Exploration firm Sable Mining Africa has secured a mining licence for the Nimba iron ore project in Guinea.

The mining licence, which was issued to the company’s 80%-owned subsidiary West African Exploration, was signed by Guinea President Alpha Conde.

The licence covers a 23km² area covering portions of the total 123.5km² Nimba project.

Sable expects that its Nimba project in southeast Guinea contains about 135-million metric tonnes of the steel-making ingredient.

The company said a recent drilling programme over the mining licence area, focused on a 200m by 3.9km extension area, indicated significant high-grade DSO mineralisation, including an intersection measuring 36m at 62% iron.

Apart from high grade DSO tonnages close to surface, metallurgical results from Nimba have indicated that production should benefit from a simple crush and screen process.

The high lump fraction should allow production to start with a dry plant, with no beneficiation required, which should considerably reduce the upfront capital expenditure requirements.

Sable Mining CEO Andrew Groves said the granting of the licence will allow the company to start development of the high tonnage, high DSO grade and low capex iron ore asset.

"We will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities to ensure the timely issuance of our export decree whilst remaining focussed on the resource upgrade, rail allocation and pre-feasibility study publication, which are all expected by the end of 2013," Groves said.