African Mining Network

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AMN - TANZANIA: Walkabout adds gold project to portfolio

Walkabout Resources has secured tenure over a highly prospective, underexplored gold region in southwest Tanzania. The company considers the Amani Gold Project to be a valuable addition to its diverse mineral exploration portfolio in Africa and the UK.

The project has been a focus for exploration since 2016 when new geological mapping and fieldwork confirmed the hard rock gold potential of the area.

The area has the potential to host high-grade orogenic gold mineralisation similar to the Lupa Goldfields where Shanta Gold Limited has numerous deposits.

Walkabout Resources chairman Trevor Benson said: “Walkabout’s strategy has always been to maintain a diversified portfolio and continually look for high-value exploration opportunities.

“We believe the Amani Gold Project with its significant alluvial gold endowment will potentially provide significant value to the company while not distracting us from the funding and building of the Lindi Jumbo Graphite Project.”

Even though there was a mini alluvial gold-rush to the area in the 1990s, it was never followed up with modern exploration techniques to locate primary hard rock mineralisation source.

Historically, alluvial gold nuggets were recovered from the Amani area so processing of hard rock material was never a priority despite gold in quartz veins and rubble within the alluvial mining area.

The maximum recorded weight for an individual gold nugget was 600 grams and it is estimated by geologists familiar with the area that more than 2.5 tonnes of gold nuggets have been removed by artisanal miners from a 2-kilometre stretch of riverbed in only one of the alluvial mining areas within the Walkabout application area.

Walkabout geologists previously visited the Amani region and highlighted the hard-rock gold potential as the source to the numerous alluvial workings in various streams and tributaries within the area.

Several outcrops were found within the area of the licence where abandoned mining shafts tested hard rock occurrences.

More recently the Department of Earth Sciences at Stellenbosch University conducted field mapping and research within the area to characterise the geology and gold mineralisation of the Amani region.

To complement the granted prospecting licence, the company has submitted three applications in the area covering an area of more than 830 square kilometres.

The area includes clusters of primary mining licences for raw gold, gold, and gold and copper normally associated with the alluvial occurrences or in some cases for primary hard-rock gold.

Walkabout has a permanent technical and administrative presence in Tanzania through its advanced Lindi Jumbo Graphite Project in southeast Tanzania and over the last 10 years has also maintained and developed a loyal and experienced professional team of exploration geologists and field staff.

While detailed planning and overall budget control is conducted at management level, the in-country work can be carried out at very short notice using existing available equipment and expertise without influencing the ongoing work at the Lindi Jumbo Project.

The company continues to progress funding options for development of the Lindi Jumbo Graphite Project through which it aims to take advantage of forecast market conditions for large and jumbo flake graphite products.

One of these options involves engaging with Pareto Securities with the aim of raising US$40 million.

This process has involved the marketing, through Pareto, of a structured high yield bond into international investment markets.

As a result of the global economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 virus, this funding process has seen a decline in potential investor demand.

In addition, Walkabout has, with the assistance of Pareto, implemented a parallel strategy of assessing and entering direct negotiations with a number of African development banks to secure debt funding.

In March, the company commenced direct negotiations with an African development bank and has received a non-binding, conditional term sheet for direct debt for a total of US$30 million.

The company is focused on progressing this transaction and meeting a series of the bank’s stringent loan security requirements, including an equity component precondition, in the near-term.

Walkabout is exploring in southern Namibia at the Eureka Lithium Project and is also exploring for gold and base metals in Northern Ireland and Scotland.