Burundi’s total laterite nickel resources evaluated to date are in excess of 250 Mt with metal content averaging 1.38% Ni, 0.07% Co and 0.12% Cu, most of which occur in the Musongati deposit.
Australian company Argosy Minerals owns 100% of the Musongati Nickel Project in Burundi through its subsidiary, Andover Resources NL. Andover Resources has negotiated a comprehensive Mining Convention with the Burundian government. This agreement outlines issues such as taxation, including a five year tax holiday.
The focus of Argosy’s exploration has been directed at the Musongati deposit, which has an inferred resource of some 185 million tonnes at a grade of 1.31 % nickel, which is suitable for open-pit mining methods. This equates to a contained nickel metal inventory of 5.3 billion pounds representing about 6% of stated world resources. A comparison can be made to Inco’s Voisey Bay nickel project, which is estimated to contain 6 billion pounds of contained nickel metal. Deu to the landlocked nature of Burundi, major infrastructure development will be required to enable the project to develop into a major mining concern. As it stands, the nearest port is at Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania and distances of as muchas 2000km would need to be covered to service the mine. Capital expenditure for the project will probably exceed $500 million and would thererfore require the interests of a major mining investment company. A force majeur was declared on the Musongati Project in mid 2002, following a decline in Burundi’s political situation. The PGM potential at Musongati is being investigated through the evaluation of historical and existing drilling information.
Included in the deal with the Burundi government, Argosy also has rights to two other potential lateritic nickel projects in Burundi: the Nyabikere and Waga deposits which have combined inferred resources of 81.4Mt grading at 1.39% nickel and 0.034% cobalt.
Anglo American is investigating the Miremera and Rutovu nickel sulphide prospects.
Argosy Minerals Inc.
Argosy are carrying out a feasability study on the Musongati lateritic nickel deposit. A force majeurhas been announced, suspending any further activity.