Ivanhoe Mines continues to report exceptional drill intercepts and to expand the extent of mineralization at its high-grade Kakula copper discovery 10 km south of its joint-venture Kamoa project in the southern Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a result of the ongoing success of drilling Kakula and the extension along trend of the well-mineralized, chalcocite-rich core, Ivanhoe has expanded the program by an additional 9,000 m to a total of 34,000 m of exploration drilling. The Kamoa technical team is also preparing tender documents for construction of a box cut to accommodate decline ramps to access the Kakula deposit.
The primary objective of current drilling at Kakula is to confirm and expand a thick, flat-lying, bottom-loaded zone of very high-grade, stratabound copper mineralization that has the potential to be amenable to bulk, mechanized mining and to have a significant, positive impact on the Kamoa project’s future development plans.
The latest drill results include several intercepts of greater than 7 m at grades of more than 7% copper. Step-out holes have extended the high-grade core area of the deposit to at least 2 km in length. Ivanhoe expects to have an initial, independent mineral resource estimate prepared for the Kakula discovery by around the end of third quarter of 2016.
At the Kamoa project, underground mine development to access the initial planned mining area is progressing ahead of plan and within budgeted costs. Twin declines, incorporating both a service and a conveyor tunnel, each have advanced more than 130 m since the first excavation blast in May. Mine development is designed to reach the high-grade copper mineralization at the Kansoko Sud deposit during the first quarter of 2017.
Saracen Mineral Holdings has tripled its exploration budget to A$42 million for its current financial year, beginning July 1, as part of a strategy to grow inventory and production at its Carosue Dam and Thunderbox operations in Western Australia. The prospectivity of Saracen’s assets is underlined by recent extensional drilling results from the rapidly growing Karari mine and potential new discoveries at the Red October mine at Carosue Dam and the high-grade King of the Hills project at Thunderbox. All deposits remain open along strike and at depth.
Early drill results from the A$42 million program suggest significant potential to increase Saracen’s annual production beyond the levels in its current five-year production outlook. Saracen Managing Director Raleigh Finlayson said the company has every reason to be confident about the exploration upside of its assets. “Based on what we have seen so far, we believe this aggressive exploration campaign has the potential to increase our inventory and production in the coming quarters. The proposed A$42 million exploration budget in FY17 will be the highest exploration commitment Saracen has made in its 10-year history.”
Saracen’s gold production is on track to increase to a rate of 300,000 oz/y beginning in the fourth quarter of its current financial year.
Pure Gold Mining continued to report positive results from an ongoing, 51,000-m drill program at its 100% owned Madsen gold project in the Red Lake district of Ontario. The program is utilizing four rigs and is designed to discover new resources and build continuity of high-grade gold in close proximity to existing permitted mining infrastructure.
Drilling has confirmed the presence of gold mineralization in multiple target settings within the footprint of a recently completed preliminary economic assessment (PEA), as well as gold-bearing intercepts outside of the mining shapes used to define potential production for the PEA.
Additionally, drilling has demonstrated that the historic Madsen mine’s McVeigh horizon is open for expansion and extends well below shallow historic workings. The current drill program is testing the potential for gold mineralization at depth within the McVeigh horizon and as of early August had intercepted high-grade gold at a depth of approximately 300 m below surface.
The Madsen project currently has an indicated resource of 928,000 oz of gold at 8.93 g/mt gold in 3.24 million mt and an inferred resource of 297,000 oz of gold at 11.74 g/mt gold in 790,000 mt.
The historic Madsen mine operated for more than 36 years, producing 2.5 million oz at an average grade of 9.9 g/mt gold. Pure Gold’s current project hosts a permitted mill and tailings facility and access to power, water, and labor.
Columbus Gold has been granted two exclusive exploration permits covering a total surface area of 54.8 km2 on strike of the east and west extensions of its Montagne d’Or gold deposit in French Guiana.
The Montagne d’Or deposit hosts pit-confined indicated mineral resources of 83.2 million mt grading 1.45 g/mt gold (3.9 million oz) and inferred mineral resources of 22.4 million mt grading 1.55 g/mt gold (1.1 million oz). The resources have been drilled to within 250 m of the western boundary of the concession hosting the deposit and to within 600 m of the eastern boundary. The newly granted exploration permits provide Columbus with undrilled potential where gold-soil anomalies extend for up to 2 km to the west and 2.7 km to the east of the deposit. Only two holes have ever been drilled within the areas covered by the new exploration permits, including one hole drilled 750 m east of the deposit that intercepted 31.94 g/mt gold over 3.5 m.
Columbus has implemented a first-phase exploration program on the new permits. The program includes prospecting and in-fill soil sampling west of the deposit. The sampling is being undertaken with an auger to collect saprolite material. Induced polarization geophysical surveying is being considered for a second-phase program to enhance drilling targets.
Nord Gold is funding a feasibility study as part of a minimum $30 million exploration and development program pursuant to which it can earn a 50.01%, for a total of 55.01%, interest in Montagne d’Or.
Nevsun Resources’ 60% owned subsidiary, Bisha Mining Share Co. (BMSC), which operates the Bisha zinc-copper mine in Eritrea, has increased the total area of its exploration licenses from 41 km2 to 814 km2. The licenses are divided into two distinct areas, the Tabakin license and the New Mogoraib license.
The Tabakin license covers 184 km2 between BMSC’s Bisha and Harena mining licenses. Given the prospectivity of the area and its proximity to existing operations, BMSC will be permitted to hold the land for 10 years before any partial relinquishments. A number of untested geophysical and geochemical anomalies are present on the property, and evaluation will begin immediately.
The New Mogoraib license covers 630 km2 and will be subject to Eritrea’s existing relinquishment regime for exploration licenses—three years of no relinquishment followed by two one-year renewals, with a 25% annual area reduction beginning after year three. This relinquishment regime will provide BMSC with sufficient time to fully test the area’s exploration potential using airborne geophysical surveys followed by systematic ground and borehole geophysics. BMSC management has already identified one high-priority target where drilling will begin during the second half of 2016.
OZ Minerals has teamed up with Mithril Resources to explore seven new exploration license areas in southwest South Australia, near the state’s border with Western Australia. “The area that OZ Minerals will be exploring with Mithril is real frontier country,” OZ Minerals CEO and Managing Director Andrew Cole commented. “It is exciting greenfields exploration in rocks that are comparable to those just across the border that are known to host major mineral deposits.
“This new wave of exploration aligns with the state government’s Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE 2020), which is aimed at unlocking South Australia’s plentiful natural resources.”
The PACE initiative has collected and released a comprehensive geoscientific data set over the Coompana Province that hosts the license areas, including high-resolution aeromagnetic, seismic survey and magnetotelluric data. Mithril will undertake an initial target generation exercise, with a view to identifying potential drill targets. OZ Minerals will invest $250,000 as part of this stage-one targeting.
If Mithril identifies potential drill targets and the outcome of the exercise is acceptable to both parties, negotiations will advance toward formation of a formal joint venture to undertake further exploration. Initial drill testing could begin in the first half of 2017.
Detour Gold has reported very positive results from the 2016 winter drilling program at its Lower Detour property, 6 km south of its flagship Detour Lake gold mine in northeast Ontario. During the winter program, the company completed 36,830 m of infill drilling in 119 holes at a 25-m drill spacing above 250 m and at a 50-m spacing below 250 m. The second phase of the infill drilling program totaling approximately 25,000 m resumed in July.
The 2016 winter program produced numerous significant, high-grade intercepts grading more than 20 g/mt gold across intercept lengths in the range of 5 to 24 m. Among these was an intercept grading 34.98 g/mt gold across 23.2 m, including 95.58 g/mt across 8.0 m.
The gold mineralized system has been intersected over an east-west strike length of 450 m from surface to a depth of 800 m. The system remains open at depth.
Geological interpretation of the main mineralized envelope indicates good grade continuity for the upper 250 m. Surface and underground infrastructure scoping work has started for the development of an underground exploration program. Detour Gold anticipates that the design, timeline, and cost estimate for the program will be completed in the fourth quarter.
Metallurgical testing is progressing in parallel with ongoing drilling to confirm the amenability of the mineralized material to be processed at the existing Detour Lake plant.
Lower Detour gold mineralization is mainly found within an altered feldspar porphyry intrusive characterized by brittle deformation, containing quartz and/or quartz-tourmaline veins with up to 5% pyrite and multiple occurrences of visible gold. The thickness can exceed 100 m, although individual mineralized lenses are typically up to 30 m in width.
GoldQuest Mining has contracted Energold Drilling to conduct a 10,000-m diamond drilling program at its 100% owned Tireo property in the Dominican Republic. The program is targeting newly recognized zones of potential mineralization following a recently completed ground induced polarization (IP) survey. Drilling began in early August. The program is being carried out by two drill rigs and will include about 40 holes.
A 15-km-long section of the Tireo Belt between GoldQuest’s Romero gold-copper deposits and Precipitate Gold’s Ginger Ridge discovery has never been drilled. The main deposit at the multi-million ounce Romero project does not outcrop to surface and was discovered in 2012 by IP surveying.
GoldQuest Executive Chairman Bill Fisher commented, “We are excited by the potential of these exploration targets. Many of these IP targets are similar to the anomalies that became the multi-million ounce Romero project deposits. Anomalous gold values at surface of up to 167 g/mt gold will also be tested.”
A pre-feasibility study of the Romero project was on target for completion in September.