With its deal to take a majority stake in a suite of Malawi-based lead-silver-zinc assets, Force Commodities (ASX:4CE) is hoping to create near-term value for investors via an accelerated exploration program and an initial small-scale mining operation.
Taking its chances in the landlocked African country of Malawi, the company has turned its attention to base metals, signing a Heads of Agreement to purchase an initial 51% stake of Galena Mining Limited, a Malawian incorporate company.
Galena owns the rights to explore for lead, silver and zinc over three granted exploration licenses and one mining license (currently under application).
The licenses – which lie 45km from the capital city of Lilongwe and extend over 1,414km2 – cover areas of known historic and current small-scale galena mining activities and previous areas of exploration and feasibility study work for graphite mineralisation.
The mining lease application (for an initial term of 5 years) extends over 5km2 and includes areas of exposed galena mineralisation.
Importantly, recent geological mapping and ground EM surveys identified over 25 artisanal areas of workings and a substantial number of anomalous areas considered highly prospective for high grade lead and silver mineralisation.
Recent exploration work around these open pits has further identified multiple interpreted zones of parallel, shallow mineralisation (down to 20m below surface) and with strike lengths of up to 500m.
Trial mining has recently been conducted by Galena with a plus 100 tonne bulk sample from the Grand Canyon, Riverside and Small Canyon prospects trucked to ALS Laboratories in South Africa where it was assayed.
Those assays confirmed a high-grade product grading an average 60.48% lead and over 700 grams per tonne silver without any processing.
Talking to The Pick, Force managing director Jason Brewer said the assets had the potential to deliver short term cash flow and shareholder value.
“There will two strategies going forward across the tenements,” he said. “On the exploration side, we will be identifying the source of these very high-grade lead, sliver, zinc mineralisation systems that we are seeing.
“We should be able to do this I believe based upon the visible mineralisation, the shallow nature of it, the multiple sources of mineral that has been identified by the ground electromagnetic work, which is currently being undertaken.
“On the other side, we are looking at how we can move very quickly and rapidly towards establishing a small-scale mining operation,” he added.
On the subject of exploration, Mr Brewer believes there’s quite a big mineralised system but the work needs to be done to establish that.
“We need to prove up the resources and we need to drill fundamentally. On the mining side, we have got the mining pits already exposed.
“We have artisanal mining there. We have an opportunity to go in, apply modern day mining practices, grade control drilling and really define a project which we can deliver over the course of this year.”
Force is currently finalising technical and legal due diligence over the assets and has successfully raised $350,000 to carry out due diligence and for general working capital.
Once due diligence is complete, Force will begin onsite exploration work and appoint in-country consultants and management.
Recently, highly-experienced London-based mining engineer Simon Grant-Rennick was appointed to help in talks with global commodity trading groups in London, Switzerland and the United States.
These discussions are focussed on both the purchase and testing of up to a further 300 tonnes of material to be bulk sampled over the next six weeks as part of the Company’s due diligence review and advancement of the project.
He will also assist in developing longer term partnerships and offtake and marketing arrangements.
Force also owns a 70% stake in the Kitotolo-Katamba lithium project and 51% interest in JV over Kanuka lithium project, both located in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Final assays from its Phase 1 exploration program at Kitotolo-Katamba are pending. Once received and reviewed, Force will plan the next phase of lithium exploration activities in the DRC.
Shares in Force have been trading at 0.9c.