The agreement with Trek Metals Limited will see Apollo earn-in an interest of up to 80% in the Kroussou Zinc-Lead Project.
It will earn a 70% interest by spending $2 million on the project within three years and a further 10% by spending a further $2 million within five years.
150 zinc-lead occurrences
Exploration to date has resulted in the identification of 150 zinc-lead mineral occurrences over a plus-70-kilometre strike length of prospective geology, validating the province-scale base metals potential.
These occurrences are associated with 18 channels, each representing an exploration target with the potential to host significant shallow, zinc-lead mineralisation.
Only four of these prospects have been drill tested to date and this work intersected zinc-lead mineralisation at very shallow depths.
There are multiple opportunities for discovery with all 18 prospects remaining open and underexplored while broader, deeper parts of the basin to the west are completely untested.
The Kroussou project consists of one prospecting licence covering 986.5 square kilometres in Ngounié Province, 220 kilometres southeast of the capital city of Libreville.
It is readily accessible using a bitumen highway that runs south from Libreville and all-weather unsealed roads and logging tracks that lead into the project area.
The project is surrounded by significant oil and gas and logging activities which facilitate good access to the area and useful road, port and communications infrastructure.
A small river port at Yeno, about 65 kilometres west of the project, is used by the timber and oil industries to barge equipment and product to Gabon’s main commercial shipping base at Port Gentil.
This is around three days by river from Kroussou project and this system presents a relatively cheap logistical solution for operations to and from the main export facilities.
Previous exploration at the project has been severely curtailed by limited access to capital.
Test work results
Initial metallurgical test work has confirmed high recoveries and produced separate, high-grade and high-quality zinc and lead concentrates.
Apollo’s initial exploration will focus on defining sufficient shallow, high-grade zinc-lead mineralisation to justify commencement of feasibility studies.
Exploration can begin quickly given the existence of local drilling contractors, existing site infrastructure and good access to drill targets using logging tracks.
Furthermore, Apollo’s existing French-speaking team will be combined with local Gabonese teams to rapidly begin work.
The exploration plan includes infill and extensional drilling program at Dikaki prospect before the end of the dry season in late September.
Apollo also aims to rank and prioritise exploration targets based on historical data and to conduct surface exploration programs comprising soil surveying, geological mapping and rock chip sampling.
Ground geophysics will be undertaken to refine identified prospects and to generate new targets.
Gabon is a mature mining jurisdiction and has a supply of labour used to support exploration and mining operations while the government is mining-friendly and supports expanding the mining industry.
Apollo aims to take advantage of encouraging market fundamentals for zinc and lead, which are sister metals with unique properties making them essential industrial metals widely used in everyday life.
The global zinc market size is expected to grow by almost 988,000 tonnes during 2019-2023 at a CAGR of over 1%.
Researchers are developing zinc-based batteries to overcome overheating and explosion problems as in the case of lithium-ion batteries.
The growth in adoption of smartphones, electric vehicles (EVs), mild hybrid engines and power grid storages will further increase the demand for zinc.
Lead is widely used for car batteries, pigments, ammunition, cable sheathing, weights for lifting, weight belts for diving, lead crystal glass, radiation protection and in some solders. It is often used to store corrosive liquids.
Lead is used as a pure metal, alloyed with other metals, or as a chemical compound.