Rio Tinto completes program phase of Midnight Sun project
Rio Tinto Mining and Exploration has completed the Initial Work Program Phase of the earn-in and joint venture agreement on Midnight Sun’s Solwezi Licenses in Zambia, incurring project expenditures in excess of £2.23 million.
Under the ensuing Stage 1 of the Earn-In Agreement, Rio Tinto may earn a 51 percent interest the Solwezi Liceneses by incurring a further £12 million of project expenditures within four years, as well as making cash payments to Midnight Sun, according to a Midnight Sun statement.
During the initial work phase, Rio Tinto complied all the available Solwezi License data produced by Midnight Sun and prior operators into their management systems and completed additional field work. The goal of the work was to strengthen their geological understanding of the Solwezi Licenses and further delineate exploration targets on the licenses, the statement explains.
“I am very pleased to see the attention Rio Tinto is giving this project. Under the terms of the Earn-In Agreement, Rio Tinto had two full field seasons to complete the Initial Work Program and they completed the program in a matter of months. Now, without any interruption in field work, they have elected to continue on to the next phase of the earn-in," says Al Fabbro, President and CEO of Midnight Sun.
During the Initial Work Program, the majority of the field work undertaken by Rio Tinto was focused in the area around the 22 Zone and includes:
- Infill soil sampling program, completed on 250 metre x 250 metre spacing
- Airborne geophysical survey collecting magnetic, radiometric, and digital terrain modelling data, completed on 50-metre line spacing.
- A natural source audio-frequency magnetotelluric geophysical survey, totalling 72.3-line kilometres.
- A regional gravity survey, 1-3km spaced.
- Air core drilling, 165 holes totalling 6,050 metres.
Currently, a 3,000-metre diamond drill program is underway, the statement adds.
The Solwezi Licences consist of two individual exploration licences totalling 506sqkms, situated in the North-Western Province of Zambia on the prolific Zambia-Congo Copper Belt and next to Africa’s largest copper mining complex, First Quantum’s Kansanshi Mine.
In October, Midnight Sun and Rio Tinto announced all subjects and conditions relating to a previously announced earn-in and joint venture agreement between the two companies had been removed, with the agreement receiving final approval from the TSX Venture Exchange.
Under the terms of the agreement, Rio Tinto can earn up to a 75 percent interest in Midnight Sun’s Solwezi Licences.
AngloGold Ashanti establishes BG Umoja JV in Tanzania
AngloGold Ashanti, in line with it s strategy to ensure a sustainable contribution to the economies of host countries, has established the BG Umoja joint venture (JV), in Tanzania.
Awarded a $186m two-year mining contract for the Nyankanga and Geita Hill underground mining projects, the 80/20 joint venture is a partnership between Africa Underground Mining Services (AUMS) Tanzania, a subsidiary of Australia’s Perenti Group, and local drilling services and mining- supply company, Geofields Tanzania Limited.
The partnership is modelled on a similar underground mining joint venture at the Company’s Obuasi Redevelopment Project in Ghana between AUMS Ghana and Accra-based, wholly Ghanaian-owned Rocksure and will help build local specialised mining capacity.
“We’re working with our experienced mining contractors to assist in establishing local joint ventures for long-term transfer of sustainable skills, and to continue building on our sustainable local procurement programmes,” commented Sicelo Ntuli, AngloGold Ashanti’s Chief Operating Officer: Africa.
“AngloGold Ashanti is building sustainable local procurement programmes that will allow it to stimulate economic and social development at all of its operations, evidenced by the significant contribution Geita has made to the fiscus and people of Tanzania.”
AngloGold Ashanti’s annual expenditure with indigenous Tanzanian suppliers has almost tripled to $162mn since 2016. The company’s local team in Tanzania has set itself an ambitious target of 60% to 70% of all expenditures with indigenous Tanzanian companies, by 2025.
Scope 3 Emissions
In addition, AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita Gold Mine has awarded a two-year fuel transportation contract, worth approximately $10.8m a year, to two local contractors - one of which is originally from Geita. This is in line with the mine’s commitment to contribute to the economies of host communities. The Geita-based company was part of Geita Mine’s supply chain capacity building initiative for host community suppliers, a partnership between the Mine and the National Economic Empowerment Council.
To influence Scope 3 emissions, trucks are to be compliant with EURO IV emissions standards, tankers are to be made of an aluminium alloy material to reduce weight and the age of the fleet will be maintained at less than six years.
Diversity & Inclusion
The contractors already employ women fuel tanker drivers, fulfilling the Mine’s requirements for diversity and inclusion. The two contractors both own workshop facilities in Geita town and participate in social initiatives aimed at uplifting the lives of host community residents.
AngloGold Ashanti has been operating at Geita Gold Mine for more than 20 years, with the project initially a single pit mine, evolving now to a predominantly underground operation, employing 5,700 employees and contractors.
Earlier this year, the Government of Tanzania recognized AngloGold Ashanti’s contribution to the economy of the country, awarding it for its outstanding performance in a number of areas, including environmental and safety performance, corporate social investment, the best taxpayer in the mining sector, the runners up in local business content and overall best performer in the mining sector in Tanzania in 2019/2020.
Geita Gold Mine
Geita, one of AngloGold Ashanti’s flagship mines, is located in north-western Tanzania in the Lake Victoria goldfields of Mwanza region, about 120km from Mwanza and 4km west of the town of Geita. It has been in operation as a large-scale mine since 2000.