July 19, 2008
Australian Firm Wins Platinum Exploration Deal in Southern Africa
Text of report by Botswana newspaper Mmegi website on 18 July
[Unattributed report: "Impact Partners With Impala To Conquer Southern Africa"]Australian explorer Impact Minerals has struck a strategic alliance to explore for and develop nickel-platinum deposits in southern Africa with World No 2 global platinum producer, Impala Platinum.
The alliance begins with Impala having first right to earn equity in any projects identified. Some of the southern African countries included in the alliance's focus are Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Madagascar and Malawi.
In Botswana, the alliance will benefit Impact's uranium deposits and prospects near Serule where A-Cap Resources has the Mokobaesi deposit hosted by Karoo group sedimentary rocks.
Impact's managing director Dr Mike Jones said in a statement on Tuesday that the rationale of the alliance is to allow Impala, as the world's second largest platinum producer, to rapidly expand its platinum output while delivering Impact with "considerable upside exposure" to southern Africa's proven nickel provinces.
Under the terms of the agreement, Impala will spend US$800,000 (P15.1m [Pula]) on project generation over the next two years. It can then earn 50 per cent of any project selected for development by free-carrying Impact for the first US$1.946 million (P12.5m) of project expenditure. Impala has to spend US$973,000 (P6.3m) before being able to withdraw from a project.
Jones said this alliance was the most significant development for the company, which listed on the ASX late in 2006 with a suite of nickel, gold and uranium assets across Australia. It has struck joint ventures on some of its Australian projects on the basis that its geoscience team undertakes early generative work, and is either free carried or is sharing the risk with partners.
"Nickel is a natural by-product credit from platinum production and Impala is looking to increase its production of both these metals," Jones said.
"It is therefore in Impala's interest to find an exploration partner with proven technological expertise in nickel, such as Impact, to ensure Impala's global platinum objectives can be more readily met.
"In addition, any projects not meeting Impala's requirements revert 100 per cent to Impact."
This would, he added, provide Impact with significant percentage interest in what will be aggressive exploration campaigns for nickel.
Last December, Impact announced an African uranium quest, applying for prospecting licences in Botswana and appointing former Falconbridge Group director, John Blaine, as its Chief Operating Officer in Africa. Blaine will now manage the alliance, which will headquarter itself in Pretoria, South Africa.
Impala has major interests in southern Africa and operates numerous mines together with a wholly owned smelting and refining facility near Johannesburg. It currently produces around 1 million ounces of platinum and 7,000 tonnes of nickel per annum.
Last week, Impact Minerals announced that it had acquired the remaining 15 per cent shareholding in its uranium prospecting licences in Botswana and now owned 100 per cent of the project.
The company bought the shares from Blaine for two million shares in the company.
"Impact's field work has confirmed that the Botswana prospecting licences are very prospective for uranium and the acquisition of the outstanding 15 per cent of the equity...provides maximum potential benefit to Impact's shareholders," it said in a statement.
Early this month, Impact Minerals reported it had completed a review programme and field checks on prospective uranium tenements in Botswana and identified 10 prospective uranium targets for follow- up work.
The company said new work programmes were scheduled after its completion of an initial interpretation of the Botswana Government's airborne radiometric data and field work in May, which identified about 20 areas over Impact's acreage with uranium anomalism.
Originally published by Mmegi website. Gaborone, in English 18 Jul 08.
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