NGEx Resources Inc. is pleased to announce the start of the initial drill program on its wholly owned Bada Potash project located in the Danakil Depression of Eritrea. This large license, encompassing over 431 square kilometres, is located 30 kilometres inland from the Red Sea port of Mersa Fatma and 150 kilometres southeast of the capital city of Asmara.
The Bada license is situated within the Eritrean portion of the Danakil Depression, an evaporite basin extending southward into Ethiopia, where exploration in the 1960’s resulted in the discovery of the large Crescent and Musley potash and sylvite deposits. The Company plans to drill an initial 6-8 shallow holes that will test the potash potential of its license.
This initial drill program will investigate the margins of the basin for shallow (less than 100m) potash mineralization on both sides of the basin. To help target the drilling the Company has completed geological mapping and ground magnetic surveying over the entire license, and has also completed 4 lines of gravity. Modeling of the geophysical data suggests that the basin contains up 1 kilometre of sediments which are thought to include thick evaporite sequences that host potash mineralization elsewhere in the basin. All drilling and sampling will be under the supervision of ERCOSPLAN Ingenieurgesellschaft, a potash consulting company with extensive experience in both the Eritrean and Ethiopian parts of the Danakil. Drill results are expected be available in October.
The Danakil Basin was first explored for potash, in the early 1900’s and there was active exploration and trial mining in the Ethiopian part of the basin in the 1960’s. There was no further exploration from the late 1960’s until recently. Today the Danakil Basin hosts several potash projects in Ethiopia where Sainik Coal and Allana Resources are actively exploring historic potash deposits immediately south of the Eritrean border and BHP holds a large license to the south of the Sainik and Allana projects.
The Musley deposit was discovered and explored from surface and underground in the 1960’s and is now held by Sainik Coal, an Indian company who have announced plans to build a pilot plant at the project. Allana Resources recently reported measured and indicated resources of 673 Mt @ 18.65 KCl and inferred resources of 19.96% KCl.
In Eritrea, South Boulder Mines is exploring the Colluli potash project located about 20km south of the Bada license. South Boulder has reported potash intercepts at less than 100 metre depths at both their ‘A’ zone, with JORC/43-101 compliant measured, indicated and inferred resource estimate of 547Mt grading 18.58% KCl. South Boulder have also announced intercepts of shallow potash mineralization in their “B” Zone located approximately 10 kilometres south of the Bada License boundary. Information about third party projects is taken from their published information and the reader is referred to those companies’ websites for details.
Commenting on the commencement of the drill program, Wojtek Wodzicki, President and CEO of NGEx said, “We are very pleased to be drilling our first holes on this exciting new exploration play. Potash has excellent supply/demand fundamentals and is in very high demand. Any discovery on our license has the potential to have a very significant positive impact on the Company. The Danakil Basin is emerging as potentially the most significant new potash play in the world. Elsewhere in the basin, potash has been intersected at depths of less than 100 metres which compares favorably with other well known potash basins such as Saskatchewan where the potash beds lie at depths of approximately 1 kilometre. The potential for shallow mineralization will dramatically reduce exploration and development costs. The location of the license so close to the Red Sea coast would give any discovery significant logistical and cost advantages over any deposits on the Ethiopian side of the border.”
NGEx Targets Eritrean Potash as Drills Turn
By Kip Keen (mineweb.com),
Vancouver-based NGEx Resources (TSX: NGQ) announced the start of a drill program on its Bada potash project on the Eritrean side of the Danakil basin, joining another active and successful junior exploring the northern extension of a basin best known for potash deposits to the south in Ethiopia.
In Ethiopia potash deposits are comparatively well defined with the likes of Allana Potash (TSX-V: AAA) and Sainik Coal advancing projects in the Danakil.
Allana, for example, is chomping at the heels of a billion-tonne resource while Sainik is looking to pilot-test a potash plant at its Musley project.
Lesser explored, however, is the Danakil basin to the north, across a border that has seen peace for more than a decade since horrible clashes between Ethiopian and Eritrean armies came to end.
But NGEx will not be forging ahead into terra incognita. No doubt proven potash to the south speaks volumes for the northern extension of the Danakil basin. But, perhaps, more important is the fact that another junior, Perth-based South Boulder Mines (ASX: STB), has turned up growing – and shallow – potash beds on its Colluli project also in Eritrea’s Danakil and about 30 kilometres southeast of NGEx’s Bada project.
As previously reported on Mineweb, South Boulder said last year it had been targeting a potash resource in the 500-million-tonne range. In early January it got there with an initial resource estimate of 548 million tonnes @ 18.58 percent KCl based on three drillholes. Then it drilled up to about 12 kilometres to the northwest of Colluli and continued to intersect sylvinite, a known-potash bearing mineral. Since the discovery of sylvinite to the northwest, assays of which have yet to be released as exploration continues, South Boulder has said it is targeting a 1.25- to 1.75-billion-tonne resource estimate in the 18- to 20-percent KCl range.
Interestingly, NGEx initially outlined in March a three-hole, 1,000-metre drill program, suggesting it was aiming to test depths up to about the 300-metre range. However, perhaps having taken note of South Boulder’s success in shallow sylvinite at Colluli, especially to the northwest, NGEx has now said it will drill six to eight shallow holes into the margin of the basin testing up to 100 metres in depth.
Whether South Boulder’s success had an effect on NGEx’s change of plans could not be confirmed; as of presstime NGEx had not responded to a request for comment.
Investors can expect drill results from Bada in October, NGEx said.