PRETORIA, South Africa () -- Anvil Mining Ltd. [TSX:AVM; ASX:AVM], El Ni~no Ventures Inc. [TSX-V:ELN; OTCBB:ELNOF] and Tiger Resources [ASX:TGS] are ramping up their exploration programs in the Democratic Republic of Congo as political factions and the broader population tries to find a path to peaceful coexistence after the country's first, and at times violently contested, free presidential election in 48 years.
El Ni~no Ventures on June 14 reported to shareholders that its Copper Mountain exploration program is underway following being granted four research permits by the DRC's Cadastre Miner.
Covering over 350 square miles, the Copper Mountain project is located 3 kilometres west of a new discovery by Anvil Mining and 4 kilometres west of Tiger Resources' Kipoi project.
"Our Copper Mountain Project in the DRC is located in the middle of two new discoveries by Anvil Mining and Tiger Resources," Jean Luc Roy, El Nino's president, stated in a media release.
"The geological trend of these two new discoveries runs right through our Copper Mountain Project and we are fast tracking our efforts to outline a new copper deposit by flying airborne geophysics and our first drilling campaign is slated for the fall 2007. El Ni~no Ventures joins these companies in the DRC for what is considered by most experts in the industry as the new era for copper in the DRC."
Willing to bank on relative stability and a favorable investment climate in the DRC, top tier mining companies such as BHP Billiton, Gecamines, Phelps Dodge and First Quantum Minerals are now developing copper projects in the DRC's Copper Belt, an area that since the 1940s and '50s has been one of the largest copper and base metals producing regions in the world.
That's a profile that places the acquisition of the three research permits right in line with El Nino's portfolio strategy.
"This addition to our portfolio of exploration projects puts El Ni~no at the forefront of base metals exploration. Our Bathurst New Brunswick project with our partner, Xstrata Zinc, is starting its second year with plans to diamond drill more than 25,000 metres this year. This project, combined with our entry in the DRC, provides the company with a robust portfolio of exploration projects and we will work these projects effectively for our shareholders over the next few years," Roy stated.
Anvil Mining on June 14 announced that it for US$1 million it had acquired an American style option to purchase two exploration licences adjacent to Gecamines' Nambulwa exploitation permit area, for which Anvil has an amodiation/lease agreement. The prospect is located north of Anvil's Kinsevere copper-cobalt project site.
The option's term extends for three month period from June 12 to September 10, 2007. Anvil will acquire full ownership and title to the exploration licences free from all encumbrances and third party interests if it chooses to exercise at any time during the option's term, according to company information.
Anvil in Production
Anvil and joint venture partner Mining Company of Katanga last month began producing copper-cobalt ingots at Kinsevere. Commissioning of a Heavy Media Separation plant and Electric Arc Furnace was announced on June 11 with the first copper concentrates were produced on June 9. The plant has a designed capacity of 500 thousand tones of ore per year or 1,370 tonnes per day.
Kinsevere's copper concentrates will contain approximately 25% copper and will be sold locally until the Electric Arc Furnace has been completed, according to Anvil.
In addition to Kinsevere, Anvil Mining in the DRC has a majority interest in and operates the Dikulushi open pit copper-silver mine, ball mill and flotation plant with an estimated annual copper production of 20,000 tonnes copper and 1.8 million ounces silver and where underground mining is expected to commence late this year.
The company also operates and has an 80% interest in the Mutoshi coarse rejects tailings mine and Heavy Media Separation Plant, which is produced 16,500 tonnes of copper in 2006 from 28-30% oxide concentrate.
Tiger Hunts for Copper & Cobalt at Kipoi
Tiger Resources on June 8 announced assay results for five diamond drill holes to further test the extent and quality of mineralization at the Kipoi Central deposit. All the cores showed significant copper mineralization and one returned a high grade cobalt intersect of 39.6 metres at 1.54% Co and confirmed continuity of high-grade cobalt mineralization over a minimum 150 metres of strike open in all directions, according to a company media release.
The Kipoi Project, in which Tiger has a 51% interest, holds five known copper deposits hosted in a 12-kilometre segment of Upper Roan sediments. Drilling programmes have been conducted on four of the five and previously significant intervals of copper mineralisation from each over an aggregate distance of 1.5 kilometres.
Tiger launched a resource drilling programme at Kipoi Central last December of 2006 and another at Kipoi North in April this year.
"Diamond drilling results from the Kipoi Central deposit have so far delineated continuous high-grade copper oxide/sulphide mineralisation over a strike length of 550m and a zone of high-grade Cobalt mineralisation over a strike length of at least 150m," management stated in a media release.
Company geologists have identified high-grade cobalt mineralisation near the northern end of the Kipoi Central pit in a hanging wall of faulted contact between pyroclastic volcanic rocks and siliciclastic sedimentary rocks of the Mwashia Series.
"The contact zone strikes north/northeast-south/southwest and dips steeply to the southeast. It is marked by intense brecciation and has so far been tested over a distance of about 150 metres," according to Tiger management. "Mapping and core logging suggest that it may be continue for at least 600m from its currently known location in the pit."
According to Tiger, both cobalt and copper mineralisation show strong correlations to a geologic structure that is being used as a direct targeting tool for the company's current drilling.
"While cobalt mineralisation is closely associated with the footwall zone of the Upper R4, copper mineralisation is widely dispersed over the Upper R4 sediments, which increases the prospectivity of this rock sequence in the Project area," management reported.
Tiger by the end of July expects to add an additional two drilling rigs at Kipoi, adding to the two already up and running there.
Two diamond rigs are completing resource drilling at Kipoi Central and Kipoi North. "Timing of the release of a resource estimate is yet to be determined as new zones of Copper/Cobalt mineralisation are being discovered at both deposits," management stated.
A reverse circulation, RC, rig will be used to test for the strike continuation of mineralisation previously delineated at the Judeira and Kileba deposits, while an Aircore rig will be used to further explore and test anomalies generated as a result of detailed soil sampling previously undertaken to identify new zones of copper/cobalt mineralisation that may exist in between the known deposits.