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.
Unmanned train to allow Vale to reopen iron ore plant
Brazilian miner Vale SA will be able to resume operations at its Timbopeba iron ore dry processing plant in up to two months thanks to the use of an unmanned train, the company said in a statement this week.
Vale - Timbopeba iro ore plant
With the train, Timbopeba will be able to operate at least at 80% of its capacity of 33,000 tonnes of iron ore “fines” per day, reports Reuters.
Vale was forced to shut down the plant in the Alegria mine complex recently after labor authorities in Minas Gerais state banned activities close to the Xingu dam due to concerns of a risk of collapse.
Vale said access by workers and vehicles continues to be suspended in the flood zone of the dam due to the ban even though it remains at emergency level 2, which means there no imminent risk of rupture.
But some workers are allowed entry under strict security precautions and they will get the unmanned train going once it has been tested, which would take between one and two months, the company said.
The unmanned train will travel automatically along 16 kilometers (10 miles) of track operated by a system that can control the speed and activate the brakes, Vale said.
Vale announces first ore at Voisey’s Bay mine extension
Vale has reached the milestone of first ore production at the Reid Brook deposit at the Voisey’s Bay mine expansion project in Northern Labrador, Canada - recognised as the safest mine in Canada.