Regulatory work isn’t easy, but it’s a key part of progress

This past week, as well as drilling down into the ground at the KCB, we’ve been drilling down into the company too.
Both present their own challenges…
But both help our progress enormously.
Indeed, as our drill campaign continues apace, and we continue to progress our projects at the KSZ and Ditau, we’ve been engaged in a serious undertaking to provide the FCA with a full company prospectus.
It’s been a lot of work for our management team, but I think will prove to be worth it.
The FCA, as you no doubt know, is the Financial Conduct Authority.
As part of their regulatory oversight, when a company like ours on the Standard List raises funds, the FCA requires us to produce and submit a detailed prospectus that outlines how the company has developed so far and how funds will be used in the future.
We have to provide evidence on how we plan to achieve our strategic goals, and - importantly – the basis on which we’ve made our future predictions (or “forward looking statements”).
Granted, talking about the FCA hardly sounds like an exciting or stimulating subject for an email like this...
But the truth is, compiling a detailed report of this nature provides several encouraging benefits, as I’ll explain.
Of course, those familiar with how the markets work might be aware that most companies in the UK exploration space, who are listed on AIM, do not have to produce a prospectus like this. AIM is a market to which these rules do not apply, but we are on the Standard List of the main LSE – a more prestigious venue for a company like ours to trade.
One of the main benefits of spending so much time on preparing a prospectus is that it has given us the chance to complete a comprehensive review of the entire company. We've been able to see what we’ve done well and also see where we might be able to do things differently in future.
That kind of self-awareness and insight could prove to be invaluable as we move forward.
There’s also the fact that the process of approving the prospectus means two separate individuals from the FCA are required to go through everything themselves with a fine-toothed comb and ask questions about anything that sticks out as odd or needs better explaining.
Though some might see this as unwelcome scrutiny, I encourage it wholeheartedly.
It helps confirm we’re doing things right from a regulatory perspective. This makes our business stronger and more robust.
More so, the regulator is particularly concerned with our forward-looking statements.
This is key.


Pushing forward

This isn’t just about checking what’s gone before…
It’s about ensuring, at least from a regulatory perspective, that we have planned strategically and financially in a way that makes sense…that the sums add up.
It’s further reassurance for Kavango, but also for investors and the market as a whole.
Indeed, that’s another knock-on benefit of compiling such a detailed review and having it approved by the FCA… it means we have more compelling evidence for future investors that what we’re doing is investible. They’ll be able to consult this document and use it to support their investment case.
Yes - it’s been a lot of work, and not the exciting work of drilling and getting our hands in the Botswanan soil…
And yes, many similar companies listed on AIM avoid the need to do this altogether...
But the whole process, though detailed and demanding, has left me feeling even more positive about what we’re doing here at Kavango.
It fills me with greater confidence. And I hope, now that the process is complete and the prospectus is published on our website, it will give a boon to investors too.
The takeaway is simple…
Both below the ground and behind the scenes, our work is progressing with clear focus and steely determination.
Now that the prospectus is published, we can complete various elements of our work programmes and I look forward to bringing you more news in the near future.

Financing is the first step; now we’re ready to stride forward

If there’s copper in the ground at the KCB, we’ve given ourselves the very best chance of finding it.
That’s what I said in my last edition of Boots on the Ground, and it’s what I’ve been telling everyone I speak to.
Without doubt, the strategic financing we recently secured takes us a considerable step towards realising what the KCB has to offer.
But it is only a step.
And I’m not so naïve to think it will be all plain sailing from here.
So far though, as our drill campaign progresses well in Botswana, things are looking good.

Drills in the ground at the KCB


On licence PL082, drilling so far has corresponded to what our Controlled-Source Audio-frequency Magnetotellurics (or CSAMT) surveys are showing us. That’s a good sign. If we are able to map the D’Kar/Ngwako Pan contact from surface, this will give us a huge exploration edge in future.
Remember, this is the key contact point that controls the KCB’s copper/silver deposits. Being able to identify where these formational contacts lie within our licences will allow us to improve our drill targeting immensely.
Of course, there is a lot of focus on in the KCB right now. With the drill campaign in full swing, we’re keen to see what the ground turns up.
But as I’ve been briefing elsewhere, the truth is KCB is only part of the puzzle when it comes to Kavango.
This is why, despite the still uncertain market conditions, I’m still quietly confident about what we’re doing.


A cautious time calls for cautious optimism

I understand investors are weary, edgy even.
And I know reading this, you might yourself be suspicious of the market.
I think about that a lot.
It’s why not long ago, in this very newsletter, I pointed out my own belief in focusing on fundamentals. I think that’s important.
It’s how I look at what we’re doing here at Kavango. Fundamentally, I believe we have a good approach to exploration in Botswana.
It has taken time to get to this point, and there is still reason to be cautious, and indeed, patient.
But when I look at the next steps we’re preparing to take, it reminds me that we are moving in the right direction all the time.
Take a look at this slide from a presentation I’ve been sharing with investors and various financial media.

What you’ll see immediately is that our work at KCB is only one of our project areas.
It’s easy to lose sight of this.
The fact is we have opportunities across three different projects.
Yes, there is the campaign underway at KCB, and the next steps there are to complete the current drilling, assess the situation, and select the final drilling targets accordingly.
Thanks to the financing we’ve attracted, we are well positioned to get that all done.
But we have the KSZ too.
There we’re getting ready to drill the “B” conductors, which demonstrate high levels of conductivity and very promising Norilsk-style potential based on the data we’ve already collected.
Indeed, we’ll be carrying out TDEM and CSAMT surveys across the project to get all the insight we can into what the ground might have in store for us.
And on top of the KSZ, you can see we have Ditau too.
There we have CSAMT and gravity surveys, which incur a lower cost than drilling, planned across the 12 ring structure targets we’ve identified.
And we’re looking to drill there too in 2023, particular on our i10 Target where petrological studies have already confirmed an IOCG system.
While there’s so much focus on the KCB, it’s easy for the market and the media to forget about what’s going on at KSZ and Ditau.
I understand. This is how exploration works. Focus appears to move from one project to another as new information surfaces.
But as CEO, I’ve always got one eye on each project, and seeing it all laid out like this, the opportunities we’ve created, it helps to remind me of the sheer scale of what we’re doing here at Kavango. And it’s the reason why, even in times like this, I might still seem bullish.
That said, despite my confidence, like I say, I know there will be challenges ahead and we will need to work as a team to overcome them.
The good news is, we have that team here at Kavango. I see it day in day out and it’s a joy to watch everyone pushing in the same direction.
Exploration is not an exact science. The ground reveals new surprises all the time, some good, some bad, and you must assess sensibly, but quickly.
The drilling at the KCB so far suggests our survey work has been conducted well. I hope things continue like that, but we’ll be ready for whatever the ground throws up.
Still, I know my confidence in what we’re doing is not the only thing that will reassure current investors or attract new ones. I know there will be specific issues people are interested in knowing themselves.
This is why, before I sign off for this issue of Boots on the Ground, I want to invite you, dear reader, once again to respond to this very email with any questions about what’s happening at the KCB, or at the KSZ and Ditau.
I’ll collate your questions together and look to do a mailbag issue next time around.
You can email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Otherwise, the future is looking bright for Kavango right now.
Our plans are progressing, drills are in the ground, and we’re learning more about our projects all the time.
In a time of great uncertainty, I hope that gives investors some small reassurance and cause for cautious optimism.



A significant ray of sunlight in an undeniably challenging market

Let’s not sugar-coat it…
Being an explorer in these current market conditions is tough.
Seeking strategic investment is even tougher.
Most investors are on the defensive. People are reigning things in, cutting back, looking to lay-low until greater confidence returns.
And it’s been like that for a while now.
I understand it’s one of the reasons some people have been skeptical about what we’re doing here at Kavango, about my plans for the company.
Investors are weary. I get that.
Even though the opportunities we’re exploring across our three main projects look good on paper (and on the ground), the fact the wider market is so fragile worries people.
I’ve never ignored this. I knew it only too well.
I still do.
But from the moment I became CEO of Kavango, I’ve been confident in what we’re doing as a company.
The KSZ…the KCB…Ditau… make no mistake: these are highly promising exploration opportunities.
It’s why, for the last year at least, I’ve been talking to as many people as possible about what we’re doing. I’ve tried to be open, transparent, and above all...realistic.
I think that’s what investors want.
And I believe it’s the reason why I’m able to write to you today to celebrate the fact that we last week raised £3.5 million to help fund our continuing exploration.
Frankly, I believe it could be enough to see us through to discovery.
Of course, I’m not saying discovery is guaranteed. That’s impossible to predict, even with the extensive work we’re doing.
But I believe that if the metal is there in the ground at any of our projects…
We stand a very good chance of finding it.
And now I believe we have the financing necessary to do so.
Perhaps more important, though, is the fact that the vast majority of this raise comes from two key strategic investors.
Right now, I can’t share the details of one of those investors, simply because the deal is waiting to complete. Once the TR-1 is done in mid-November, I’ll be the first to update you.
But as we announced via RNS last week, our deal with Arigo Investments Africa is now complete, and we couldn’t be happier to have the team on board.
Being based in Southern Africa, Arigo's experience and contacts will be a great support to us.
Their investment in us is reassuring too. Presented with all we’ve done and all that we plan to do, Arigo’s team can clearly see the opportunity for itself.
As I say, this is not a friendly market.
It’s a tough time to be raising…
And it makes me even prouder that a company like Arigo is confident enough to invest such a significant amount.
Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done. I understand that, and the whole team here at Kavango understands that too.
But our excitement in these opportunities…in what’s happening at KSZ…at the KCB…and at Ditau… only continues to grow.
If you’ve got questions about any of our projects, remember you can always reply to this email and ask me, and I’ll look to cover any of the topics in a future edition of Boots on the Ground.
Indeed, either way, I’ll keep you updated on what’s happening, and as more data comes to light, what our next steps will be.
But right now, in a market that for many is extremely challenging, I think it’s important to take a moment to reflect on what our latest fundraise means.
It’s a significant vote of confidence in what we’re doing here at Kavango and, we believe, gives us clear runway until the end of 2023. With such a strong outlook for base metals, it is surely a matter of time before the mining and exploration sector rallies.
With all the operational progress we have made over the course of 2022, and now that we have emphatically addressed any questions over financing, it is my firm belief that Kavango will be one of the leaders when the market recovers.

How we’re embracing new technology to advance our work across Botswana

We’re not the first company to look at the Kalahari Suture Zone...
We’re not even the first company to go prospecting for copper further north either…
But there is no doubt…
At both the KSZ and the Kalahari Copper Belt, we have been at the cutting edge when it comes to using technologies in our exploration efforts.
I’m extremely proud of that.
Above all, I’m proud of the team on the ground in Botswana and here in the UK for engaging with new technology in such a committed way.
I’m convinced it’s thanks to our use of the latest technology that we could be about to make a serious breakthrough.
In particular, the deployment of magnetotellurics has been extremely useful at both projects, with the latest imagery from the KCB providing us with enough certainty about our geological models to say that further drilling is definitely warranted.
Partly, this is because the resolution on the latest set of magnetotellurics has been exceptional, with superb visibility down to depths of four kilometres.
Frankly, that far exceeded our expectations.
But more broadly, it’s because the imagery appears to show high contrast resistivity sections deep beneath the Kalahari Desert that clearly indicate areas of major folding and faulting.
That resistivity is exactly what the magnetotellurics – or, to give it its even fancier scientific name: the controlled-source audio-frequency magnetotelluric (CSAMT) method – are designed to find.

Measuring frequencies

In more understandable terms, magnetotellurics measure fluctuations in natural electric and magnetic fields over a broad range of frequencies.
These fluctuations are caused by ionosphere related solar activity in the low frequency range, and by world-wide thunderstorm activity at higher frequencies.
It’s fascinating when you start to learn more about it.
The “controlled source” in CSAMT is a specialised transmitter, which makes signals stronger and more coherent than measurement using the associated method known simply as the audio-magnetotelluric method, or AMT.
But what the CSAMT technology is showing us in the Kalahari Copper Belt isn’t just of academic interest.
The data that’s coming back could prove highly commercial too.
What the imagery seems to show is a steeply dipping geological structure or deformation zone which goes down to a depth of four kilometres.
If that’s so, it would be a highly encouraging result.
Such structures are thought to serve as pathways for fluid flow and mineral mobilisation.
Or in other words….
We may well be looking at a key component of a mineralising system.
And in addition, the deformation zone highlighted by the CSAMT also coincides both with a copper anomaly we’ve already identified in the Northern Zone of the Kalahari Copper Belt, and with a conductor we’ve identified using airborne electromagnetic surveys.
So far and it’s all so good.
The next tick in the box will be confirmation of our interpretation of the underground contact between the Nwgako Pan sediments and the shallower D’Kar lithologies.
This contact zone is recognised as a crucial control for copper and silver mineralisation in the Kalahari Copper Belt.
If drilling can confirm what the CSAMT data seems to be indicating…
The overall result will be transformational for our understanding of the Northern Zone.

We continue to move forward

As you know, drilling is already underway elsewhere on the PL082/2018 licence, targeting a different set of CSAMT data that was previously generated.
The initial focus here was justified by the presence at surface of the highest soil copper values yet recorded on the licence, and we have high hopes for this drill hole too.
But what the CSAMT data is now beginning to emphasise is that the area is likely to be rich in targets of real significance, and ones that are crying out to be tested.
So, once this first hole – KCBRC001 – is complete, we will move on deeper into this drill campaign, confident that all the data shows we’re really onto something.
Quite what that is, remains to be seen. But the time has now come where we test our geophysics against physical geology…
And I am very much looking forward to what we find.

Drilling the KCB with flexibility in mind

We’ve now mobilised our maiden drilling programme in the Kalahari Copper Belt, where our goal is to make one or more economic copper discoveries.

Our first pass will include six holes for around 1,250 metres of drilling, focusing on the Northern and Central anomalies we’ve identified on licence PL082/2018.

The work marks the first phase of up to 37,600 metres of planned drilling across 188 drill collar locations we’ve identified on four of our 12 KCB licences.

We now aim to move along at a fairly rapidly clip, thanks in part to the variable capabilities of the drill rig deployed by our contractors Mindea.

You see, Mindea is using a multi-purpose to drill PL082. This is capable of both reverse circulation and diamond drilling, allowing for great flexibility.

Now, experienced mining hands will know there are certain advantages and disadvantages to each of these drilling styles. Much of this comes down to geological setting.

At PL082, the Kalahari sands overlying our target rocks are quite thin. That means we can get down to where we want to be pretty quickly.

It’s what we do when we get there that’s really crucial.

With diamond drilling, you get a fully intact cylindrical core of rock that can provide a much higher quality of analysis once it’s split and sent to the lab for analysis. Most exploration companies would, on the whole, favour this if neither money nor time were an object and ground conditions allowed.

With reverse circulation drilling, the rock that’s drilled is also crushed and comes to the surface in the form of chips. It’s then batched up by intervals and sent for analysis in bags or boxes. Because there’s no need to keep the core intact, it’s much faster than diamond drilling and more cost effective too.

One factor in particular that also plays a part, especially in an environment like the Kalahari, is water. You need water for diamond drilling, but not so much for RC drilling.

A hybrid approach

The hard numbers tell the real story, though. It can take up to a month to drill a single 800 metre diamond drill hole, which is roughly the same amount of time it might take to drill eight to twelve 200 metre RC holes.

Now, the KCB targets we’re currently working on are not that deep. This means we can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time and get a fast but real feel for the rock types if we use RC.

This diagram shows the location of the Northern and Central zones we are targeting with our current drilling campaign


Nonetheless, if ground conditions mean we can’t use RC for whatever reason, or if we decide to go deeper into the KCB than originally envisioned, Mindea’s multi-purpose rig gives us the capability to switch to diamond drilling without any fuss.

That flexibility with the rig will make us very nimble when it comes to making day-to-day decisions about how and where to drill. Brett, our COO, has flown to Botswana for this campaign and has been joined their by Kavango’s co-founder Hillary Gumbo. Together with Fred and the team, we have everyone on sight to maximise our chances of success.

Ultimately, at this early stage of the campaign we want as much physical data as we can gather for minimal cost, so most of the work will likely be RC. But where a more complex understanding of structure is required, we can quickly switch over to diamond.

This means it’s quite possible that some of the holes we drill will be hybrid; the upper levels will be drilled out using RC, with the lower levels pulling out diamond core.

It’s a useful option to have, and one that will make the upcoming results from KCB just that bit more critical to our search for large, economic deposits.

Braving the bigger picture: an investor's eternal challenge

Whether you’re deeply concerned with what’s happening in the UK economy right now…

Or if perhaps you’re a bit more relaxed, having seen such moves play out before...

With the sheer media focus on what’s happening, it’s impossible to not have at least some reservations about the future.

How will Mr Market take it all?

Well, he’ll take it in his stride. He always does. Highs and lows. Inflation and deflation. High taxes and low taxes. Mr Market continues his merry way regardless.

That’s not to minimise the situation. Or to overlook the fact that when the market moves against you (sometimes despite making the right call), it can be utterly frustrating, demoralising, and financially troubling.


It’s at times like this, when there is such a high level of hysteria around the markets, that I think it’s more important than ever for investors—and I count myself in that number—to remember the fundamentals, to see the bigger picture, the reason they invest in the first place.

Take what we’re doing with Kavango.

We’re a business focused on exploration in Botswana.

We hope to find a variety of valuable resources in the ground, resources that are fundamental not just to the UK economy, but the global economy.

Yes, seeing the markets worried… seeing the pound crash… seeing the media whip up a panic…these things impact us as a company. And it’s necessary for us to figure out ways to overcome the short-term fluctuations. Thankfully we’re well positioned and have a strong plan, which we’ve worked hard to put into action.

But still, there is a tendency for this noise to distract from the bigger picture.

A wave is building

Where seeing the bigger picture is concerned, let me give you an example of what I mean.

Just this week I was listening to a program on Radio 4 talking about the need for rare earth metals.

Radio 4.

It’s not quite Radio 1, or the One Show, but it doesn’t get much more mainstream than that.

The fact this is being discussed on such platforms tells us something.

And this is on the back of an increasing number of articles, comment pieces and features across the financial media exploring how important rare earths are to the future of the planet.

In fact, you may have seen…

The now Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, before getting his hands on the purse itself, launched, as Business Secretary, an entire policy to support UK companies in the exploration for rare earths.

There is a wave building here.

The demand for copper, for nickel, for all manner of rare earth metals is growing. It’s becoming known. It’s becoming unavoidable.

Green energy. British industry. Electric Vehicles. These are issues that all rely, ultimately, on companies like us doing what we do.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just Kavango who I think will benefit from this. Others will too.

But it’s important, I think, to remember these issues… how we source energy… how a country grows its economy… how we power the cars we drive… these are truly fundamental. They are not going away.

When I see hysteria plastered across the front pages...

When I see investors panicked...

When I see Mr Market taking a hit…

I remind myself that as an investor--and indeed, as the CEO of a company like Kavango--my focus should always be on the bigger picture, on the fundamentals.

It’s not easy. It’s the eternal challenge for any investor, for any CEO... to see past the noise, to continue according to plan when it seems everyone else is throwing away plans left, right and centre.

But we steel ourselves regardless.

We remind ourselves of why we invest, why we believe in what we’re doing… and the answer so often reminds us that yes, we are on the right path, and we’re heading in the right direction.

A timely recap on our projects across Botswana

I think one of our key strengths has always been the high quality of the exploration projects we have in our portfolio.

It’s not over-egging the pudding to say that we have four potentially company-making projects spread across our extensive Botswana portfolio.

On the KSZ alone, there’s the potential for a Norilsk lookalike target at depths of five or six hundred metres, while deeper down in the Great Red Spot the target bears up to significant comparison with Olympic Dam.

It’s rare to find a company with two such high quality targets in the same portfolio, let alone on the same licence.

And of course, where we’re concerned here at Kavango…

It doesn’t stop there!

There’s also the huge upside available from our Kalahari Copper Belt projects, and the intriguing potential at Ditau, which may yet turn us - and Botswana - into a major player in rare earths and a meaningful producer of gold too.

With such a broad range of properties and potential, you might wonder how we keep all the balls in the air at the same time.

It’s hard work, but we’ve been able to move forward with all our projects in recent months, and more to the point, we’ve got plenty more activity lined-up for the rest of the year and into 2023.

Indeed, in this instalment of Boots on the Ground, I want to recap and review where we are on some of these key projects.

Let’s start with the KCB

Of most immediate significance will be our plans on the Kalahari Copper Belt project.

Here, as you know, we recently identified a highly prospective drill target at Mamuno, with attractive grades showing up in soil sampling. The Mamuno licences are housed in our Kanye Resources vehicle, together with PL036, PL037 and a number of other licences. This land package is attracting a great deal of interest and I hope to be able to announce some news on this later on this year.

Meanwhile across the wider KCB, we’ve just taken our interest in the LVR joint venture to 90%, following the acquisition of a 65% stake that completed on 16 September.

That cues us up nicely for a maiden drilling campaign on the KCB, given that the LVR joint venture incorporates two prospecting licences covering a total area of 809 square kilometres.

In an area that’s known to be highly prospective for copper, that’s a sizeable chunk of ground to have, and although a firm date for drilling has yet to be set, one of the licences, PL082, isn’t far off being ready.

As it stands, PL082 has already yielded significant copper-in-soil anomalies, with XRF showing a peak value of 118 parts per million copper.

A more detailed understanding of grade at PL082 will have to await the investigations of the drill bit, but we do already know something of the extent of this prospect.

And it’s not small.

What we’ve called “the Central Zone” has a strike length of 27 kilometres, while the strike length at “the North Zone” rings in at eight kilometres. These are big strike lengths by anybody’s reckoning and give a clear indication of the kind of project scale we might be looking at down the line.

Separately, it’s possible that the PL083 licence, which is also encompassed in the LVR joint venture, has significant, previously unrecognised, prospective potential.

However, we don’t really know enough yet to say one way or the other, and our geophysics team is busy working up models to enable us to approach this ground in a meaningful way.

If we get it right, the payoffs might be huge. PL083 is largely unexplored ground, so anything that is there won’t have been missed by other companies, it just won’t have been looked for in the first place.

As ever with our work in Botswana, geophysics will be key. The huge advances that have been made in this area of geological science over the past few decades have enabled companies like ours to work up ground that would have been deemed unworkable in, say, the 1970s.

The Kalahari sands are deep – in places hundreds of metres deep – but these days, with the help of new tools, we can see deeper.

Which leads me to the KSZ

Certainly, that’s been true of the KSZ over the years, where our understanding of the geological structures there has been based around significantly more sophisticated exploration equipment and techniques than were available to our junior mining forebears of a generation or so ago.

In the case of KSZ, and particularly with reference to the Olympic Dam-style target that seems to lie at depth there, we’ve been able to apply a whole new technique – Controlled Source AudioMagnetoTellurics (CSAMT) – which wasn’t available to the original discoverers of Olympic Dam back in the 1970s.

The application of CSAMT has reaffirmed the insights gleaned from modelling done using older, tried and true techniques at the deeper depths of the KSZ, and only goes towards enhancing our confidence that we are thinking along the right lines.

In any case, it’s possible now that the immediate focus at the KSZ will switch back to the shallower areas that look prospective for nickel and copper.

I mentioned last time out that we recently appointed Tamesis to take the lead in our efforts to find a partner for the development of the KSZ, an announcement which came shortly after we issued Richard Hornsey’s ‘Proof of Concept’ report on the KSZ itself.

This report provided proof of the existence of nickel, copper, and platinum group metals-mineralising processes throughout the KSZ, in both the Karoo and Proterozoic Zones…

It highlighted previously unrecognised potential for mineralisation in the south of the project…

And it added other styles of potential mineralisation to the Norilsk-style that we had hitherto been working with. In particular, we are excited by the Platinum Group Element potential in the KSZ South.

This type of affirmation ought to carry a significant amount of weight with the potential partners that Tamesis will be lining up for us.

What type of deal eventually comes on to the table remains to be seen, but it’s long been recognised both inside the company and in the wider market that we’ve been punching above its weight at the KSZ.

Drilling to the depths we’re drilling, working up the models we’ve worked up, and having the aspirations we have – all are more appropriate to much larger mining companies.

Indeed, it’s fair to say that hardly any other junior exploration company has been able to achieve the kinds of things we’ve achieved over the past few years and, what’s more, most don’t even bother trying.

But we’ve always had big aspirations, which is why, if and when we do hit mineralisation at the KSZ, it’s likely to be big, and will require a partner to develop.

Whether we’ll end up needing a partner at Ditau is another matter entirely.

Not forgetting Ditau

Of course, Ditau is a completely different animal, both in terms of target and in terms of scale.

Until the most recent set of drill results we had primarily viewed Ditau as a rare earths opportunity, looking to capitalise on the increased demand for rare earths sourced anywhere other than China, and particularly from safe jurisdictions, like Botswana.

In late August, though, came the news that significant showings of gold had been uncovered in our latest round of drilling at Ditau, along with associated copper.

That sent us back to our models to revisit our previous conceptual work, and we are still in the process of updating our understanding of the geological systems at work at depth at Ditau.

Some reports, on petrology in particular, have yet to come in, so there are still important datasets that will become available to us that we haven’t yet fed into our models.

At this stage, all we really know is that there’s a zone of interest, that there’s an iron-rich hydrothermal breccia that starts at a depth of just over 290 metres, and which extends beyond the depths to which our hole drilled at 393m.

So, we know there’s material down there that’s worth following up on. We’re just working out how best to do it.

Once the remaining data from the recent campaigns comes in, we will also be considering how best to follow up on the other holes that we drilled.

In the meantime, we still have eight drill targets on Ditau which remain untested, and which we still believe have significant potential to yield up a carbonatite structure of the kind that we’re hoping to find rare earths in.

Exactly which of those targets we turn to next remains up for discussion, but we hope to be moving forward on Ditau in a variety of significant ways sooner rather than later.

As things stand today, it seems that the most immediate opportunity we have for making a discovery lies on the KCB, and it’s certainly true that if we do make a discovery there it will be easier to move into production than anything on the KSZ.

One reason for that is that while other companies have successfully developed copper mines in Botswana in the recent past, there’s nothing quite like the KSZ – not in Botswana, and maybe not anywhere.

So, we’ll be breaking new ground in several different ways if we do manage to get the KSZ up and running in a meaningful way.

Whatever happens, though, it looks likely to be quite a ride, with opportunities for value creation jumping out at us from several directions, and lots of near-term newsflow to keep things interesting.

And on that side of things, I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Get metal on the books as soon as possible

“I’m just shocked by how much progress we’ve made in the last six months.”
This was the first thing Brett said to me when I was speaking to him earlier this week.
I speak with Brett every day, but as a reader of Boots on the Ground, I thought it would be good to give you a little insight into what’s on Brett’s mind at the moment.
He went on to say:
I guess I shouldn’t be shocked. But it’s very positive how much progress we have made in the last three months. It’s good to have such a clear grasp of the geology on the ground and have that backed up by such a detailed geochemical survey. It means we now have multiple well-defined targets. And that puts us in a very strong position.”
He's right, it does.
And I think our recent trip helped us get to this stage.
On the progress front, we spoke about the fact he’s been working on finding new investment so we can maximise the potential we have clearly seen across our various projects.
I asked him how that’s going?
“When I look at a company or project,” he explained, “the first thing I look at is the licence package and status of these. We have a unique position with our licences on the KSZ, which demands a special approach.”
“It’s a big project,” he went on. “People forget that. But I think the appointment of Tamesis Partners to lead our efforts in seeking a partner or partners for the KSZ provides significant confirmation of our own confidence in the opportunity.”
I’d agree. Tamesis have a lot of experience too.
They’re well known in mining circles too,” Brett pointed out. “And they’re attuned to identifying early opportunities. They’ve worked a lot with companies to grow these types of opportunities over time. They get what we’re doing, and I think that’s important. It helps too that we’ve got a good suite of projects on the go across the country. We’ve got a broad scope.”
I thought I’d be a bit cheeky and put him on the spot by asking which of our projects has him the most excited right now, and why?
“That’s tough,” he said. “In my career I’ve been closely involved with early drilling and taking projects through to that critical first resource, which can really underpin a company’s valuation. So, I guess you could say I’m someone who likes to get metal on the books as soon as possible.”
I pushed him to choose.
I’m going to say the KCB. We have multiple licences, each of which offers several chances for a discovery within it. For a single company to have all of these opportunities under one roof offers major upside potential.”
Speaking of Botswana more generally, I asked him why he thinks the country is so well primed right now?
He pointed out that Botswana has a great mineral endowment, which the world is only just waking up to. He agrees with me: this is the right time to be in the country.
He went on to say that critically, as far as he sees it, Botswana doesn’t suffer from the negative issues that can be found elsewhere in the world.
“It’s a safe place to work,” he said, “with good infrastructure, a clear mineral rights system, and a committed skilled workforce. People might not realise but our entire geological team is from Botswana. These are people who have accumulated years of knowledge in the area, and it makes sense to work closely with them.”
“Above all,” he told me. “The country is pro-mining and keen to diversify beyond its historic diamond-dominated sector. A lot of other countries, including in the west, could learn from this.”
I think he’s right.
And as I discovered for myself again recently, it’s just such a nice place to be. The feeling there is so positive.

Renewing our interest in the region

When we were speaking, we were just lining up our RNS about renewing our licenses and I asked him how important he thought it was for us to renew and expand our footprint in the country.
He agreed it was very important, and that our recent licence renewal, and the issue of an additional licence, confirms our footprint, particularly in the KSZ, and affirms Botswana’s recognition of the work already carried out by Kavango.
He was happy with the progress we’re making.
As am I.
Brett pointed out that it shows that Botswana is a place where, so long as one carries out work, renewal will generally be implemented.
That’s a good sign.
It’s what makes it such an attractive jurisdiction for companies like ours.
Finally, before we headed to our next meeting, I asked Brett what he was most looking forward to over the next few months where Kavango is concerned?
He explained:
“We have advanced our KCB licences as far as we can, ready for drilling and we are talking to drill contractors. I’m really looking forward to us moving to the next stage: drill testing and investigating as many of the targets that we have generated as we can.”
He’s not the only one.
I’m excited about the drill testing myself and I’m keen to see what comes of it.
As Brett pointed out, and as we often remind ourselves each day, there’s a lot to be positive about here at Kavango right now and we’ve got a lot of very interesting news on the horizon.
Like me, Brett is excited about what we’re doing, and I must say what a pleasure it is to have him as part of the team.
I hope you found it interesting hearing a little more of Brett’s opinion too—at some point I think we might try to do a webinar together just for readers of Boots on the Ground. Watch this space.
But I’ll be in touch again in the meantime, through this email and elsewhere, as things develop.

See the forest AND the trees

"You can’t see the forest for the trees."
It’s an old cliché, but there’s something to it.
It is easy to get lost in detail, to forget about the bigger picture.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s in the detail where the most exciting data often reveals itself. It’s why we spend so much time and energy analysing the information we gather from the various surveys we carry out across our projects.
But sometimes, when you spend so much time zoomed in, you forget to zoom out too.
You forget to take in the wonder of the forest, having become so distracted by how attractive the trees are.
At our various projects across the Kalahari Copper Belt, there’s been so much data flying around the place that I feel this has happened a little.
Be clear: exploration lives and dies on making discoveries.
And making discoveries all comes down to finding hard evidence in the ground. That’s why you focus so much on the detail.
But the smart money is always ahead of the game. It sees things that little bit earlier. It takes a risk, sure, but why—what justifies that risk?
There are many factors. But I think one of the key ones is being able to see the bigger picture, being able to see the trees AND the forest.

There’s momentum building around the KCB

Right now, I think there’s a lot of trees to see in KCB.
Not literally. It’s pretty arid land. But as far as detail goes, there’s all manner of data coming out that is extremely encouraging.
Across the 12 licences we’ve got interest in in the region, and recent news has been very positive.
For example, the recent soil sampling at Mamuno looked to confirm the underlying geology we’d already mapped, suggesting the presence of anomalous copper.
Likewise, the same work confirmed two major drill targets at licence PL082/2018, where the red metal is interspersed along strike lengths of 8km and 27km.
As I write, we’re planning drill campaigns that could extremely significant.
But as I say, sometimes it pays to step back too.
It pays to look at the bigger picture.
Being on the ground in the KCB recently allowed me to see it myself. There’s a buzz there, things are moving, momentum is building.
We’re not the only company to realise the potential here.
Sandfire, Cobre, and Cupric Canyon are all in the region, too.
They also see the forest as well as the trees.
Indeed, competition for licences is fierce, which is why it’s so positive that we’ve got exposure to 12 in the area, covering a massive 5,257 sq km.
But zoom out again...
From the detail of what’s going on under the surface...
To the companies who see the potential…
To the fact that the demand for copper is only set to increase.
As Nathaniel Bullard writes in Bloomberg: "Demand for the metal used in solar panels, wind turbines and power lines will far outstrip supply."
He goes on…
"Copper is one of the essential elements of today’s economy, and tomorrow’s. It’s in the turbines and solar modules that generate electrons, the transmission and distribution lines that carry electricity to consumers, the home wiring that delivers it to dishwashers and iPhones, and the motors that move everything from elevators to electric bicycles.”
“I think of copper as a common carrier, so to speak, of decarbonization. It is literally the wiring that connects the present to the future."
That’s my emphasis.
Because it's an important point to remember. It's another reason why what's happening at the KCB is so exciting.
Bullard sites a research report carried out that suggests:
"Copper demand will increase by more than 50% between now and 2040."
That’s huge.
This is the forest. This is the bigger picture that our work at the KCB is playing into.
It’s why I’m so positive about our progress right now, why we’re pushing hard not just at the KCB but across our interests in Botswana where things are all moving in the right direction.
We’ll keep analysing the detail, learning what we can from the data...
But we’ll be keeping an eye on the bigger picture too. Because right now, it’s looking very interesting.


A fantastic and utterly insightful trip to Botswana proves we have a lot to be excited about…

Take a look at this picture:

It looks like an unassuming road sign, signalling the turn off to a town called Hukuntsi.
In fact, that’s exactly what it is.
Chances are, very few people have ever heard of Hukuntsi.
But as we drove past this sign and into Hukuntsi itself, I couldn’t help but think about Norilsk in Russia, perhaps one of the most successful mining regions in the world today.
Before the extensive discoveries of nickel and copper at Norilsk, I doubt anyone would have heard of it either.
Of course, we don’t know if Hukuntsi will become as big as Norilsk, or if there’ll be any significant discoveries at all.
But how I felt driving into Hukuntsi sums up how I felt throughout my trip to Botswana.
The idea that I could very well be witnessing and visiting places that could one day be considered legendary, at least in the world of mining...
Well, we’ll see.
Indeed, the whole trip, I must say, was incredible.
Not just because I saw so much that made me excited about the potential of the projects we have on the ground in Botswana, but because the people, the culture, the general sense of excitement and togetherness, was brilliant.
Botswana is a beautiful place.
As I mentioned in my last Boots on the Ground dispatch, the intel we’ve been getting has been excellent too.
And I’m sure you’ve seen that it’s been a busy period for news out of many of our key projects.
It was great. But so was meeting so many like-minded people face to face. You get to pick up a lot more insight and detail when you’re there in person.
Here we are with the team from the LVR project:

After the excellent exploration results at the LVR licences, we’re very pleased with how this project is coming along and the team involved are great. We spent quite a bit of time last Sunday on PL082 and, I have to say, you can feel the excitement around the targets we’ve identified.
One thing that really struck me on this licence was that this is one of the smallest in our portfolio but is a company maker in its own right. The primary target zone is 27km long. I can’t think of another small cap junior exploration company valued at our current market cap that has so many high-quality, large-scale targets on its books.
We’ve got big plans for the whole Kalahari Copper Belt, and we’re keen to get drilling. My overriding sense is that once we make one discovery, this will be the catalyst for a significant positive rerate in our share price, as the market truly starts to grasp the potential Kavango has to offer.
I expect some more key developments there before too long.
Indeed, when you’re on the ground and meeting so many people, you really get to sense the buzz around what’s going on, and there is a real buzz around the whole KCB right now.
Now that we’re on the verge of securing 100% of the licences from Power Metal, we are primed to become one of the largest landowners in the area, and will have access to some of the most prospective ground.
Hopefully, that will eventually be reflected in the buzz around Kavango itself.
The visit to the Botswana Stock Exchange was a particular highlight. There is nothing to report right now, but I have a number of initiatives I’m working on, so let’s see where they take us:

Over at the KSZ, things are looking very interesting too
Of course, though it’s important to be having the right conversations and the right meetings, my trip wasn’t just about shaking hands.
I was keen to get out on the ground and see for myself what’s going on.
Before we visited the KCB, we were over at the Kalahari Suture Zone.
In fact, here I am inspecting some of the deepest rocks that have ever been recovered from the region:

As well as being some of the deepest samples we’ve ever extracted, what’s more significant is that fact that we now know—thanks to Richard Hornsey’s report—that they are medium enriched for platinum group metals.
This is positive news and because of the work on the ground, we’re upgrading our exploration models as fast as we can to see just how much of an opportunity this could be.
Meeting the teams at the Tshane (KSZ/Ditau) and Ghanzi (KCB) basecamps was a real pleasure, and I must say to them, and to everyone who looked after us on the trip, how much we appreciated it their hospitality and hard work.

I’ve mentioned the KCB and KSZ and I should mention Ditau too.
You will have seen the significant news that we’ve intersected a gold mineralizing system there.
And that we’ve identified copper and iron oxides too.

There’s still work to do, but naturally, there was a lot of excitement and it’s the first time the more experienced members of our team were able to perform a review of the physical cores.
That the area is rich in iron oxides and has anomalous copper and gold could be significant.
As ever, we’ll keep you posted on how it develops and as soon as we know more, so will you.
All in all, as you can probably tell from all the positive news that’s been coming out in the past week or so, our boots on the ground trip to Botswana was a real success and a real pleasure.
Will the places I visited one day be as well known in our circles as the likes of Norilsk as I wondered at the start?
I can’t say for sure.
But the buzz I felt on the ground, the excitement and dedication people bring to the area to find out, and the significant results that are now starting to emerge from the various projects we have there...
It fills me with a lot of confidence.

From Botswana with love

Things are moving.
And fast.
After the proof-of-concept report we had compiled by Richard Hornsey recently, we’ve just struck a deal with Tamesis to help us bring on more investment to help take things to the next stage.
That could mean a joint venture, an earn-in or a more direct investment...
The end game is the same.
Bottom line: we’re looking to draw as much value for shareholders out of the opportunity we have at the KSZ as we can, and all these recent developments will help do exactly that.
It’s an exciting time.
But the work never stops.
Indeed, I write this to you not from my usual base down in Hampshire, but from my hotel in Gabarone, Botswana.


(Touching down in Botswana.)


That’s right, this instalment of Boots on the Ground really does live up to the name.
After arriving earlier in the week and catching up with various contacts, I met up with the Kavango team.


(Team Kavango set for business.)


We’re here for a whole host of meetings and presentations, before heading out this weekend to do some field work that I’m very excited about.
In fact, talking of excitement, as a small aside, I was very excited to get to meet a geophysics legend the other night, the great Cas Lotter.
Cas has been in the game for decades and there isn’t much he doesn’t know about what’s going on beneath the surface of the earth.
It was an absolute pleasure to get a chance to talk to him and pick his brain.
Cas is involved in a lot of exciting projects at the moment, and we spoke of how positive we both feel about where things are heading generally in the mining space right now.


(A genuine pleasure to meet Cas Lotter.)


Now it’s back to business, though…
Myself, Hilary, Brett and Tipps have all got a lot of work to do over the next few days and we are very interested to see how things are progressing out in the field.
As you can imagine, with all that’s been going on recently, and with everything we hope to learn from this trip, there’ll be a lot of news coming very soon.
But I can give you a few insights right now into what’s happening on the ground here.
Indeed, I can tell you that there is a lot of drilling going on around the Kalahari Copper Belt.
From what I’ve been seeing and hearing, this story is much bigger than I think many realise.
In fact, there are new mining pits from previous discoveries in the KCB that are being prepared for production, which is obviously a very bullish sign.
I’m keen to speak to more people and figure out just how big the scope is, but even from the conversations I’ve had already, I’ve picked up a whole host of helpful pointers for how to optimize our own drilling later this year.
That’s one of the great things about being on the ground like this. You really do get to see what’s really going on and can draw a lot from the lessons that others have learned.

It’s already been a great trip and there’s still a lot to see.
Of course, I’ll keep you updated here and elsewhere. But for now, I must get moving—exciting times ahead.
Though, before I do sign off for now, as you may have seen, we announced this week that one of our co-founders Mike Moles is retiring.
The fact of the matter is, we would simply not be where we are today without Mike’s work and everyone here at Kavango is eternally grateful to all the fine guidance he’s given.
The good news is, he’s agreed to stick around to guide us still, so though he’s stepping down in an official capacity, we’ll still have his wealth of experience on our side.
Thanks again, Mike. I know you’re as excited about Kavango’s future as I am.
And I’m sure you are too, dear reader. Things are coming together very nicely.
I’ll be in touch again with more news soon.




Good things take time—exploration is no different

You have a hunch there’s something in the ground.
You stake that land.
You do a few surveys, check there’s something there and then drill to make sure.
If there is something there, you’re sorted. If not, it’s back to the drawing board.
If only exploration was as simple as that.
And as quick.
Sadly, it’s not. Yet I think a lot of the stress and strain of being an investor (and in running an exploration company) is that we still, to some extent, think it should be as simple as that.
The truth is it takes time.
It can take a lot of time.
Take what we’re doing with Kavango.
Ever since our founders Mile Moles and Hilary Gumbo first had a hunch there was something in the ground at the KSZ in Botswana, it’s taken a long time to get to where we are today.
I know that some investors, especially those who’ve been on board from the early days, will wish we’d have got to where we are today faster, but when you take a step back and consider the sheer amount of work involved, you realise why exploration takes as long as it does.
Frankly, I’ve had to learn this myself the hard way. Living through the whole process and all the ups and downs that go along with it.
I remember when we started carrying out surveys of the KSZ (the Kalahari Sutra Zone), and we started to see some very promising formations.
I think even then, a little part of me thought (despite my better knowledge) that once we drilled, we’d be away.
But you soon realise that even surveys can be time consuming in themselves (especially when you’re using new technology and pushing the boundaries as we’ve been doing here at Kavango), you realise exploration is a patience game.
Still, once surveys are done, you’re eager to drill.
Yet, once again, there’s a misconception that the drilling will give you a clear “yes or no” answer.
But it doesn’t work like that.
By this point, the data is really starting to pile up. Things are getting complicated. There are options, choices to be made. One choice might lead you down one path, a different choice another.
All the time there’s the financials to consider, which choice you make will influence the capital you’re spending.
But you consider the data, you make a call, you drill and move to the next stage.
The next stage?
Indeed, the “yes or no” answer (that I wish there was), is just an illusion.
Drilling is one thing but testing the drill cores, figuring out what they’re telling you: that’s a whole other ball game.
Again, look at what we’ve been doing at the KSZ...
One of the key metals we’re looking for is nickel. But because of the slump in nickel a few years back, a lot of people left the market, a lot of the experts moved on, making it difficult to find them.
On top of that, when the world changed again and demand for nickel started rising as it has recently, so has demand for expertise in the area.
The upshot? Even finding the right people to test your drill results takes time.
Thankfully, we found the perfect guy in Richard Hornsey, a leading authority on the nickel sulphides, to come in an put together a proof-of-concept report for us.
But consider that report is over 300 pages alone.
It’s far from the “yes or no” answer we imagine drilling would offer.
At this stage, as CEO, and as an investor, it can feel like the whole process is against you: overloading you with data and slowing things down to a standstill.
But there is good news.

In taking the time to move through each stage in the true time that it takes, in moving from hunch, to surveying the ground, to building up a picture beneath the soil, to drilling, to testing those drill results thoroughly and properly...
It all builds up to give you a package—an opportunity—you can be truly confident in.
More than that...
By taking the time, by compiling a truly comprehensive picture of a place like the KSZ, you begin to massively reduce financial risk.
You’re now able to have confidence in the whole “system” below ground.
That’s crucial.
Because it means that even if a future drill campaign misses the mark for whatever reason, you know it’s not a fundamental problem. You know—because you’ve got confidence in the whole system—you can go again, pursue another area in the system where you’re likely to have better results.
In a hit and hope scenario, if you had not put in the time to do all the work, if you had rushed things, that wouldn’t be an option.
Once again, just take what we’re doing at the KSZ...
Without doubt, it’s taken longer than I would have hoped to get where we are now, but my word, I’m so pleased we’ve taken our time and done things properly.
Thanks to the work we’ve done, the surveys we’ve done, the drilling we’ve carried out so far, the data we’ve acquired, the reports we’ve had compiled, we are in a stronger position than we’ve ever been.
We can seek out new partners with real confidence, we can show that we’re serious about what we can do, and we can be confident, truly confident, in the prospective systems we’ve uncovered.
We can also show our investors the wait was worth it.
Of course, it takes time.
But to borrow that famous line, I do believe “good things come to those who wait.”
Sure, I know it’s easy in hindsight to say that exploration takes time.
And I know it can be seen as an easy excuse for inaction or delay.
But at the same time, I know anyone who’s been following what we’ve been doing at Kavango will know we’ve not been inactive, we’ve not delayed. Far from it.
In taking the time we have to truly prove how what we’re doing at the KSZ could be a game changer, we’ve done a lot of work. We’ve continued to move forward at all times.
Indeed, I think when you take a moment to step back like I have here and really consider the process of exploration, you realise that it’s only by taking the time that we have (and riding the ups and downs that come in doing so), that you see a company who is serious about what it’s doing.
Right now, we have a very exciting and very serious opportunity in front of us that I believe will soon attract a lot of attention.
And hopefully you can see how seriously rewarding the work we’ve carried out could be.
Yes, there’s a way to go. Yes, there is still work to be done. But I do believe that the time we’ve take to come this far will be more than worth it.

Small gains build the foundations for big ones

Have you read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear?
It’s good, and I recommend it.
I’ve been reading it recently and I’ve taken a lot away from it.
One thing that got my attention was something James Clear wrote about making small improvements and how, by doing so, over time they compound to create big ones.
I know it’s not a new idea, but it is powerful.
I’m sure you’re familiar with Einstein proclaiming that compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn't, pays it.”
But still, when I came across this section in Atomic Habits, it struck a chord with me.
I think it’s partly down to where we are right now with Kavango.
Here’s a snap from the book I found on Twitter:

You can see the idea right away.
If you aim to be just 1% better at something every day, the cumulative effect soon gives you a much greater return than the initial promise of a 1% gain might suggest.
As I say, I related to this because when I set out at CEO of Kavango, my plan was similar.
I wanted—still want— for Kavango to become a world-class minerals exploration explorer in Botswana...
I knew we wouldn’t be able to achieve it overnight. I knew that to achieve such a goal, we’d have to slowly build over time, improving, if you like, by 1% each day.
I feel like we’ve been doing that.
And right now, with all the momentum we’ve got behind us, I feel like that calm and considered approach is starting to pay off.

Applying the 1% rule to the bigger picture

I had this idea in my head for the rest of the day, and it got me thinking...
Sure, the idea struck me because it reminded me of the approach that we’ve been taking with Kavango…
Striving to make small, incremental improvements to our operation over time that could potentially accumulate into something much greater…
Whether it’s bringing in new team members...
Implementing a new training programme...
Or fine-tuning our exploration techniques to make sure we’re focusing our efforts in the most effective way we can...
They all represent incremental improvements that add up in the long run.
But then I started to wonder what would happen if you applied this idea to investment more generally.
In the exploration space, and particularly where small cap companies are concerned, let’s face it...
We’re looking for moon shots here.
We’re looking for opportunities that could potentially deliver us outsized returns.
That’s the aim. It would be silly to deny it.
But I think sometimes, in seeking those outsized gains (that are often realised in a short, sharp boom on discovery, or extremely positive news), we forget that it’s only with consistent and incremental progress that a company like Kavango can even hope to position itself to potentially deliver those much bigger returns.
Yes, it’s good to have grand ambitions...
But to achieve them, it’s worth remembering that you often have to take gradual steps.
I think it’s an interesting thought, and I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with you.
As I say, I’m feeling very positive about where we’re at with Kavango right now and with the momentum we have building, I’m excited about what the future has in store.
There’s lots of news to come and I’ll be sure to keep you up to date as ever, but in the meantime, as I say, if you’ve not checked out Atomic Habits, it’s well worth a read.


How we’re maximising our chances of making a KCB discovery

Over the last year we’ve quietly gone about our business in the Kalahari Copper Belt (“KCB”). But make no mistake, this is where we have focussed most of our operational energy.
We believe this is where we have our highest chances of success, and we are now nearing the point where we feel ready to drill.
Progress might have taken longer than we would have liked, but what matters now is where we are today and how we got here.
Since we first identified large potential target areas in our prospecting licence PL036, just over twelve months ago, the scale of our KCB opportunity has become clear.
Kavango has five exploration teams in the field. Since July 2021, four of these have been permanently hard at work in the KCB, surveying and sampling our ground in this exciting copper province.
It’s demanding, time-consuming work, but it’s vital if we are to maximise our chances of drilling success.
What’s important to remember is how much ground we have–5,348km2. That’s equivalent to the size of Norfolk.
As I explain below, the geological setting of our land package is highly prospective for copper/silver deposits, with three projects that are particularly encouraging – PL36 (which is just south of the town of Ghanzi), the smaller PL082 (which is right in the heart of the Belt) and the Mamuno licences (set right against the Namibian border, with exploration ground held by Sandfire Resources immediately to the north and Rio Tinto to the west).
In other words, we have a huge amount to go for and we are using our resources carefully.
The key to this, really, is to ensure we have as deep an understanding as possible of our priority exploration areas, and that we define our drill targets as tightly as we can. We’re shooting for the bullseye and have confidence our meticulous approach will pay off.

Position of Kavango’s prospecting licences in the Kalahari Copper Belt


Pushing forward  

It all means acquiring the high resolution we desire of our target areas in the KCB takes time and focussed effort.
Take the geological mapping programme we recently completed, for example.
First, this involved compiling all available historical maps and information about the licences and even relogging local water boreholes. Then, our teams physically walked the ground, searching for features such as outcrop and other geological indicators. Once mapped, these were then used as vectors for further exploration.
It was certainly no overnight task, but it has already proven itself invaluable.
The work mapped multiple instances of the key “Ngwako Pan-D’kar formational contact” across our licences for the first time. These are areas where the two rock formations meet, and they are closely associated with the copper-silver deposits and discoveries elsewhere in the KCB.
The contacts go a considerable way towards validating our belief that the western half of the KCB is prospective for copper but has been overlooked because of sand cover.
But the work needed to ensure our drilling is as well-informed as possible by no means stopped there.
No, to heighten our target resolution, our next step has been to launch a high-resolution soil sampling programme centred around those mapped Ngwako Pan-D’kar formational contacts.
Without getting into too much detail, each sample–of which we are taking roughly 8,000–much be collected from a small, excavated hole, sieved, and inspected by our XRF Analyser. Batches are then periodically taken for interpretation before selected samples are sent to an independent lab in South Africa for multi-element analysis.
Again, this work is helping us to sharpen our targets.
As announced this week, a closely-spaced 5,145 soil sample programme on licence PL036 has confirmed four copper targets that fit our mapped Ngwako Pan-D’kar formational contacts. Critically, three of these conform to the previously identified Acacia, Morula, and Happy target areas while the fourth sits in an entirely new target area we’ve named Kudu.

pXRF Copper readings (+15ppm) and Zinc readings (+20ppm) displayed over the geological map (left) and Google Earth (right) at PL082


From here, work remains ahead of drilling.
At PL036, we will use our latest results to reinterpret geophysical data we acquired in 2021 and complete infill soil sampling where needed to help us rank our targets. We also plan to carry out a Controlled Source Audio Magnetotelluric (“CSAMT”) survey over the target areas aimed at learning more their subsurface structures.
Meanwhile, we expect to complete ongoing soil sampling and target delineation at our other two KCB project areas by the end of August. We are particularly excited about these, given PL082 is a possible analogue for Khoemacau’s 'Banana Zone' deposit, which sits to the immediate south of Ghanzi Ridge, and the Mamuno licences lie close to the central axis of the KCB adjacent to the Namibian border.
But the bottom line is we are moving ever closer to drilling at the KCB. In fact, preliminary discussions with contractors are already underway for a planned programme later this year.
And while their arrival might be taking a longer amount of time than some had assumed, if these holes are ultimately able to lead us to one or more areas of economic copper mineralisation, then it will have been more than worth the wait.

Investigating the KSZ’s Olympic Dam potential

As readers will likely be aware, we recently released the results of a conceptual economic viability report for the iron oxide-copper-gold (“IOCG”) target we have at our Kalahari Suture Zone (“KSZ”) project.

We put a lot of thought into what this work could tell us before commissioning it. After all, most projects are drilled first and then get an economic study wrapped around them afterwards, assuming that attractive enough mineralisation is encountered.

But in the end, we came to the conclusion that the IOCG target at the KSZ merits a different, and perhaps more unconventional, approach.

The results of the study go a long way towards explaining why.

First off, the IOCG target at the KSZ is deep.

It’s true that the data sets exhibit striking similarities to the ones that were used in taking the original decision to drill the mother of all IOCGs, Olympic Dam, back in the 1970s.

But there’s also a crucial difference: the coincidence of the geophysical and the magnetic anomalies in the Great Red Spot portion of the KSZ lead us to suspect the presence of an IOCG deposit is a great deal deeper than the corresponding anomalies were at Olympic Dam.

IOCG mineralisation at Olympic Dam starts at depths of around 300 metres, whereas in our model of the KSZ, IOCG mineralisation would likely start at around 900 metres.

That’s a big difference for a small company like Kavango, especially when we’ve already got prospective nickel targets to focus on at comparatively shallower depths.

Our hope is that when we come to set our drill rigs turning once more, we can target both potential orebodies with the same set of holes.

But before we do that, we have to have a very clear idea that it really would be worth going down those extra three or four hundred metres.

Hence, we commissioned the study to examine the potential viability of an IOCG orebody at that location in Botswana, and at that depth.

Weighing up the risks and potential rewards

In creating the report, we selected various standard pricing assumptions such as US$1,600/oz gold, US$18/oz silver, US$3.50 copper/lb and US$28/lb uranium, and began to crunch the numbers from there. In choosing these prices we aimed for what we consider to be a conservative approach.

Three different scenarios that used various grades and assumed a 30-year life based on the discovery of 300mln tonnes of mineable ore delivered net present values (using a discount rate of 10%) of US$3bn, US$4.13bn and US$8.05bn for the project respectively. The lower number assumed a higher capex, and accordingly also delivered a lower internal rate of return, at 17%.

But the IRR for the project when modelled as an Olympic Dam lookalike ran up as high as 31% on that US$8.05bn NPV number.

And that is a big deal for a company the size of Kavango.

At this stage all these figures are conceptual only; there is no guarantee yet, for example, of what grade, if any, we might hit. However, the answer to the question as to whether the IOCG target is worth drilling looks like an emphatic yes for the time being.

But before we can say that with certainty, there is more work to be done.

We need to see if we can indeed drill both the nickel target and the IOCG as part of the same programme, we need to work out exactly how big we’d want the programme to be, and we need to work out how much it would cost.

Given the potential rewards on offer, the temptation might be to get back down there on the ground with the drills and get going as fast as possible. But geophysics-led exploration is a pain-staking business. We’d rather take our time and get it right.

For now, we know that the conceptual target is well worth it, and we are moving forward with renewed confidence.

Breaking new ground in the Kalahari Copper Belt

Things are shaping up well at our Kalahari Copper Belt, or “KCB”, project in Botswana as the results of an extensive soil sampling and mapping campaign begin to come in.

And now that we have agreed to increase Kavango’s stake in the asset to 100%, we’re excited to continue pushing forward with exposure to as much of the potential upside on offer as possible.

The purpose of our ongoing work at the KCB is to identify drill targets for us to get to work on across our 287,100-hectare land package later in the year.

But in the meantime, the geology of our licence area is also beginning to make itself known to us and provide real grounds for encouragement.

As of 14 June, 3,478 of 8,000 planned soil samples had been collected. And these have already played a key role in establishing the location of several contacts between the well-known Ngwako Pan and D’Kar geological formations on our staked land. We’ve obviously made a lot more progress since.

The contact areas between the shallower D’Kar lithologies and the deeper Ngwako Pan sediments are closely associated with several copper-silver deposits and discoveries located in the wider Kalahari Copper Belt.

Importantly, these structures are known to stretch for thousands of kilometres across northern Botswana and into Namibia.

This is part of the reason why we have such a huge KCB landholding. After all, companies like Khoemacau Copper Mining (which has made much of the running in the Botswana copper scene over the past couple of years) are already breaking significant ground by taking a similar approach in the region.

Map showing KCB extension from Botswana to Namibia with Kavango/Kanye licences highlighted

Companies in the region have been able to identify economic grades of mineralisation close to zones where shearing, folding, and tensional failure has taken place between rock layers. In particular, Khoemacau has identified significant copper and silver deposits at the contact of Ngwako Pan and D’Kar, but primarily on the D’Kar side. So, the confirmation of the presence of Ngwako-Pan-D’Kar formational contacts on our ground is an important step towards validating our hypothesis as to the prospectivity of the western half of the KCB.

Major project upside

Establishing the KCB’s prospectivity had previously been difficult to confirm, due to the extensive sand cover that characterises the region. But we’ve taken a step forward in this regard with the deployment of the Tromino seismic technology, which we are using to map overburden and subsoil layers.

The Tromino has helped in designing appropriate soil geochemistry sampling techniques across various areas with different overburden thicknesses, and helps with subsurface mapping.  That information can now be combined with electromagnetic data gathered from airborne surveys that we’ve previously undertaken.

Tromino Orientation Survey Line 1, showing interpreted near-surface sediments 


 A Tromino surveying unit

It all means we can go into our preliminary discussions with drilling contractors with a fair degree of confidence.

The idea is to send the drill bit down to investigate in detail structural features in the vicinity of and above Ngwako Pan-D'kar formation contacts, and to see what comes back. And following our recent deal with Power Metal Resources to consolidate ownership of the KCB into a simpler structure, 100% of the upside now lies with Kavango shareholders. What’s more, with an independent report recently valuing our KCB land package at $6.02 million, the value of this upside could be highly significant. Especially when compared to our current market capitalisation.

All-in-all, the drill campaign at the KCB looks set to be an exciting one to watch, and we look forward to updating you all as to progress later in the year. If we can build on the momentum we have already established at the project, then our 100% ownership could prove to be a game-changer.

Your questions about Kavango answered

I recently asked you to get in touch to let me know the biggest question you had about what we’re up to at Kavango right now.
As I said when I started this newsletter, as much as possible I want this to be a two-way street.
So, if you ever have any specific issues you’d like me to explore, don’t hesitate to hit reply to this email and get in touch.
I had a great response to my last email, and I’d like to thank everyone who wrote in.
Today, I wanted to run through a handful of the questions I received and offer some further insight into what we’re doing—and where we’re heading—here at Kavango.
Indeed, the first question comes from Graham.
He asks:
“How far ahead does our current funding take us?
This is never an easy question to answer, as a number of variables come into play.
Put simply: it depends what we end up doing, and that, in turn, depends on the results we get in from our various work programmes.
That being said, our current programmes are fully funded out into next year, and if market conditions move the right way, money from warrants could also give us a considerable boost.
If we do get additional money, the decision would then have to be taken as to whether we expand and accelerate existing activities, or budget out further into the future.
Another consideration is that, with the breadth and strength of our portfolio, there is always the possibility that a funding partner might want to come in on one of our assets.
If that was to occur, then obviously new budgets would have to be drawn up.
Meanwhile, Shaun asks:
“What is the share price going to be if you make a discovery?”

It’s not proper for a company or any of its directors to speculate on where its share price might go.
So, I won’t.
But what I can talk about is volume. Experienced investors know that volume in any stock is key. It is something I watch closely with Kavango. Although our share price is down considerably over recent months, this has not been reflected by a similar increase in volume. This tells me that when conditions improve and if we can deliver in the field, then we should be well positioned for a strong recovery.
If the KSZ delivers up the types of mineralisation that we are hoping for, it could be transformational.
The discovery of a Norilsk-style deposit, or potentially an iron-oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) project lower down, would represent an enormous value-add and would undoubtedly be recognised as such by the mining industry and the wider market.
The effects of a discovery at the KCB might not be quite so substantial, but they would still be very significant.
Meanwhile we also have the Ditau drill results we are waiting on, in particular that 28m “Zone of Interest” from Hole DITDD004.
We’ll keep working to hopefully realise some of opportunities.

A very specific, but interesting question here from Marcus.
He asks:
“When do you expect to get the drill bit turning at the KCB?”
This something I’m particularly excited about, especially now we have announced the deal with Power Metal to buy them out of the Kanye JV.
Plans are ongoing to initiate drilling on the Kalahari Copper Belt and, at the moment, it looks as though the drill bit will start turning towards the end of the third quarter.
Preparatory work is already well underway…
Soil sampling is nearing completion…
And we expect to put out a further update on our progress and our plans for drilling at the KCB shortly. The mapping we have done in the first half has been extremely successful, where we’ve confirmed the Ngwako Pan-D’kar formational contact. This could prove to be an extremely important lead for us, in our hunt for copper/silver deposits.
Keep an eye out for that.
Meanwhile, Susan asks:
“How do you think current market sentiment will affect Kavango?”
Well, there’s no doubt that market conditions are tough right now.
Metals prices have been under pressure against a strengthening dollar and expectations of a slowing in the global economy generally.
Against that, there has been some respite from the lifting of the more onerous covid restrictions in China.
But two factors above all have been affecting sentiment in my view: inflation, and the war in Ukraine.
Inflation will take a while to get under control, but the war in Ukraine might end rapidly, given the right political will.
Meanwhile, investors remain cautious about allocating their funds into more risky sectors.
But that’s what dynamic companies like Kavango must always live with. At the end of the day, sentiment doesn’t create value, but the drill bit does.
So, regardless of what the market is doing, we get on out there and continue to make things happen on the ground.
And there we have it for this ‘mailbag’ issue. I hope you found that useful and thanks again to everyone who sent in a question.
I’ll be sure to do more mailbag issues like this in the future, so feel free to keep sending your questions in and I’ll save them up to answer together in a future instalment.
In the meantime, I’ll be back in touch soon with another edition of Boots on the Ground.

Our progress at Ditau

The ironic thing about rare earths is they’re not actually that rare.

Not, at least, in terms of their abundance in the earth’s crust in general.

However, the key dynamic in the rare earths market right now isn’t how much there is overall, but instead where these 15 elements are based.

And the salient fact is, China currently dominates the rare earths market in a way that’s virtually unique.

Rough estimates suggest that the nation controls between 55% and 70% of the world’s rare earth supply in terms of production, and that it has an even tighter grip on processing capability.

So, if you’re in the market for rare earths right now, then China has got to be a huge factor.

However, this of course presents a significant problem to Western governments, many of whom are now establishing and/or solidifying domestic commodity supply chains as a major priority.

Indeed, China-Western relations have undeniably been turbulent in recent years, and in the wars of words and tariffs that have flown between various trading blocs, rare earths often get a mention.

The obvious question, then, is whether China would ever restrict the supply of rare earths into the West?

It hasn’t done so yet.

But it certainly has threatened to do so. And that’s been enough not only to give prices a significant floor, but also to sound alarm bells in the various European and American government departments tasked with keeping the international economy going.


Because rare earths are absolutely crucial in high tech manufacturing.

Neodymium is used in the magnets that are found in loudspeakers, and in computer hard drives; praseodymium is used in aircraft engines and in the manufacture of specialised glass; yttrium, terbium and Europium are used in the manufacture of electronic screens, and Europium is also used in the nuclear industry; lanthanum and cerium are used in the refining of crude oil; and neodymium, dysprosium, and occasionally terbium are used in the magnets that go into electric vehicle batteries and wind turbines.


Making progress at Ditau

Rare earths, in short, form a commodity group that is essential to any forward-looking modern economy.

And to many policy-makers, diversifying the source of these metals beyond China is becoming essential to mitigating supply chain risk.

That’s why rare earth projects around the world are increasingly gaining the interest and support of local governments.

Security of supply has re-emerged as a major factor in strategic economic analysis for the first time in several decades, and companies that hold rare earths projects are increasingly likely to find favour with regulators and governments alike.

What’s more, investors are waking up to their potential too.

Still, rare earths remain difficult commodities to focus on, precisely because China’s control over the price remains so strong.

And that’s why companies like us at Kavango hold rare earth projects in conjunction with other major assets.

Indeed, when pricing is weak, rare earths projects can take a back seat. But when, as is increasingly likely, supply gets constrained, companies with projects already on the go can accelerate them for rapid development.

In this regard, the Ditau project we operate and own along Power Metal Resources in Botswana is a perfect example.

Ditau was first identified as prospective in the 1970s, and is now the subject of renewed attention under our joint venture.

Our previous exploration identified 12 geophysical structures at Ditau, of which nine have clear indications of being “ring structures” with the potential to host carbonatite and other intrusive rocks.

Carbonatites, in turn, are the principal source of rare earth elements globally.

We are right now completing a drill programme over three of the most exciting of these targets:

  • “i10”, a discrete circular anomaly of 2.2km diameter
  • “i8”, a slightly larger ring like target of about 4km diameter
  • “i1”, which may represent a possible large 7km x 18.5km magmatic intrusive complex, within which are circular structures indicative of potential carbonatite intrusive

We will continue to release results as we get them But the bottom line is, there’s a lot to play for here in Ditau.


What’s on the cards for Kavango as we head into H2 2022?

It’s been a busy start to 2022 for Kavango, and we don’t plan on letting up the pace of activity at all as we move into the second half of the year.

In fact, we are carrying out work across several fronts in Botswana right now–including programmes at our Kalahari Suture Zone (“KSZ”), Kalahari Copper Belt (“KCB”), and Ditau projects.

So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the last six months and examine what is likely to be on the horizon between now and Christmas.

Our first major development this year came in February, when we delivered drilling results from the KSZ.

This work, which began at the tail end of 2021, was designed to hone in on Norilsk-like massive sulphide targets at depths of around 500m–an ambitious undertaking for a company of our size.

The data we retrieved was able to take our understanding of the KSZ to an unprecedented level. So, to reflect this, we are right now working on a Version 2.0 of our underground model for the project, including our latest insights into how we now think the geology works there.

Moreover, this round of drilling at the KSZ was also responsible for another exciting development.

Indeed, the lessons we learned from the data we retrieved re-opened a historically-raised theory that the KSZ might also host large-scale iron-oxide-copper-gold mineralisation similar to that at the world-renowned Olympic Dam project in Australia.

With our model suggesting that this mineralisation could lie underneath our primary zone of interest at around 1,000m, it’s another ambitious target for a junior explorer like ourselves. However, we are confident that we have the equipment and expert team necessary to push forward and investigate further.

On this note, one advantage across our entire portfolio that has become particularly evident this year is our access to state-of-the-art technology known as audio-magnetotelluric (“AMT”) surveying. For better or worse, the mining companies that preceded us two or three decades ago never had this their disposal.

So, why is it so useful?

Well, since first being pioneered in the field by nickel giant INCO back in 1991, AMT has emerged as an electromagnetic surveying technique that is invaluable when defining drill targets. And as such, we expect to continue using the technology to define areas of interest both at the KSZ and also across other areas of our portfolio.

What should you be looking out for?

This brings us neatly to Kavango’s second major undertaking so far this year: drilling at Ditau.

At the time of writing, much of the core we have drilled is still awaiting assay results. However, the early signs are already promising.

The ideal result would be rare-earth enriched core that could be used to open up a wider area of mineralisation, but we will have to see whether that plays out or not.

So, as the rest of 2022 rolls on, Ditau drill core is one thing to look out for.

But what else is on the cards?

At the KSZ, the plan is to go into our “target acquisition phase.”  This will involve combining data acquired from several different sources, including the upcoming results from a TDEM survey on an area of the KSZ known as the B1 Conductor.

The results of the ongoing AMT work will also be factored in, and once new targets have been decided upon, a full operational field plan will be put into place.

Separately, we are also looking to focus more than it has done hitherto on the southern portion of the KSZ to see if we can open up additional upside.

Meanwhile, over at the Kalahari Copper Belt project, a reverse circulation drill programme is set to get underway following a significant soil sampling effort.

Finally, while all that’s going on, an ongoing assessment of the recent drilling at Ditau will be taking place, and the likelihood is that the immediate follow-up will involve AMT, gravity surveys, and possibly some TDEM work too.

All-in-all, after an exciting start the year, the next six months stand to be very important for Kavango. As we continue to push forward, we look forward greatly to keeping our investors as updated as we can.

Meet the team: Brett Grist, Kavango’s chief operating officer

As Kavango’s work on the ground in Botswana continues to gather pace, we caught up with our chief operating officer, Brett Grist, to learn more about the experiences that shaped his career and led him to the position he fills today….

“I got into geology and mining from growing up in south-west England,” says Brett, a geologist with an impressive track record of working for exploration companies in Africa, the Middle East, Australia and the UK prior to joining us at Kavango.

For Brett, it all began back in one of England’s most prolific mining areas when he was a child.

“In north Dartmoor, there are a number of old workings around,” he says. “I used to spend my weekends running around those old mines.”

The interest became serious enough to take him to the Royal School of Mines in London, where he began to get an appreciation, he says, of what really makes a mining project work.

After university his next step was to go to Australia, where he worked on gold projects in some of the most famous districts based in the west of the country.

My first job as a fresh-faced Pom in Australia was working on a rig in Coolgardie,” he says.

It was an old project, which allowed him to take what he calls “an archaeological interest” in the various stages that mines go through. What’s more, the company he worked for also had two operating mines, which allowed him to learn his way around a producing operation.

Once his Australian visa ran out, Brett returned to Europe, joined the well-known mining consultancy ACA Howe, and spent some time working on gold projects in Portugal.

But Africa was beckoning.


A passion for exploration in Africa

I’d always wanted to go to Africa,” says Brett, and his chance finally came when an opportunity arose at Reunion Mining, a company that was eventually swallowed up by Anglo American.

First off, he worked for Reunion on gold exploration in Mali. Then, he jumped over to Ghana, to work up the Chirano project.

“Chirano was still in its early stages back then,” he reminisces, pointing to the fact that it subsequently got sold to Redback of Australia, and then on again to Kinross, where it was something of a centerpiece.

But as Chirano was changing hands, Brett decided to rejoin some of his peers from Reunion, who went on to form ZincOx.

ZincOx was a prominent constituent of London’s Alternative Investment Market for many years, most of which Brett spent working on its assets in Yemen. It was on the ground in Yemen that he really picked up the feel for community relations that he’s now beginning to bring to bear on behalf of us at Kavango in Botswana.

For as long as Yemen was stable it worked well for ZincOx. Brett was able to guide the project there through to the feasibility stage, negotiating with the government along the way, and engaging with ambassadors and the International Finance Corporation. And all the while he kept the community on side too, through open dialogue and measures such as ensuring effective training and employment were provided.

Eventually though, following the Arab Spring, the security situation became unstable, and it was time to leave.

Brett went back to Africa, where as CEO he got to lead work on Casa Mining’s Misisi gold project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I joined that project at early-stage exploration and grew it into a 1.2-million-ounce resource,” he says. “Again, it was a very challenging environment. But the key to working successfully in situations like that is: don’t promise what you can’t deliver.”

After four years of working in the DRC, it was time to spend a bit of time at home, so Brett joined the Strategic Minerals subsidiary Cornwall Resources in its quest for tin, tungsten and copper in the south-west of England.

“We showed people you can advance an exploration discovery in the modern day in England,” he says. That’s a fine achievement in itself, and although it seems clear now, it wasn’t at all obvious just a few short years ago.

“Deep down, though,” continues Brett, “I wanted to go back to Africa.”

Brett was already acquainted with Kavango through connections related to Reunion and ZincOx. So, when the opportunity arose to join the company, he jumped at the chance.

Several things mitigated in our favour, he says.

First, Botswana is about as good a mining destination in Africa as it’s possible to get.

Second, the exploration opportunities on offer are highly prospective.

Third, the Kavango team combined youth and experience, energy and wisdom. The team on the ground, he says, is particularly strong.

He joined in February 2022, and we’re happy to say that it’s been all go ever since.