The new resource, which is exposed at surface and has no overburden, is 2.94 times the previous resource of 90.03 million tonnes at 6.60% THM and is based on a 2% THM cut-off.
It includes a continuous zone over 10 kilometres, up to 2 kilometres wide and 8 to 10 metres thick containing 92.56 million tonnes at 5.24% THM.
Initial dredge mining considered
This zone is being considered for initial dredge mining operations in a scoping study for the project.
Titanium Sands managing director Dr James Searle said: “This massive upgrade in resources for the Mannar Island Project makes a very long-life large-tonnage dredge mining operation a serious consideration.”
Mineral resource domains defined in this resource estimate. Domains 7 and 8 underly the surface exposed domains.
Shares have increased as much as 33% to an intra-day high of 4.8 cents and are up from 3.4 cents at close on April 24.
Mannar Island’s resource remains fully open at depth and partially laterally with the company continuing exploration on highly prospective adjacent areas.
Mineral resource estimates for 0%, 2% and 3% lower cut-offs.
The new mineral resource estimate incorporates RC aircore drilling data from 473 holes drilled in 2019 down to 12 metres below surface as well as 216 new auger holes.
A 2% lower cut-off resource is considered most in keeping with the production economics of analogous projects.
Resource domains extend over a large part of the 26-kilometre-long and 5-kilometre-wide Mannar Island.
Mineral resource estimate for domains 2 and 8.
Other prospective parts of the island outside the mineral resource domains remain unexplored except for a few initial exploration holes which in places have intersected heavy mineral-bearing sands.
Further resource extension and infill drilling is planned, with a 500-hole RC aircore program due to start when Sri Lankan COVID-19 related workplace restrictions enable the company’s Sri Lankan team to recommence work.
Sonic drilling is also being considered for later this year to test for further depth extensions based on the observed widespread heavy minerals in the bottom of the RC aircore drill holes to date.
Mannar Island Project location and mineral resource estimate domains 1 to 8. Domains 7 and 8 underlay respectively domains 1 and 2.
The heavy mineral suite is dominated by the ilmenite minerals of ilmenite, pseudorutile and leucoxene with minor but valuable rutile and zircon components.
Future garnet resource
TSL intended to include garnet in this resource update but the laboratory work was not completed before COVID-19 related temporary closures were implemented in South Africa.
Garnet has been shown to be a large minor component with 8.7% of the heavy mineral assemblage by weight of the metallurgical composite sample analysed.
This will be included in the mineral resource estimate block model at a later date.