Signature Metals of Australia discovers high grade manganese in Ghana

Australian gold miner, Signature Metals says it has made what it describes as a potentially interesting high grade manganese discovery at its Konongo Project in Ghana.

In a press release, Signature, which is known for mining gold in its concessions in Ghana says the discovery is high grade rock chip samples that could be of high enough quality for direct shipping.

Rock chip samples from manganese outcrops at surface returned values up to 40.3% Mn. Significantly, seven of nineteen samples returned values over 30% Mn, it said.

The company, the release said has derived an Exploration Target of 15 to 54 million tonnes at a grade of 25 to 30 % Mn based on the sampling results and mapping of manganese outcrops.

Manganese occurrences are known to be common along the Ashanti Gold Belt, including the Nsuta Manganese Mine which has been operating since 1923. Current production levels from Nsuta are approximately one million tonnes of manganese ore per annum, which is shipped from Takoradi.

According to the release, the Company has the first option over the rights to minerals other than gold discovered in the Konongo Mining License and is currently in discussions with the Ghana Minerals Commission to set up an agreement relating to the manganese rights within the Konongo Manganese outcrop at the Konongo Project.

Ghana produces gold, bauxite, diamond and manganese. Gold is the country’s highest foreign exchange earner.

According to the Ghana Chamber of Mines data, gold production in the country rose from 2.6 million ounces in 2008 to 2.9 million in 2009 with output from two of the country’s biggest gold producers increasing. The two major gold miners in Ghana are Gold Fields and Newmont Ghana.

Gold Field’s Tarkwa Mine production increased 0.8% to 664,515 ounces, while Newmont Gold’s Ahafo Mine  produced 513,470 ounces of gold in 2009, an increase from the 2008 level of 524, 000.

Revenue from the Ghana Bauxite Company, fell to $10.9 million from 19.8 million in 2008 following decline in production. Bauxite production fell 29% to 490,367 metric tons, it said.

Output at the Ghana Manganese Company fell 7% to one million tons, but revenue rose from $62.3 million to $64.9 million.

Diamond production dropped to 354,443 carats from 598,042 carats in 2008, cutting revenue by 63% to $7 million.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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