African Copper Plc
TSX : ACU
AIM : ACU

African Copper Plc

January 30, 2006 02:00 ET

African Copper Plc Matsitama Belt Exploration Returns High Grade Copper-Silver Drill Intersections

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 30, 2006) - African Copper Plc (TSX:ACU)(AIM:ACU)(BSE:African Copper) :

- Drilling at the Thakadu-Makala deposits has shown the presence of a strataform, stratabound disseminated copper deposit within Proterozoic-folded metasediments of the Matsitama Belt. This mineralization is similar to that found and mined within the Zambian Copper Belt.

- 4.45% copper and 1.97 oz/t silver over a true width of 12.74 metres at Thakadu.

- 2.64% copper and 2.52 oz/t silver over a true width of 6.24 metres at Makala.

- Thakadu is about 2000 metres along strike from Makala. Exploration between the two deposits has been sporadic in the past. Surface geochemistry indicates that the mineralization can be traced for a further 2000 metres beyond Makala.

African Copper Plc ("African Copper" or the "Company") announces the results of the initial drilling from the first of the high priority targets in the Matsitama Schist belt. The Thakadu and Makala deposits are sediment-hosted stratabound disseminated sulphide zones in a metamorphosed sedimentary sequence with minor volcanic and volcaniclastic units. African Copper placed a drill hole into each deposit in late 2005 to confirm geology, mineralization and tenor of copper and silver. The drill hole into Thakadu returned 4.45% copper and 1.97 oz/t of silver over a true width of 12.74 metres. The drill hole into Makala returned 2.64% copper and 2.52 oz/t silver over a true width of 6.24 metres.

The primary sulphide minerals are chalcopyrite (85-90%) and bornite (10-15%) with minor pyrite adjacent to the copper bearing material. The deposits carry up to 6 oz/t of silver and average about 2 oz/t over the mineralized unit. The upper 50 metres of the deposits are characterized by secondary zones of oxidation where the primary sulphides are replaced by chalcocite, malachite and cuprite-tenorite together with traces of native copper and marcasite. Previous operators completed extensive metallurgical tests that showed a copper recovery of 90 to 96% can be achieved by flotation of the sulphides producing a sulphide concentrate containing 28 to 32% copper and approximately 250 g/t silver (Please see "Technical Report on the Dukwe Copper Project and Matsitama Prospecting Licences Botswana, Africa" dated May 5, 2005 prepared by ACA Howe International Limited and available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com or the Company's website at www.africancopper.com).

Joe Hamilton, Chief Operating Officer of African Copper, commented "The deposits at Thakadu and Makala show striking similarities to the sedimentary hosted copper deposits of Zambia and the Congo. The structural setting, age of mineralization and associated rock types and mineralogy are almost identical to those found in some of the larger copper deposits. The grade is certainly equivalent. These deposits lie within Botswana which has a low geopolitical risk, good infrastructure and a skilled workforce. The proximity to road, rail, power and water may be of significant benefit to the potential development of these deposits."

The Thakadu-Makala area is approximately 70 kilometres to the southeast of the Company's flagship Dukwe Project within the prolific Matsitama Metasedimentary Belt. The Prospecting Licence surrounding the Thakadu-Makala area was granted to African Copper on 1 January 2005. Subsequently, the Company has completed an extensive review of historical data, and drilled these two test holes into each target late in 2005.

Thakadu and Makala lie at the eastern end of a 40 kilometre long mineralized belt which contains numerous showings of sedimentary hosted copper-silver, copper-lead-zinc and zinc-silver. The deposits are approximately 2000 metres apart, but only sporadic exploration has been conducted between the two deposits. Surface geochemistry and geophysics, as well as geologic mapping and trenching indicates that the folded stratigraphy is probably continuous between the two deposits, and that mineralization may extend for up to 2000 metres to the west of Makala. These deposits are five to ten kilometres from the Francistown-Orapa paved highway.

The dataset over the deposits includes approximately 39,000 metres (156 holes) of surface percussion and diamond drilling, prospect shafts to a depth of approximately 70 metres on each deposit with a combined 620 metres of lateral development, 882 metres of underground diamond drilling, 3 tonne samples of oxide and sulphide material for bench scale metallurgical test work, 180 tonnes of sulphide mineralization taken for pilot plant test work and a variety of hydrogeological, geotechnical, and mineralogical investigations. The deepest drill holes attain a vertical depth of about 550 metres and were still well mineralized indicating that the down dip potential is significant. This work culminated in the late 1990s with a fully permitted Mining Licence granted over the concession. No construction ever commenced and the Mining Licence defaulted back to the Botswana government in late 2003. The area became open for acquisition in March of 2004 and a Prospecting Licence was granted to African Copper in January 2005.

Four feasibility studies were completed on the Thakadu and Makala deposits by previous operators between 1980 and 1993. These studies noted a number of constraints to development at that time including available water and electrical power supplies and a lack of skilled workers in the region. The infrastructure situation has changed in the region with marked improvements in the available human resources, water and power supplies. The Thakadu and Makala deposits need to be re-evaluated in the light of these changes.

African Copper intends to complete a feasibility study on these deposits. The Company will initiate a drill programme to systematically drill the four kilometre strike extent of favourable stratigraphy over the next eight months. Drilling is planned to commence shortly with at least three drills assigned to the project.

A table showing the composite assay intervals for the diamond drill holes is shown below. A plan map showing the location of historical holes and these holes is available on the African Copper website at www.africancopper.com. Cross sections of the drill holes reported herein are also available on the website.

Mr. Joseph Hamilton, P.Geo., and Chief Operating Officer of African Copper, is a "qualified person" as defined in Canada by National Instrument 43-101. This press release has been prepared under Mr. Hamilton's supervision. Mr. Hamilton has verified the data disclosed in this press release including the sampling, analytical and test data underlying the information.



Table 1: Selected Drill Intersections
-------------------------------------

Thakadu Hole: TH6A
---------------------------------------------------------------------
From To Width Copper Silver
(m) (m) (m) % oz/t
---------------------------------------------------------------------
28.85 29.80 0.95 0.85 0.10
29.80 30.78 0.98 0.14 0.10
30.78 31.17 0.39 0.02 less than 0.03
31.17 31.83 0.66 0.04 less than 0.03
31.83 32.80 0.97 0.22 less than 0.03
--------------------------------------------------
32.80 33.41 0.61 2.17 0.10
33.41 34.43 1.02 4.74 4.76
34.43 35.03 0.60 7.03 2.03
35.03 35.80 0.77 6.26 4.82
35.80 36.53 0.73 6.99 6.04
36.53 37.23 0.70 5.74 1.03
37.23 37.93 0.70 3.78 1.00
37.93 39.00 1.07 3.42 0.84
39.00 39.96 0.96 4.06 1.70
39.96 40.50 0.54 4.66 1.80 4.45% copper,
40.50 40.99 0.49 3.66 1.00 1.97 oz/t silver
40.99 41.80 0.81 4.27 1.22 -----------------
41.80 42.54 0.74 4.77 1.54 12.74 metres true
42.54 43.22 0.68 4.24 0.55 width
43.22 43.74 0.52 3.48 0.61
43.74 44.62 0.88 2.42 0.71
44.62 45.37 0.75 4.09 1.06
45.37 45.96 0.59 5.96 3.73
45.96 46.66 0.70 3.45 1.70
--------------------------------------------------
46.66 47.54 0.88 0.11 0.16
47.54 48.19 0.65 0.71 0.06
48.19 48.75 0.56 0.06 less than 0.03
48.75 49.40 0.65 0.31 less than 0.03
49.40 49.95 0.55 0.27 less than 0.03
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Makala Hole: MA106A
---------------------------------------------------------------------
From To Width Copper Silver
(m) (m) (m) % oz/t
---------------------------------------------------------------------
142.00 142.50 0.50 0.07 0.03
142.50 143.08 0.58 0.07 0.10
143.08 143.57 0.49 0.02 0.06
143.57 144.18 0.61 0.09 less than 0.03
--------------------------------------------------
144.18 144.69 0.51 1.27 0.32
144.69 145.69 1.00 3.38 4.82
145.69 146.69 1.00 4.34 6.14
146.69 147.69 1.00 3.20 3.76
147.69 148.69 1.00 3.17 2.54
148.69 149.19 0.50 4.87 2.54 2.64% copper,
149.19 149.69 0.50 2.46 0.51 2.52 oz/t silver
149.69 150.19 0.50 1.08 0.26 -----------------
150.19 150.69 0.50 0.76 0.23 6.24 metres true
150.69 151.19 0.50 2.08 0.90 width
151.19 151.69 0.50 2.01 1.03
151.69 152.29 0.60 1.05 0.45
--------------------------------------------------
152.29 152.79 0.50 0.10 0.10
152.79 153.79 1.00 0.10 0.13
---------------------------------------------------------------------


Note: The intersection widths shown in the table above are not true widths since the holes were drilled to the north-northeast into the mineralized zone that dips to the south-southwest. The composite intersection reported in the right columns has been corrected to true width using the stratigraphic contact angle to core axis. Samples of half core were placed into sealed bags by African Copper personnel under the direct supervision of our Chief Geologist at our Francistown core-logging facility. These samples were transported by commercial carrier to Johannesburg. All sample preparation and analyses are completed at ALS Chemex laboratories in Johannesburg (ISO 17025 accredited and independent of African Copper). Copper assays were completed using standard preparation of crushing to 70% less than 2 mm followed by splitting and pulverizing to 85% less than 75 micron. Analyses were generally completed utilizing 27 element four-acid ore-grade ICP-AES. Copper and silver analysis were conducted to parts-per-million precision and converted to percent and oz/t by African Copper personnel. QA/QC procedures included the submission of systematic blanks and both low-grade and high-grade standard samples within the sample batches submitted to ALS Chemex. Control samples comprised approximately 20% of all samples submitted. No referee analysis has yet occurred. The results of the QA/QC programme for copper and silver analyses have been reviewed by African Copper's Chief Geologist and Mr. Joseph Hamilton, P.Geo. The control samples returned acceptable analytical results within industry standards.

African Copper is a tri-listed (AIM, TSX, Botswana Stock Exchange) international exploration company. African Copper has a 100% undivided interest in the 4,000 sq km Matsitama exploration concession which contains the Thakadu-Makala deposits in addition to a further 9 high priority drill-ready targets and 35 lower priority targets. African Copper has approximately 52 million shares outstanding.

This document may contain or refer to forward-looking information, including reserve and resource estimates, and is based on current expectations that involve a number of business risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any forward looking statement include, but are not limited to, failure to establish estimated resources and reserves, the grade and recovery of ore which is mined varying from estimates, capital and operating costs varying significantly from estimates, delays in obtaining or failures to obtain required governmental, environmental or other project approvals, inflation, changes in exchange rates, fluctuations in commodity prices, delays in the development of projects and other factors. Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expected results. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update them or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances.

Further information about our properties, to download a copy of our Annual Report, any technical report or to access our Press Release Archive please visit.www.sedar.com or our website at www.africancopper.com.

Contact Information

  • African Copper Plc
    David Jones / Joseph Hamilton
    +44 (0) 20 7321 3721
    www.africancopper.com.
    or
    Numis Securities Limited (NOMAD)
    John Harrison / James Black
    +44 (0) 20 7776 1590
    or
    Parkgreen Communications
    Justine Howarth / Ana Ribeiro
    +44 (0) 20 7493 3713