ASX-listed exploration and development company Minbos Resources’ bid for the Cácata Phosphate concession, located in Cabinda, Angola, has been successful.
In late October 2019, Minbos advised of its intention to formally make an application for the Republic of Angola’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum public tender for Mining Rights Grants for the the Cácata Concessions, which included the area previously held by Minbos in Cabinda – also known as the Cabinda phosphate project.
At the opening of the tenders in December 2019, the Angolan Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum indicated it was targeting the end of February to notify successful bidders, the end of May to negotiate and finalise Mining Investment Contracts with the successful bidders, with a view to signing the Mining Investment Contracts in June upon which the mineral rights are formally granted.
Under the terms of the tender, it is anticipated that Minbos will be granted the equivalent of an exploration licence over the project area. The work commitments on the exploration licence will be negotiated with the Angolan Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum during the next few months and prior to execution of the Mining Investment Contracts.
Other than the normal fees paid for Mining Licenses under the Angolan Mining Code, which is less than $1 000 per year for the first five years, no additional fees have been proposed. The negotiation of a Mining Investment Contract is normal procedure in Angola following the nomination of the preferred applicant/bidder.
Minbos is not aware of any impediment to the successfully negotiation of a Mining Investment Contract. Minbos has been classified as the preferred bidder and believes its unique proposal will be of great benefit to the country. With the awarding of the tender, the sompany has a strong platform to develop the Cácata deposit having spent A$20 million on exploration and feasibility studies on the phosphate projects in the Congo Basin.
Minbos CEO Lindsay Reed thanked the Government of Angola, which undertook a world-class tender process, demonstrating professionalism and transparency throughout the process as well as Minbos in-country Advisor Mr Camache Caturichi, who worked tirelessly to assist on the tender.
“This successful bid is the culmination of more than two years of work by the board and the Minbos team to firstly, re-build government support lost during the joint venture years and secondly, to successfully present a plan for the Cácata Concession that unlocks its potential for the region,” says Reed.
The Cácata Concession at a glance
The Cácata Concession is located 50 km from Porto de Caio, along sealed roads to the newly completed deep-water port, close to existing gas and electricity supplies.
Prior to Minbos securing joint venture rights to Cabinda concessions in 2010, the Cabinda concessions had seen a large amount of previous exploration with drilling and metallurgical testwork being carried out in the early 1970’s, providing the Company had a strong base to produce a high-grade concentrate and/or a value-added fertiliser to maximise returns.
The company completed two drilling programmes (59 holes for a total of 2 561 m) at the Cácata concessions during 2010/11 with the results indicating that Cácata could become a world-class, low-cost DSO Phosphate Project.
These exploration results were disclosed by the company under the 2004 edition of the JORC Code and have not been updated since to comply with the JORC Code 2012 on the basis that the information has not materially changed since it was last reported.
In late August 2011, Minbos released a maiden indicated JORC-compliant resource and Reed was appointed as CEO in 2014 to guide the company through its bankable feasibility study (BFS) which commenced in April 2016.
The current mineral resource at Cácata is 27 Mt grading at 17.7% P2O5 in the measured, indicated and inferred categories, which includes a higher grade “scrub and screen” resource of 13.1 Mt grading at 26.0% P2O5 in the measured and indicated categories.
In October 2017, as part of the testwork and suitability process, the company provided bulk samples to the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) to undertake characterisation and agronomic trials to confirm its suitability for use on Angolan soils and crops.
Minbos believes the agricultural impact of the enhanced phosphate rock project has the potential to transform Angola and the wider Congo Basin. The project could supply all of the phosphate nutrient requirements for the country; however, its most important contribution will be the ability to customise a phosphate nutrient granule to tailor phosphate release timing, incorporate micronutrients to specification, and reduce the economic scale size for phosphate granule production.
Minbo, which plans to deliver high yield/low-cost phosphate fertiliser to the mutual benefit of local farmers and agribusiness and delivering value for its shareholders, will announce its plans for the project including timetables, scope, offtake, approvals and funding in the next few months.