neglected which in today's times could in our view be quite significant.”
He reckons that the valuation of Gorob-Vendome could be given a significant uplift were it to be tested for gold. And not only that.
It also he says, “gives the scope for further discovery of similar type mineralisation as the tenure contains 150 kilometres not yet tested ."
The combined resource at the Hope project is derived from three deposits, Hope, Gorob-Vendome and Anomaly.
The Hope deposit has the highest gold grade at 0.84 grames, but also has most of historic drill holes that have been assayed for gold. Most of the drilling at Gorob-Vendome is from older programmes dating back to the late 1970s and early 1980s and were not assayed for gold.
The plan now is to increase the size of the existing resource, and to deepen the company’s understanding of it. Historic drill core will be resampled, twin holes will be drilled, and new drilling along plunge will be undertaken. The results from this work will then be used to generate an updated resource which in turn will underpin a scoping study. Regional exploration will also be undertaken.