First Gear Exploration (First Gear), a 50% + 1 share-owned subsidiary of Kropz, is currently undertaking exploration work to confirm the company’s belief that the phosphate-bearing horizons of the Hahotoé-Kpogamé-Kpémé (HKK) deposit in Togo extend into neighbouring Ghana.

The Aflao Project (Aflao) area currently under review by First Gear is located in the Ketu South District of Ghana’s Volta Region, and is referred to as the Keta Basin. Exploration undertaken in the 1960s by the Geological Survey of Ghana (GSG) indicated the presence of calcareous phosphate-bearing horizons.

Phosphates have been mined since 1961 in the Keta basin in the southern parts of Togo by the state-owned company, Société Nouvelle des Phosphates du Togo (SNPT), near the capital city, Lomé.

Following the start of mining it was considered that these deposits may extend westwards into Ghana and this was confirmed by preliminary investigations undertaken by the GSG in the 1960s.

GSG sampled phosphate-bearing calcareous horizons intersected in a series of water wells drilled in the Keta Basin, near the town of Aflao, Ketu South District. The assay results obtained were considered to be low at the time, with intersections ranging from 5m to 11m in thickness and with assays ranging from 14% to 22% P2O5. These results were not followed up.

First Gear completed a Mobile Metal Ion (MMI) geochemistry study in the target area and determined that phosphate and other indicator element anomalies are present. The anomalies detected were similar in nature to those observed in a trial run undertaken in Togo where units of the known HKK deposit occur.

First Gear intends undertaking a detailed exploration programme to delineate a phosphate resource to support a beneficiation plant and associated infrastructure.

The SNPT Kpeme mine (photo above) in Togo is the single major producer in the country with production capacity estimated at 2Mtpa, averaging between 700,000 tonnes and 1.2Mtpa in the last five years.

The deposit produces a phosphate rock concentrate high in P2O5 with beneficiated product grade of typically 36% P2O5, which places it at the high end of the commonly traded phosphate rock scale.