Lead and zinc mining and exploration in Africa


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  • Sociéte Algérienne du Zinc (State) operates the Ghazaouet zinc mine and refinery in the northwest of Algeria. It is producing 30,000 t per year.
  • Terramin Australia Ltd has a 65% interest in the Oued Amizour zinc project, in the north of Algeria, 270 km east of Algiers and 10 km south of the port city of Bejaia. The state corporation ENOF (Entreprise Nationale des Produits Miniers non ferreux et des Substances Utiles) is the joint venture partner. Initial drilling confirmed the potential of the Tala Hamza Zn-Pb depositTerramin reported high-grade zinc drilling assays from the Tala Hamza deposit in April, 2007.


  • Mount Burgess Mining N.L. is exploring the Kihabe zinc project, located 700 kilometres north west of Gaborone on the Namibian border in “Ngamiland” Botswana. The prospecting licence covers a fault-bounded Proterozoic-aged carbonate sub basin and a significant zinc, lead and silver soil geochemical anomaly is being drilled.

Burkina Faso

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Perkoa is a
volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposit.
  • AIM Resources (Australian) is developing the Perkoa zinc project which has a proven and probable reserve of 6,3 million t with a grade of 14,5% zinc at a 9 % cut-off , making the deposit, which is open to a depth of 600 m, equate to 907,700 t of contained zinc.

Congo (Kinshasa)

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Gécamines (La Générale des Carrières et des Mines), the Congolese state-owned mining company, owns the Kipushi zinc mine. At the height of production, in the late 1980s, Kipushi produced 143,000 tonnes of zinc and 43,000 tonnes of copper. Mining at Kipushi was stopped in 1993 when the government of Mobutu Sese Seko ran out of funds. The mine has 17 million tonnes of ore, with 2,83 million tonnes of zinc and nearly 400,000 tonnes of copper. Gecamines has invited bids to restart the mine despite South African miner Exxaro Resources, formerly Kumba Resources, and Canada’s First Quantum Minerals claim to rights to the project.
United Resources won the tender to develop the deposit and will invest up to $400m in the project, Gecamines MD Paul Fortin, announced in February,2007. United Resources, a group of financial companies, won the tender because it offered Gecamines a 37% stake in the project. South Africa's Exxaro Resources and First Quantum Minerals have taken the matter to court in Belgium.
A Belgian court ruled on 23 March, 2007, that Congolese mining company Gecamines suspend its tender for investors to develop the Kiphusi zinc deposit, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, paving the way for Exxaro Resources and First Quantum to file lawsuits, that could run into millions of dollars, against the State-owned firm. Exxaro and First Quantum could sue Gecamines on the merits of the case and request the enforcement of the agreements.


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Largely stratiform Zn-Pb (Cu-Ag) sulphide mineralization of the Rosh Pinah-type occurs in the continental Port Nolloth Zone of the Gariep Belt. The Rosh Pinah ore body shows substantial hydrothermal vent-related carbonatization and brecciation in the footwall, indicating a proximal position of the exhalative facies. Textural, isotopic and geochemical evidence indicates replacement of the host sediments during early diagenesis, during which feldspathic arenite was silicified and limestone dolomitized by an overall reducing, mineralizing fluid. Starvation of the Rosh Pinah graben during a climatically controlled Neoproterozoic sea level drop is proposed to have created the necessary redox barrier for massive sulphide precipitation to occur near the sediment-seawater interface. Rosh Pinah lies close to the vent system and later underwent upper greenschist facies metamorphism.

Skorpion Zinc is a non-sulphide zinc deposit owned by Ambase Exploration (Namibia) (Pty) Ltd, which is located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, approximately 40 km north of the Orange River. The so-called Skorpion belt of zinc-lead copper-barite prospects is hosted by volcano-sedimentary rocks of the Gariep Complex, northwest of Rosh Pinah. The Skorpion zinc deposit represents an initial rift phase with crustal extension and strong vertical tectonics, associated with subaqueous, mixed siliciclastic-carbonate sedimentation. It is a shallow subhorizontal body comprising secondary zinc silicate and carbonate minerals like smithsonite, hemimorphite, hydrozincite and sauconite.

Supergene ore-forming processes at Skorpion appear to involve wallrock-replacement as well as saprolitic accumulations and minor in-situ replacement. Mining is open cast-type and the unusual zinc-silicate and carbonate ore is treated by direct acid leach, solid liquid separation, a unique zinc solvent extraction and electro-winning to produce high-purity zinc on site at low cost. (Geological Survey of Namibia)
  • Exxaro mines the Rosh Pinah deposit, situated in south-western Namibia, 800 km south of Windhoek. Exxaro holds 89,5% in Rosh Pinah with Namibian empowerment groupings holding the balance. Negotiations are under way to divest of a further 39,5% to Namibian empowerment groupings. The mine produces 126,000 t per annum of zinc concentrates, fully sold to Exxaro’s zinc refinery. Exploration is under way to add to the remaining mineral resource of 7 million t (or a life of 6 years) at an average grade of 8,68% zinc and 2,25% lead. The mine has entered into an exploration agreement with Ambase Exploration (Namibia) (Pty) Limited (Anglo American) which will allow the two companies access to select areas under each other’s prospecting permits for exploration.
  • Anglo American mines the Skorpion deposit and produces 150,000 tons of special high grade zinc per annum. It has estimated proven and probable reserves of 21,4 million t grading at 10,5% zinc. The Skorpion zinc mine and refinery is near Rosh Pinah, in southern Namibia and approximately 85 km north-east of Oranjemund and 25 km north of Rosh Pinah.

South Africa

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  • Anglo American mines the Black Mountain deposit. Black Mountain is a lead, zinc, copper and silver operation, situated in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Black Mountain's proven and probable reserves (2001) stood at 12,7 million t grading at an average of 1,8% zinc and 4,38 % lead in 2001. It also owns the Gamsberg deposit. Gamsberg is a large zinc deposit located approximately 20 km west of the Black Mountain mine. It is forecast that Gamsberg will produce 300,000 tonnes per annum of zinc metal at capacity.


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  • Albidon Ltd holds extensive tenement interests that are prospective for zinc and lead in north-central Tunisia, covering 4,000 square kilometres including the historical zinc mining district of Bou Aouane at the Nefza project area in the north west of the country. It has signed an option and earn-in letter with Zinifex Ltd for exploration and development of the zinc projects. Zinifex may earn a 51% interest in the projects through the expenditure of US$6 million on exploration within three years. The company may then spend a further SU$5 million within two years to earn a total interest of 70%. Albidon may thereafter elect to contribute to project expenditures in proportion to its 30% interest or sell its interest for cash plus a retained royalty.

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