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Askari Metals stomps onto hot uranium ground in Tanzania

Updated: Mar 26

Askari Metals’ search for new exploration ground has led it to the wilds of Tanzania. Credit: File

Askari Metals has capped off its hunt for new exploration ground by staking a claim for the 260-square-kilometre Matemanga uranium project in Tanzania as the heavy metal’s price surges on clean energy demand.

The company says its decision to pounce on the ground came on the back of extensive geotechnical reviews that identified the area as a hot uranium target with significant potential. The strategic move also coincides with uranium prices heating up and doubling in the past year as governments around the world embrace the nuclear fuel.

The Matemanga project area lies about 470km south-west of Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam and encloses a geological setting in line with other nearby deposits, including the Nyota uranium project that contains a resource of 124.6 million pounds of uranium oxide at an oxide grade of 306 parts per million. The Nyota project was sold in 2011 by then-owner Mantra Resources for a staggering $1.16 billion to Russian interests.

Other nearby deposits include the Mkuju uranium project and the Likuyu North uranium deposit that contains 4.6 million pounds of uranium oxide at a grade of 267ppm. Matemanga is also about 220km south-east of the Kayelekera uranium project in Malawi, which contains a resource of 46.4 million pounds of uranium oxide at 802ppm.

The Matemanga Uranium Project represents a significant exploration opportunity for Askari as we expand our exploration strategy to include high-value and in-demand uranium, in line with our clean energy mission. We are well positioned to execute high-impact, low-cost exploration campaigns in Tanzania, which is globally renowned as a low-risk, pro-mining jurisdiction, in an area which is significantly under-explored. We have expanded our in-country team with Bertie Pepler joining our ranks, bringing a wealth of uranium exploration knowledge, with significant expertise in Tanzania.
Askari Metals managing director Gino D’Anna

The company says Tanzania is becoming recognized as a world-class, tier-one address for uranium exploration and it is characterised by typical roll-front and tabular sandstone-style deposits in the Karoo Supergroup occupying the Selous Basin, which covers much of the southern part of the country.

The Matemanga project lies within the Selous Basin, which is part of the continental-scale East African rift system that formed during the breakup of Gondwana during the late Palaeozoic to early Mesozoic eras, about 180 million years ago.

The crustal extension and resultant rifting between the separating continental masses created the Selous Basin, which was later progressively infilled by sediments of the Karoo Supergroup.

Askari’s principal target model is the classic, permeable Karoo sandstone-hosted roll-front deposit style, where conditions favour migration of uranium-rich fluids and where reducing conditions bring about uraniferous mineral precipitation at or near the migrating fluid front.

The company says its target area once formed part of a bigger zone previously explored by Uranex, which conducted a 3000sq km radiometric survey comprising 12,165 lines at either 200m or 400m line spacing. The survey clearly defined radiometric anomalism in the areas over Likuyu North and South, Mteramwahi North and South and at Matemanga to the east.

The anomalism at Matemanga is every bit as strong as that identified at the other four locations and comprises a cluster of distinct radiometric signatures in an area measuring about 10km-by-6km. But it was never followed up by Uranex, which directed most of its focus towards the Likuyu North and South prospects.

Uranex’ 2010 drilling results did, however, yield meaningful intercepts from Likuyu North including 10.5m at 1124ppm uranium oxide, 13m going 614ppm, 7.5m running 352ppm, 2m at 1,244ppm and 4m at 337ppm.

Askari says Uranex planned 256-channel radiometric surveys over several areas, including at the Matemanga targets. A related detailed review of the airborne radiometric anomalies was undertaken by SRK Consulting Australia for uranium deposits.

SRK’s work included spectrographic field determinations differentiating uranium, thorium and potassium from airborne gamma surveys and it established preferential channel sediment flow directions in the uranium-bearing Karoo sandstones.

Additionally, the company reports that a grab sample from Gladiator Resources’ Foxy project south of Matemanga yielded 13,400ppm uranium oxide. Western Metals previously punched in 19 drillholes to test Foxy and picked up shallow, moderate grade uranium mineralisation up to 6m going 213ppm uranium oxide from 27m depth.

Western Metals also undertook exploration at the Eland project that is now also owned by Gladiator and obtained some decent hits in rock chip samples, with six of them showing better uranium oxide grades in the range of 370ppm to 1260ppm, niobium grades ranging from 2740ppm to 6480ppm and tantalum grades going 530ppm to 950ppm.

In addition to keeping its eye open for further strategic acquisition opportunities, Askari says its immediate work will include more data acquisition including satellite remote sensing data over the entire project area and some low-cost programs to generate drill targets. It will be followed by mapping and rock chip sampling of selected areas, accompanied by ground based radiometric surveys using a scintillometer.

Askari says it has undertaken due diligence on several other projects and is in discussions with several parties.

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