Corridor, Chibuto


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The Corridor heavy mineral sand (HMS) ilmenite - zircon - rutile deposit is located just to the north-east of the Limpopo river, near the town of Chibuto, some 190 km north-east of Maputo and 50 km inland from the Indian Ocean coast in Gaza Province of southern Mozambique.

Corridor is hosted within deltaic, estuarine and shoreline sediments deposited at the mouth of the palaeo-Limpopo River, when it also carried the outflow of the Zambezi, Sashi and Kafue rivers. The heavy minerals transported from inland was winnowed by both longshore currents and onshore winds to produce heavy mineral concentrations in high palaeo-aeolian sand dunes.

Subsequent structural uplift associated with the Rift Valley, has both redirected the Zambezi-Kafue river system from the Limpopo valley and resulted in a regression such that the Corridor HMS accumulations are now stranded some 50 km inland from the coast.

At least 10 separate ilmenite-bearing HMS deposits are known within the Corridor area, with initial testing and resource delineation being concentrated on 'Deposit 1', which is composed of two higher grade zones called the West Block and East Block. The West Block is to be mined first, while Indicated Resources have been established for the East Block. The deposit is to be exploited by a dry mining open pit operation.

The 'Deposit 1' mineralisation extends to the surface with no overburden. Representative sections through the West Block indicate concentrations of 6 to 10% HM over widths of more than 2 km and thicknesses of 20 to 100 m enveloping lenses of 15 to >20% HM of more than 1 km in width and up to 50 m in thickness surrounded by a narrow halo of 10 to 15% HM. The average thickness of the economic grades constituting the orebody is over 80 metres.

In 2002, resource figures for these two blocks were:
Measured + indicated resources at:
   West Block - 1.765 Gt @ 7.47% HM, 4.14% ilmenite, 0.15% zircon, 0.02% rutile, 16.4% silt;
   East Block - 0.908 Gt @ 7.18% HM, 3.8% ilmenite, 19.0% silt.
Total inferred resource within other blocks of ore grade HM accumulations surrounding the West and East Blocks and elsewhere within the extensive NNW-SSE dune corridor that embraces the Corridor deposits at Chibuto were estimated to contain:
   - 13.920 Gt @ 4.9% HM.

Resources at June 30, 2007, quoted in the BHP Billiton annual report (2007) were:
    Measured resource - 1.593 Gt @ 4.5% ilmenite, 8.2% HM
    Indicated resource - 1.079 Gt @ 3.4% ilmenite, 6.2% HM
    Total resource - 2.672 Gt @ 4.1% ilmenite, 7.4% HM for approximately 110 Mt of contained ilmenite.

In 2008, Corridor was believed to be the largest known economic ilmenite deposit in the world.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2007.    
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
© Copyright Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.   Unauthorised copying, reproduction, storage or dissemination prohibited.

  References & Additional Information

Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd (PorterGeo) provides access to this database at no charge.   It is largely based on scientific papers and reports in the public domain, and was current when the sources consulted were published.   While PorterGeo endeavour to ensure the information was accurate at the time of compilation and subsequent updating, PorterGeo takes no responsibility what-so-ever for inaccurate or out of date data, information or interpretations.

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