Mawson West Limited ("MWE" or the "Company") controls 19 contiguous exploration licenses and two mining licenses covering a total of 7,242 km2, wrapping around the western side of Lake Mwero from ~40 kms north of Kapulo to ~70 kms SSW of Dikulushi. The Company considers targets in the permit area in terms of their proximity to the processing plant at Dikulushi and the plant in construction at Kapulo. Prospects within plausible ore haulage distance of these facilities, called "satellite" prospects, are investigated with a smaller target threshold than prospects that would require "standalone" infrastructure. The exploration maturity across this area varies from submature in the immediate Kapulo and Dikulushi environs, to underexplored to effectively virgin elsewhere. Since 2010 MWE has dedicated approximately two thirds of its exploration expenditure to satellite resource definition, and has conducted reconnaissance exploration across approximately half of its underexplored and virgin permit areas.
The Company believes there is considerable potential remaining in its permit areas. The areas are conveniently split into six districts, from north to south: Kapulo; Kasama; Kaswete; Dikulushi; Kipako; and Lufukwe. A summary of the exploration status and prospectivity in each are provided below.
The Kapulo Project is at an advanced stage of exploration at the Shaba and Safari North deposits, but is elsewhere at relatively early stages. Further drilling is required to define the depth extents of the resources at both Shaba and Safari North to evaluate potential for underground extensions. The Safari South deposit has only been tested by limited drilling on a nominal 40 m by 30 m grid and additional drilling is required to fully define this resource which may prove to be continuous with Safari North.
Satellite prospects near Kapulo were defined as coincident geochemical and electrical geophysical anomalies. Several such targets were tested in 2011. At Kaminda, immediately south of Safari, a mineralized breccia zone associated with the Kapulo fault was identified but has not yet been fully evaluated. At Shaba North and Shimumba South, zones of pyritic strongly altered breccia associated with the Kapulo Fault were identified but contained little copper.
Copper occurrences are associated with geochemical and/or electrical conductivity anomalies along the northern Kapulo Fault represent standalone targets at Shimumba North, Pinderi, and Kisabi South. These are yet to be tested by drilling. The northernmost parts of the Kapulo Fault are at earlier stages of investigation, and have been covered with drainage geochemistry and reconnaissance mapping. As a result of this work several drainage anomalies and mineral occurrences have been identified near Kisabi.
The forward exploration program at Kapulo includes further testing of the Kaminda mineralized zone, reconnaissance drill-testing of defined Kapulo Fault targets, and soil geochemical surveys along the north Kapulo fault at Kisabi.
Exploration in the Kasama district is at an early stage, targeting standalone copper, nickel or gold deposits. Reconnaissance mapping, documentation of artisanal workings, and drainage geochemical surveys were conducted in 2010 and 2011. Consequently, MWE has identified outcropping mineralization in four areas, and has revealed strong drainage and soil copper anomalism in several other zones. The geology at Kasama is distinct from that at Kapulo, and several different copper mineralization styles are recognized in a thinned Katanga Supergroup package.
Additionally, Lower Mesoproterozoic rocks of the Kibara Terrane that underlie the Katanga Supergroup are commonly exposed and locally host gold-bearing quartz veins. These represent the southern parts of the same terrane as hosts significant gold deposits at Twanginza and Lugushwa (Banro Corporation), 300 km further north. The metasedimentary rocks were cut first by ultramafic intrusions prior to metamorphism, and these were in turn cut by felsic intrusions during and after metamorphism. The ultramafic rocks are therefore constrained to have intruded at ~1.4 Ga, and are therefore comparable in age to the intrusive rocks associated with nickel mineralization at Kabanga in neighbouring Tanzania (Barrick/Xstrata). MWE therefore considers the ultramafic intrusive rocks on its permits to be prospective for nickel and/or platinum group elements.
The forward exploration program in the Kasama district includes additional geological mapping and major surface geochemical surveys to define the nature, scope and distribution of metal at each of these prospects.
The Kaswete district is one of the least-explored parts of MWE's permit area. It is being targeted for standalone copper deposits.
The Katangan geology in this area spans the transition from a thinned package in the north to a well-developed Kundelungu and Nguba sequence in the south adjacent to the Dikulushi district. Significant artisanal mining has occurred at Kaswete, where high grade copper ore occurs in a diamictite inferred to belong to the lowermost Kundelungu Group. A historical soil chemistry survey at Kaswete yielded significant anomalism over a strike length of 1.6 km. Little other systematic exploration has been done in the district. Drainage geochemistry surveying in 2011 covered the northern part of the district and yielded several anomalies that will be followed up by mapping.
The forward exploration program in the Kaswete district includes regional geological mapping, prospect-scale mapping at Kaswete, and completion of regional drainage geochemical surveys.
The Dikulushi deposit is at an advanced stage of exploration, with a 150 m deep open pit and several kilometres of underground development located below the pit. The Dikulushi deposit has been drilled to indicated resource status to an average vertical depth of 225 m, and inferred resources extend to an average of 350 m below surface. Exploratory deeper holes at Dikulushi have demonstrated continuity of strong mineralisation down to at least 500 m below surface, and the deposit remains open at depth.
The Company has also completed a review of existing satellite prospects and generated new targets with the objective of defining additional open pit resources within trucking distance of the plant. MWE has executed detailed drilling at four prospects within 15 km of Dikulushi. These deposits, Boomgate, Golfcourse, Kazumbula, and Kabusanje, have been drilled on grids ranging from 20 m to 75 m spacings. This drilling has yielded sufficient evidence to support a high degree of confidence in both the geological and grade continuity of these four satellite deposits. There are another six prospects within the same radius that are under investigation but have either not yet been drilled at the same level of detail, or have not been drilled at all.
These satellite deposits are like Dikulushi in several respects. They are rich in Cu and Ag without material concentration other elements. The primary mineralization consists dominantly of chalcocite, which formed as a replacement of bornite and/or chalcopyrite, with lesser oxide development at shallow depths. However, the satellite deposits differ from Dikulushi in that the copper minerals are principally disseminated between the grains of the host sandstone, and are confined to one stratigraphic horizon, i.e., are stratabound. They are therefore systematically lower in grade than the semi-massive ore hosted in the Dikulushi Fault. Distinctively, the Kazumbula deposit shows hybrid characteristics of both fault-hosted and disseminated mineralization.
The Kipako District is the southern extension of the same geological environment as Dikulushi. The geology comprises Kundelungu and Nguba Group strata deformed into two upright open NNW-trending anticlines that are cut by short-displacement faults and fractures. This area is being targeted for standalone copper deposits.
Historical soil and termite-mound chemistry surveys cover approximately 60% of the prospective stratigraphy in the Kipako district. These reveal substantial copper anomalies at Kibila and Kibodia that are sourced from the same stratigraphic unit as hosts the deposits at Dikulushi, Boomgate, Golfcourse and Kazumbula. At Kiankalamu, a broad low-level termite mound copper anomaly covers at least 12 km2 of lower most Kundelungu and Nguba Group strata and is coincident with a major magnetic, electrical and radiometric geophysical anomalies that share similarities with the geophysical responses at Dikulushi. The prospective stratigraphy in the southern part of the Kipako district is largely covered by alluvial sediments and remains unexplored.
The forward program in the Kipako district includes first-pass drill testing of the known targets and extension of soil and/or termite chemistry surveys across the untested prospective stratigraphy.
The Lufukwe district comprises the valley of the Lufukwe River, which has cut down into the Kundelungu Plateau and exposed the core of an elongate 20 km-long doubly-plunging upright open anticline. Unroofing of the anticline has exposed the deepest levels of the Katanga Supergroup known anywhere on the Company's permits. An outcropping, stratabound disseminated copper-silver mineralized zone in the Nguba Group (Kinkumbi Prospect) was the subject of reconnaissance exploration by Falconbridge in the 1970s. In 2003, Anvil mapped the anticline and executed a termite mound chemistry survey along the entire length of the target horizon. This survey revealed continuous surface copper anomalism along 14 strike-kilometres of the host unit. A two kilometer-long segment of the unit was the target of a six-hole drilling program conducted by Anvil in 2003, which proved that the prospect hosts significant mineralization in the subsurface.
MWE is evaluating the Kinkumbi prospect as a standalone deposit, and is broadening its mapping and surface chemistry coverage to incorporate other stratigraphic levels considered to be prospective by analogy with the Dikulushi and Kipako districts. The forward program at Lufukwe includes continuation of mapping and surface chemistry surveys, and drilling at Kinkumbi to both confirm Anvil's results and constrain both the along-strike grade continuity and supergene effects on the shallow levels of the mineralized zone.