ASX listed base metals producer Symbol Mining has nearly doubled its exploration holdings in Nigeria after it was granted 6 additional exploration licences covering 472 square kilometres surrounding the flagship Macy lead/zinc mine this week.
The company has also applied for a further two exploration licences covering geology along strike from the Zurak zinc deposit, located about 50km southwest of the Macy project area.
Symbol said that it expects the applications around Zurak to be granted within a month.
The newly granted tenements and tenement applications cover very prospective geology in the under-explored, base metal-rich Benue Trough and with the company’s first-mover advantage, it is now the largest landholder for these commodities in Nigeria.
According to the company, the new acquisitions and applications cover significant areas of artisanal workings, some of which were up until recently producing high grade, direct shipping lead/zinc ores from near surface.
Symbol has also amended and extended its Imperial JV agreement with partner Goidel Resources where it controls 60%, with Goidel holding the balance.
The companies have agreed to amend the agreement by introducing a 50km inclusion zone surrounding the existing three exploration licences, adjacent to the Macy deposit.
In future, if either party holds, acquires or wishes to acquire tenements within this zone, then the Imperial JV will have the right to acquire those tenements at cost.
Symbol has also agreed with Goidel to extend the option to acquire an existing exploration licence along strike from the Macy deposit, subject to the company completing at least 4,000 metres of drilling before the end of 2019.
That option can also be extended by the company for a further 12 months, if required.
Symbol CEO Tim Wither said: “The agreement with Goidel and the granting of six new tenements from the Nigerian Government effectively doubles the Imperial JV’s landholding in the highly prospective Benue Trough.”
“The granting of the additional licenses is in line with our strategy of expanding our pipeline of quality and highly prospective exploration projects, potentially adding to our success at the Macy project.
“These additional licenses represent a rare opportunity to secure a growing land position in underexplored region, where we have significant expertise”.
The company now plans to complete an initial geological review including field reconnaissance, rock chip sampling and geochemical sampling in areas of interest, with the aim of prioritising future exploration targets.
Symbol will also undertake ground geophysical surveys, that will include high-resolution induced polarisation or “IP” surveys over the entire Macy mining licence in the March quarter of 2019.
According to company management, open pit operations at Macy are progressing well, with commissioning of the wet plant for ore beneficiation at the mine expected shortly.