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PAN AFRICAN TAMBAO DEPOSIT (20Mt @ 52%Mn) | Burkina-emine
Annual Archive


15 November 2013


Location and Access

Tambao Manganese deposit is located in the Oudalan Province in far northeastern Burkina Faso, close to border with Niger. Unserved by roads or other infrastructure, the Tambao reserves are some 210 km north of Kaya town and 350 km northeast of the capital city Ouagadougou (340 km bird fly’s of Ouagadougou).

This deposit has been estimated, to be one of the largest Manganese deposit in the world. Its development, is a major priority of the Burkinabe state, and it has been an on and off project since the 1990s. There is total lack of operations infrastructure (power, water, construction or employment base) and lack of an all-weather roadway capable of supporting the transport fleet needed to move ore the 210 km to Kaya, the nearest city connected to the Burkinabe railway network.


 The Tambao manganese deposit in Burkina Faso is the main indications of manganese meet in the Birimian. The deposit in fact occurs in the Birimian age greenstone belt of Oudalan – Gorouol. Several deposits and deposit styles occur in this Oudalan-Gorouol greenstone belt including Manganese mineralization at Tambao, gold mineralization at Essakane, Gossey, Korizena and Falagountou…

The Tambao manganiferous rocks belong to a small metamorphic unit of volcano-sedimentary origin, isolated in the middle of granitic rocks. The manganese hills profile shows, from West to East, the following sequence:

–          Amphibolite

–          Schistes and tuffs with intercalated levels of quartzite,  manganese layers and a layer of basic  lavas

–          gneiss.

The dip is 60 ° on average (45 ° to 75 °) toward  the East and the manganiferous layers , are oxidized on surface, and passes at depth to carbonates, and incidentally to a gondites.


Morphologically manganiferous rocks form hills, elongated NW – SE, emerging from the sandy flat land.

–          the main Hill to the North, 1550 m long and 350 m wide, dominates the surrounding flat land at 77 m height.

–          the second Hill to the South long d 850 m and wide by 200 m dominates the surrounding flat land at 44 m height.

The deposit includes a supergene enriched carbonate zone at depth.  Manganiferous birrimian units are derived from tuffs or silica-carbonate chemical sediments associated with the metabasites levels that belong to the series of type «gondite ››. The economic grades of ores levels are limited to supergene alteration facies of the gondites lenses which initially have a more or less significant proportion of oxides or primary carbonate.


The Tambao deposit consists of a manganese oxide ore estimated at 20 million tonnes at agrade of  %52 to %53 Manganese, making it one of the cryptomelane-richest ore resources in the world.


Economic interest of the deposit

All the oxidized deposit can be exploited to open pit.  Metallurgical ore processing will be done by simple particle size classification for 3/4 of the deposit, and by settling and screening for the remaining 1/4 (parts soiled by the kaolinite material, less rich, scree) the separation of chemical ore (containing more than 80% Mn02) from the fines will be by settling or attrition, followed by pneumatic or gravimetric magnetic treatment. Feasibility studies thus suggest the construction of a very simple enrichment plant. The ore transportation will be provided by Tambao to Abidjan railway line.

Project Development

The grant of the mining rights to the manganese deposit, which is located in the Sahel region of the north of Burkina Faso, is part of a wider infrastructure development project for the North of the country.

The integrated Tambao project will be developed in two phases. In the first phase, Pan African Minerals (PAM) will export 1 million tonnes of manganese ore per annum and will refurbish the existing rail line between Ouagadougou and Kaya, while building a dedicated mineral haul road of approximately 90 kms to deliver the ore to the Kaya rail head.

In the second phase, PAM will export a minimum of 2 million tonnes of ore and will extend the rail line from Kaya to Tambao to enable an all-rail export corridor from Tambao to Abidjan.


15 November 2013

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