Aziana believes the Manantenina region is one of the largest known undeveloped bauxite fields bordering the Indian Ocean. The bauxite is a residual surficial weathering product, and is widely developed in the Manantenina region. The high available alumina (AvAL2O3), low reactive silica (RxSiO2) and mineralogical (gibbsite) characteristics as well as the proximity to the coast highlight the opportunity for direct shipping of bauxite ore to existing refiners and potential new refineries in China and the Gulf region, with a longer term potential for development of an alumina refinery. Following the announcement of a maiden inferred JORC resource of 10.09 million tonnes of high quality bauxite on the 6.25km2 Esama block, our exploration program continues to confirm the quality and magnitude of the bauxite mineralisation across our 237.50km2 license area.
The Aziana bauxite licenses at Manantenina in SE Madagascar lie between 5km and 10km inland from the Indian Ocean coast. Our exploration programs continue to delineate extensive deposits of high quality bauxite (gibbsite) across two defined project areas at Esama, Ampasimena and Soanomeiny to the South of Manantenina town, which are the current focus on ongoing exploration and further development, and Soavary to the North.
Map showing Esama block (JORC resource area) in relation to potential resource areas at Soavary, Ampasimena and Soanomeiny
Aziana’s strategy has been to evaluate the bauxite by grid sampling with hand dug shafts on a 300m x 300m grid pattern. A 1.0m x 1.0m square shaft is sunk through the bauxite profile and a PQ size channel cut and sampled at 1m intervals vertically down the wall of the shaft. This technique is proven to provide very reliable sampling of the quality and size distribution of the in-ground bauxite profile. Auger drilling has been used to speed up the process of determining bauxite lithologies and thickness in new exploration areas.
Further exploration work is expected to confirm continuity of high quality bauxite across the Esama, Ampasimena and Soanomeiny blocks, which now cover 50km2 and Aziana is confident of defining a significant bauxite resource in this area.
A maiden inferred JORC resource estimate for the Esama block of 10.09 million tonnes at 34.1% AvAL2O3 and 2.3% RxSiO2 was announced on 29 October 2012. The resource calculation is based on a 25% AvAL2O3 cut-off grade and material screened at >2mm. Optimisation of grade and tonnage is expected to show that a higher AvAL2O3 can be achieved in the final product.
The ratio of available alumina to reactive silica (AvAL2O3/RxSiO2) of 14.63 confirms the high quality characteristics of the bauxite and suitability as feedstock for low temperature refineries using the Bayer process for production of Alumina.
Auger drilling has also defined bauxite varying from 4m to 9m thick over four squares of the Ampasimena block, and two exploration shafts intersected 8m @ 48.38% AvAL2O3 and 5.25% RxSiO2 and 6.2m @ 41.17% AvAL2O3 and 1.13% RxSiO2 in the screened >2mm fractions.
Reconnaissance mapping of the new Soanomeiny tenements revealed the presence of similar bauxite mineralisation to that defined on the Esama and Ampasimena blocks and also showed that the Soanomeiny area contains less outcrop than the Esama block.
Exploration shafts were completed on 6 of the 8 blocks (each block is 6.25km2) with gibbsiferous bauxite of similar quality and distribution to the Esama block confirmed by chemical analysis on all six blocks (37.5km2). Auger drilling has confirmed the presence of bauxite lithologies on a seventh block at Soavary.
With strong local and regional political support we continue to quantify the quality and quantity of bauxite over our tenement area. The company believes its exploration target of 100-140 million tonnes with an AvAL2O3 to RxSiO2 ratio of 13-16 is realistic and achievable.