African Pioneer plc Provides an Update on the Option Agreement and Subsequent Exploration Programme Entered into with First Quantum
African Pioneer plc provided an update on the Option Agreement and subsequent exploration programme entered into with First Quantum and APP's 80% owned subsidiary African Pioneer Zambia Ltd. The Option Agreement covers four Zambian exploration licences held by African Pioneer Zambia and was signed on 19 January 2022 and announced on 20 January 2022. Highlights of the initial exploration work undertaken on the Projects by First Quantum: pXRF assay results for the first two batches of soil samples over targets within the Licences resulted in First Quantum reporting "significant copper anomalies". Sufficient mapping and sampling completed on the initial anomalies to trigger immediate follow-up Air-Core drilling to pre-define targets for detailed diamond drilling. Targets defined to date represent a significant cumulative strike length of anomalous copper in soils. Targets are associated with rock types and regional structures diagnostic of Copperbelt-type mineralisation. Completion of soil geochemical survey and mapping underway and expected to outline further targets of merit. Planned work as part of the Option Agreement, includes completion of the soil geochemical surveys and associated pXRF in soils, continued mapping of new target areas, Air-core drilling and RC/diamond drilling. The Projects comprises four exploration licences, 27767-HQ-LEL, 27768-HQ-LEL, 27770-HQ-LEL, and 27771-HQ-LEL, the subject of the Option Agreement are located in the highly prospective Central Africa Copperbelt in northwest Zambia, home to the largest mineralized sediment- hosted copper province in the world. The Licences are located less than 100km from First Quantum's giant Sentinel copper mine and host similar aged rock types proven to host the major copper deposits of the Copperbelt. First Quantum is one of the world's top 10 copper producers operating in several countries including Zambia where it owns the Sentinel and Kansanshi mines in Northwest Zambia and is known for its specialist technical engineering construction and operational skills which have allowed it to develop and successfully run complex mines and processing plants. Colin Bird, the chairman of African Pioneer, was a founder of and floated Kiwara Plc in around 2008 which discovered copper in northwest Zambia and was sold to First Quantum in 2009 for U$260 million. First Quantum then developed the Kiwara Plc projects into the Sentinel mine which is the world's 14th larger copper mine. The licence package covers part of the north-western extension of the Zambian Copperbelt. The properties are located within 80-100km of First Quantum's giant Sentinel copper mine, one of the larger copper mines in Africa, with current Measured and Indicated Resources of 891Mt @ 0.45% Cu. They also lie close to the Enterprise nickel deposit (37.7Mt @ 1.03% Ni) which is being reportedly moved towards development. The Projects lie on the Lufilian Fold Belt in the Domes region of the Central African Copperbelt, straddling the western boundary of the Kabompo Dome, underlain principally by rocks of the Lower and Upper Roan, as well as the stratigraphically higher Kundelungu and Nguba Groups. This geological package is similar in age and rock type to that hosting the major copper deposits of the Copperbelt, including Sentinel. Therefore, the licence areas are considered to be strongly prospective for Copperbelt-type copper/cobalt and/or nickel deposits. They are historically underexplored, representing the westerly extension of the Copperbelt which has not been investigated in detail, as previous work focussed primarily on the central part of the zone. On the Luamata South licence, African Pioneer has acquired a valuable exploration package arising from recent work by MMG Zambia Ltd. ('MMG') which highlights strong soil/airborne magnetic targets that were not drill tested, as MMG pulled out of Zambia. The Samuteba East licence was recently held by Anglo American which also carried out airborne magnetic surveying and reconnaissance soil sampling before exiting the Copperbelt. The soil data highlights several copper anomalies of considerable interest.