Nairoto Resources Limitada (“NRL”) is registered in Mozambique and operates under a joint venture agreement (“JVA”), with Gemfields holding a 75% interest and Mwiriti Limitada (“Mwiriti”) 25% – the Group’s 25% existing partner in Montepuez Ruby Mining Limitada (“MRM”).
Under the terms of the JVA, Gemfields will contribute its proven exploration and project development experience together with appropriate financing with a view to building on the successes achieved in Mozambican rubies, where Gemfields and Mwiriti’s collaboration has brought considerable benefits for both the regional economy and local communities.
NRL is in the process of obtaining full title of six mining and six exploration licences totalling 1,960 square kilometres of area, which are being managed by the Group since January 2020. The licences are located about 30 kilometres to the north of the MRM concession and hold exploration potential for gold (both primary and secondary), ruby and allied minerals.
The newly set up camp premise is located close to some of the initial target locations. The camp can be accessed using an all-weather 100-kilometre-long gravel road that connects Montepuez to Nairoto.
SRK Consulting has been engaged to provide advisory and technical support with an initial focus on secondary gold resources, leading eventually to the identification and evaluation of the primary source. Two small three tonnes per hour (“tph”) pilot treatment plants, complete with concentration tables, are in operation to support the exploration activity. Panning of stream samples collected from across the licence area confirms the presence of visible secondary gold. Geological mapping and exploratory pitting exercises were being carried out but following the onset of Covid-19 all operations were suspended from May 2020, with only essential services currently in place at camp. The operations have since been resumed in April 2021.
An RFQ document was developed and released to various vendors inviting technical and commercial bids for setting up a 150 tph treatment plant to support the bulk sampling operation for the secondary gold mineralisation. However, given the Covid-19 pandemic, the procurement process has been put on hold.
NRL supported the local authorities in combating the pandemic by donating face masks and sanitisation items to the local communities. NRL also assisted the local communities in restoring some of the pre-existing but non-functional hand pumps. As part of the Group’s commitment to conservation and protection of wildlife, NRL signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Quirimbas National Park (“QNP”) to support it in its operations.