The Thabazimbi Iron Ore Project ("Thabazimbi") is located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, some 200km north west of Pretoria. Thabazimbi comprises five New Order Prospecting Rights: Rotterdam, Klipgat, Vlaknek, Donkerpoort and Wachteenbietjiesdraai. The five Prospecting Rights surround the town of Thabazimbi, which lies 945 metres above sea-level and is located approximately 130km from several major towns, including Rustenburg, Brits, Bela Bela and Lephalale.
Since commencing in late 2007, Aquila’s exploration has led to the discovery of the Meletse Iron Ore Deposit ("Meletse Deposit") on the Donkerpoort Prospecting Right. This deposit extends onto a portion of the adjoining Klipgat Prospecting Right. Meletse boasts a JORC-compliant Resource of 80.8Mt at 61.09% Fe, of which 75% falls into the Measured and Indicated categories. The Meletse Deposit is situated at the base of the Penge Iron Formation, along the contact with underlying black carbonaceous shales and dolomites. This high grade iron ore deposit outcrops at surface and is very low in contaminants.
A detailed Scoping Study of the Meletse Deposit, which includes a conceptual mine schedule, may support an open pit operation, producing high grade (>62% Fe) lump and fine ore both for export and for domestic markets. It is expected that at least 65% of the iron ore product from the Meletse Deposit will be high grade lump ore. From a rail siding near the mine, ore can potentially be supplied to export markets via the existing rail network of Transnet, the state-owned logistics company, or to domestic steel mills.
A mining right application has already been submitted in respect of the Meletse deposit.
Meletse fits well with the South Africa Government’s planned infrastructure development and is complementary to the type of investment the state plans to make in key infrastructure.
The project supports primary goals of the South African Government's National Development Plan, namely:
- Job creation;
- Skills development; and
- Economic growth.
Investment during construction plus on-going sustaining capital will support creation of ~300 jobs during construction and ~450 jobs during operation, which are to be sourced where possible from local communities. Local employment will contribute to skills development for staff and community members, including:
- Adult basic education and training;
- Portable skills training; and
- Internships and bursaries.