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Canadian mineral resources exploration and development company Tsodilo Resources has filed an interlocutory application in the Botswana High Court, calling on Minerals and Energy Minister Lefoko Moagi to explain why he should not to be held in contempt of court owing to his failure to comply with an earlier High Court judgment handed down on December 15.

In that judgment, the High Court ruled that Moagi’s decision to reject the application for the renewal of Tsolido’s prospecting licence (020/2018) was illegal, unreasonable and irrational.

He was ordered to renew the licence within 14 days and to align the effective dates of contiguous licences PL 021 to 024/2018 with that of the renewed licence – both of which he has failed to do, the company said in a January 23 statement to shareholders.

As such, Tsolido’s application seeks to have the High Court declare that Moagi is in contempt of court and that he be fined for every day that the judgment remains unsatisfied.

Failing that, Tsolido wants the court to impose a period of imprisonment upon Moagi, suspended on conditions deemed appropriate by the court.

The company also wants the court to enforce that Moagi cover its ongoing legal costs that have been incurred owing to this matter.

Tsolido clarified that the licences that needed to be issued would be the first two-year renewal across all licences, effective from April 1.

The company said the purpose of its application was to compel Moagi to comply with the judgment handed down on December 15.

“We believe the matter will be resolved in short order and we can resume the evaluation and development of the Xaudum Iron Formation (XIF) project,” Tsodilo chairperson and CEO James Bruchs said.

The XIF project is part of Tsolido’s Gcwihaba project area consisting of five base, precious and platinum group metals, as well as rare earth element, prospecting licences.

Preliminary investigations for the XIF project have established a Canadian Institute of Mining-compliant inferred mineral resource estimate for Block 1 magnetite XIF, totalling 441-million tonnes. The average composition includes 29.4% iron, 41% silicon dioxide, 6.1% aluminium oxide and 0.3% phosphorus.

Block 1 represents only a portion of the potential XIF magnetite resource. An extrapolated exploration target suggests the XIF could be in the range of five-billion to seven-billion tonnes, with iron content varying at between 15% and 40%.

Tsodilo said this estimate was based on inversion modelling of ground magnetic geophysical data, compared and adjusted using drilling data within Block 1.

The company noted, however, that this target is conceptual, and that there has not been adequate exploration to confirm it as a mineral resource beyond Block 1. The potential for further exploration to define the target as a mineral resource remains uncertain.

Metallurgical magnetic separation results, determined by Davis Tube Recovery, indicate an average concentrate of 67.2% iron, 4.2% silicon dioxide, 0.5% aluminium oxide and 0.07% phosphorus.

Future exploration efforts will concentrate on Block 2a, where Tsodilo expects an increase in the resource.

“Since 2014, the Botswana government has publicly expressed its support for the XIF project, and we look forward to working with the Ministry of Minerals and Energy and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism as we continue our work to bring the XIF into production,” Bruchs said.