Namibia offers new dawn for Tanga as Tanzanian troubles are left behind
Special report: Tanga Resources’ deft shift in focus from one side of the African continent to the other is gathering momentum, with the company recently acquiring a second promising exploration project in mining-friendly Namibia.
Tanga (ASX: TRL) had previously been active in Tanzania, where drilling at the company’s Hanang project in late 2015 returned one of the best gold intercepts seen recently in Africa: 16 metres at 55.23 grams per tonne gold from a depth of 116 metres.
But in mid-2017 Tanzanian president John Magufuli agreed to legislative changes increasing government control over mining and oil and gas operations, creating significant uncertainty for foreign companies with interests in the country.
Matthew Bowles’ first day as chief executive of Tanga coincided with the announcement of the legislative changes, giving him an unenviable challenge to deal with in his new role.
Despite a strong desire to keep working on Hanang and realise its potential, Bowles ultimately accepted that the company would be better off looking to a jurisdiction more conducive to attracting investors.
In December 2017, Tanga announced a deal to acquire up to 90% of the Joumbira zinc-lead-silver project, located on the well-endowed Damaran Metallogenic Belt in central Namibia.
As part of its due diligence, the company completed a program of diamond drilling confirming Joumbira’s near-surface potential and subsequently exercised its option on earn-in rights to the project, which is a joint venture with the Namibian government-owned Epangelo Mining Company.
Then in August this year, Tanga doubled down on its move into Namibia with the acquisition of another asset on the Damaran Belt, the Hagenhof copper-cobalt project.
Bowles said the company had identified Namibia as a safe jurisdiction with excellent geological potential that was particularly well regarded by investors in Europe and North America.
“You have a very strong list of Australian and Canadian explorers operating there, including Rio Tinto, B2Gold, Teck Resources, Glencore and Vedanta,” he said.
“The past 12 months have been fairly volatile for Tanga, but myself and the board have built some strong foundations over that time, and that’s what we expect to see flow through in subsequent years.”
The Hagenhof project was the subject of drilling in the 1970s by American company Phelps Dodge, with assay results including 18 metres at 0.9% copper from 96 metres and 24 metres at 0.88% copper from 74 metres.
Both these drill holes ended in mineralisation, while according to historic reports, cobalt to a peak value of 1,200 parts per million was shown to be associated with copper mineralisation.
Surface sampling conducted by Tanga on a recent field trip also returned significant copper, cobalt and gold assays.
Hagenhof is on a granted exploration licence covering 197km2 with multiple drilling targets already identified.
Tanga is completing its analysis of the historic exploration data and a soil sampling program conducted recently before determining which targets to prioritise.
Bowles said the company would consider acquiring additional projects in Namibia as part of a targeted expansion but needed to be mindful of becoming too stretched and distracted from its focus.
On the future of Hanang, he said Tanga was keeping the licences in good standing and maintaining regular contact with the Tanzanian authorities so as to protect its exposure to the asset.
Tanga shares closed unchanged at 0.6c on Tuesday.
This special report is brought to you by Tanga Resources.
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