Gravelotte Project, South Africa

Magnum’s 74% owned Gravelotte Project is located in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Emeralds were discovered in the province in 1927 and since then several companies have explored for and mined within the broader region for emeralds.

From 1929 to 1982 the total recorded emerald production from the Gravelotte Project as well as the area surrounding the nearby Gravelotte township was nearly 113 million carats.

It is reported that during the 1960’s the Gravelotte Project itself was the largest mine of its type in the world, employing over 400 sorters.

Geology

The host rocks at Gravelotte are 3.3 billion year old Archaean greenstone schists enclosed and intruded by younger Archaean granitic rock and late stage albite-quartz pegmatoids. The emerald mineralisation is closely related to the pegmatoids. 

The emerald-bearing zones and their sub-divisions are as follows:

  • Cobra – comprising Cobra North, Cobra South and Cobra Underground;
  • Discovery – comprising Discovery Pit, Discovery East and Discovery South;
  • Beryl Kop – comprising Beryl Kop East and Beryl Kop West; and
  • Sable Kop

Gravelotte Location Plan
Gravelotte Location Plan

Since acquiring the project Magnum has undertaken comprehensive field studies to better understand the geology and the structural and geochemical controls on the emerald mineralisation.

These studies include field mapping, drilling, topographic mapping, surveying and partial assessment of the waste dumps and structural studies.

In addition hydrogeological and initial financial modelling has been completed.

In conjunction with these studies a concerted effort to assemble and then digitise the extensive data base over the project has been continuing. This latter effort has been partly frustrating because much of the data is spread amongst various previous owners and some has unfortunately been destroyed.

Bulk Sampling

A key to the potential development of Gravelotte is what price could be expected in today’s market for Gravelotte emeralds. Initial contact with gem buyers has indicated strong interest in the potential product but until a run of mine product can be provided for assessment definitive pricing cannot be obtained.

At the same time it is important for any future development of Gravelotte to understand the best mining and beneficiation methods to be used so that the product quality is high and delivered under the best possible cost scenario.

As a consequence Magnum has focused on a bulk sampling programme as the best way to test and tick as many pre-development boxes as possible.

Design of this proposed programme is continuing with a particular focus on selecting areas for sampling that will replicate the mining and grade conditions of any commercial operation.

The results of this bulk sampling programme will provide the platform to formerly assess the economics of a potential commercial mining operation within the Gravelotte Project.

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