Charter Pacific (ASX: CHF) has provided ore samples from its Kaoua El Khadra iron ore project in Mauritania to an European steel mill as part of a due diligence process for potential participation in its development.
This is in addition to the ongoing discussions it has with steel manufacturers in India and investors in Asia with regard to entering into a strategic partnership.
Kaoua El Khadra has an Exploration Target of 4.4 billion tonnes of iron ore with Davis Tube Recovery tests showing concentrate grades up to 69.76% iron and mass recoveries of up to 43.7%.
In addition, Sphere Minerals' (ASX: SPH) recent definition of a 710 million tonne Inferred Resource grading 36% iron at its Tintekrate magnetite deposit has highlighted Mauritania's growing significance as an iron ore province.
Separately, Charter Pacific chairman Brian Sprod will retire following completion of the company's annual general meeting on Thursday, 28 November 2013.
Sprod is a founding director of the company and its inaugural chairman.
During the 25 years with he has been with the company, he has provided enormous enthusiasm and commitment as well as keen stewardship to maintain focus on the direction of the company.
He has also overcome hurdles and resolved sometimes difficult structural and strategic issues during volatile and demanding economic circumstances.
Managing director Kevin Dart will assume the role of acting chairman until a suitable non-executive chairman is appointed.
Mauritania and Africa
Mauritania has become increasingly attractive as an investment destination, a point which has not evaded notice.
Case in point, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide has entered the country with its Sheraton Nouakchott Hotel - the first internationally branded hotel in the country - opening in 2017.
It is also part of the overall growth in Africa's prominence with Australia's high commissioner to Singapore, Philip Green, noting earlier this month that Australian companies have about 650 projects in 42 of the continent's 54 countries with a total value of about $65 billion.
In addition, UK broker Investec recently gave a thumbs up to growing interest from China and India in West African iron ore projects and growth.
China has already successfully supported the development of African Minerals' Tonkolili project in Sierra Leone by committing up to US$2.58 billion while Legend Mining (ASX: LEG) had last week reached an agreement to sell its Ngovayang iron ore project in Cameroon to India's Jindal Steel and Power for A$17.5 million in cash.
Kaoua El Khadra
Charter Pacific had last month used high resolution detailed satellite imagery define further the Banded Iron Formation (NYSE:BIF) units at sites 4, 5, 9 and 10 of Permit 792 - the Kaoua El Khadra Project.
The satellite imagery has extended the interpretation of BIF at the sites and has identified BIF units previously unknown, particularly at the site 10 Ijibbitene complex in the eastern end of Permit 792.
This provides a refined base for planning of the next phase drilling program and further confirmation of the continuity of the BIF through the sand dune terrain.
Ground Penetrating Radar has also confirmed the continuity of the BIF to depths of up to 20 metres while providing the basis for interpretation beyond its detection range.
The company has also expanded its Mauritania focus beyond iron ore with its two recently acquired exploration permits being prospective for gold, copper, lead, zinc and barium.
The two group 2 Exploration Permits lie across the western edge of the Taoudeni Basin where it meets the Central Mauritanides and so the permits have rock units from both terrains present on the permits.
Gold has been found at numerous locations in the Inchiri Complex in the Central Mauritanides, 25 kilometres to the west of Permit 1963B2 and the Inchiri Complex also hosts numerous copper and iron deposits such as the Guelb Moghrein iron oxide copper gold deposit.
A reconnaissance field trip by consultants SEMS Exploration had also identified favourable sandstone and carbonate rock units that may be amenable to concentrations of copper, lead, zinc and barium.
Charter Pacific maintains its 14.62% holding in Monteray Mining Group (ASX: MRY), which has a portfolio of highly prospective gold licences located in the prolific Birimian Greenstone Belt, Burkina Faso, West Africa.
Monteray also has tenements prospective for gold in the Archaean Noresman-Wiluna Greenstone belt, 70 kilometres east southeast of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.
During the year the investment was reclassified as a held for sale asset and will be monitored for an exit at the appropriate time.
The potential of Charter Pacific's Kaoua El Khadra iron ore project, which ranks well when compared to Sphere's Tintekrate magnetite deposit, continues to draw attention, this time from a European steel mill.
This is unsurprising, given that Europe is the traditional market for African mineral producers.
The interest adds to that from India and China, making it all but certain that the company's upcoming drilling program will be closely watched.
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