Cameroon/Republic of Congo – Sundance Resources, the ASX-listed iron ore junior has increased its high-grade hematite ore reserve for stage one for the Mbalam-Nabeba iron ore project in Cameroon and the Republic of Congo by 18.5% to 517 Mt.

The increased ore reserve over the entire Life of Mine maintains low impurities with silica at 4.46%, alumina at 2.80% and phosphorus at 0.09%. All ore reserve estimates for the project are classified and reported in accordance with the JORC Code 2012 Edition.

The estimate, pit designs and mine schedules for the project have been produced by Sundance and comprehensively reviewed by AMC Consultants who have also been engaged by Sundance to independently review and update the mining development capital and operating costs based on the revised ore reserve estimate.

This increase in ore reserves coupled with the recently announced increase in the project production rate from 35 Mtpa to 40 Mtpa will have a substantial and positive impact on the project economics and ensures it is robust to changing iron ore prices.

The material changes that have driven the recent increase in ore reserves since the previously announced ore reserve statement in December 2012 include:

  • Optimisation of the high grade ore reserve process during pit design and mine scheduling phases to produce a complementary premium product by controlling the proportion of the feed ore from ‘low alumina – high silica’ mines in Cameroon (the ‘Mbalam Deposits’ comprising Mbarga and Mbarga South), to blend with feed ore from ‘higher alumina – lower silica’ mines in Congo (the ‘Nabeba Deposits’ comprising Nabeba, Nabeba Northwest and Nabeba South);
  • Increase to a planned 40 Mtpa production rate and maximising Run of Mine ore feed and proportion of blend of DSO with lower grade ores over the full Life of Mine for Stage One;
  • Mining and processing of lower grade ores through a gravity beneficiation circuit from commencement of operations. Previously this processing commenced in year 4 of the mining operation; and
  • Additional indicated hematite resources estimated for the Mbalam and Nabeba deposits as described in the updated mineral resource statement in May 2015.

Sundance has further announced an update to the project’s resource. The high grade hematite mineral resources for the project, which now have over 96% in the indicated category, have increased to 805.7 Mt at a grade of 57.3% iron, in comparison to the previously 775.4 Mt at a grade of 57.2% iron.

This 30.3 Mt increase is the result of:

  • Final geological interpretation of the Nabeba deposit;
  • Inclusion of final laboratory XRF analyses for all completed drill holes; all grades and tonnages are now based on final XRF analyses from previous drilling; and
  • Minor refinements to the geological interpretation, especially at Mbarga and Mbarga South where the base of the transitional domain was lowered to include material containing more than 45% iron.