Aquila Resources has reported an initial JORC-compliant estimated inferred re-
source of 21.9 million mt grading 63.2% iron for the Meletse iron ore project in Limpopo province of South Africa. Aquila holds a 74% interest in the project. Its South African partner holds 26%. The project is located 30 km east of the town of Thabazimbi and 230 km north of Johannesburg, in a traditional mining area where Kumba Iron Ore has been operating for many years.

An extensive reverse circulation drilling program on the Meletse deposit evaluated six lenses of high-grade hematite suitable for open-pit mining of direct shipping ore. Aquila anticipates 60% this resource can be produced as high-grade lump ore. Aquila will now undertake studies to consider development of a 2-million- to 3-million-mt/y open-pit operation to supply high-grade lumpy and fine iron ore to a rail head near Thabazimbi.

Aquila is also evaluating several other targets in the Thabazimbi area, where the company holds some 585 km2 of prospecting rights. (

Grayd Resource Corp. reported in mid-April it is increasing its first-half 2010 drilling program at its La India gold project in Sonora, Mexico, to 15,000 m from an initially planned 6,000 m. The decision to expand the drill program resulted from successful exploration outside the current resource zones on project’s 260-km2 land package. The company is encouraged by near-surface gold mineralization that has been intersected on the La India zone discovery located between the project’s Main and North zone resources and by large zones of intense alteration and anomalous gold within intrusive rocks underlying this higher-grade mineralization, which indicate a large mineralizing system.

Consequently, a number of additional drill holes are planned over the 800 x 600-m target area. At the Tubos target, 2 km east of the Main zone resource, Grayd is completing the first holes in a 1.2 x 1-km area that has similar geology to the Main zone area and that has produced a number of 0.3-g/mt to 1.6-g/mt gold surface samples. A third target, Tarachi located 6 km north of the North Zone resource, will also be drilled. (

Azumah Resources has announced a 45% boost in resources at its 100%-owned Wa gold project in northwest Ghana to more than 1.1 million oz of contained gold, based on inclusion of an initial 350,100-oz mineral resource estimate for the project’s Julie prospect. The Julie prospect has been estimated to a vertical depth of only 80 m and remains open in all directions.

Azumah is developing a feasibility study for the Wa project that assumes initial production of 1 million mt/y of ore and 70,000 oz/y of gold, but with potential to grow to more than 100,000 oz/y of gold. Consultants are on site conducting surveys for the scoping phase of the environmental and social impact study. Construction is provisionally scheduled for completion in late 2011. (

Mariana Resources and Cliffs Natural Resources Exploration signed a letter of intent (LoI) to form an exploration joint venture to focus on Mariana properties in Chile and Argentina. The 92,000-km2 SCM Mariana area in north-central Chile includes the prospective Buenaventura and Perro Chico iron oxide-copper-gold (IOGC) projects located on the Atacama fault zone. These projects will be the initial focus of the joint venture.

Under the terms of the LoI, Cliffs may acquire a 51% interest in Soc. Contractual Minera Mariana (SCM Mariana), a Mariana subsidiary to be formed expressly for the joint venture, by funding a $2-million exploration program and an additional 19% by spending a further $1 million. Additionally, SCM Mariana will explore for IOCG targets in a 900-km-long zone that extends from latitude 22º S (Tocopilla) to 30º S (La Serena).

Cortona Resources has reported further drilling results from its 100%-owned Dargues Reef gold project in New South Wales, Australia that highlight the discovery of a bonanza lode that remains open along strike and at depth. Drill intersections in one hole include 5.7 m grading 97.1 g/mt gold, including 3.8 m grading 143.6 g/mt; 2.8 m grading 39.1 g/mt; and 5.5 m grading 14.4 g/mt. This exceptionally high-grade zone has the potential to increase the project’s indicated and inferred JORC resource, which currently stands at 1.44 million mt grading 6.2 g/mt and containing 286,000 oz of gold.

Cortona has five drill rigs on site at Dargues Reef. Approximately 30 holes were completed as part of its Phase 1 exploration drilling program, and Phase 2 drilling is under way, targeting depth extensions to the current resource and scheduled for completion by mid-June 2010.

Metallurgical test work for Dargues Reef is nearing completion, and Cortona is finalizing a process design flow sheet that calls for delivery of about 50% of the gold to a gravity circuit and about 48% to a sulphide concentrate.