Panthera Resources plc (AIM: PAT), the gold exploration and development company with assets in India and West Africa, today announced it has negotiated an opportunity to acquire the Labola gold project in Burkina Faso, West Africa.
· The Labola gold project consist of a package of approximately 65km2 of licences that host two significant quartz vein structures that have been mined (artisanal) over at least a 9km strike.
· This is the first time this package of properties has been consolidated under one ownership and it represents an excellent opportunity to integrate the significant amount of previous drilling and optimise the resource potential of the project.
· Previous explorers have announced combined JORC and 43-101 compliant resources of over 600,000oz averaging (approximately) 1.2g/t Au. Panthera believes these estimates require verification and accordingly, should only be considered as exploration targets.
· Significant potential for higher grade mineralisation can also be seen based on previous drill results:
2m @ 130.6g/t Au from 66m
11m @ 8.2g/t Au from 147m
6.5m @ 7.26g/t Au from 318m.
· Panthera will commence its exploration process with due diligence focussed on compiling historical data, re-log and re-assay core, confirming previously reported mineralisation and identifying areas for drilling to confirm, infill and extend those areas.
Geoff Stanley, Managing Director said “This agreement offers a great opportunity to fast track Panthera’s path to an economic resource in Burkina Faso. The large strike extent of artisanal workings and the significant amount of previous drilling significantly de-risks the project and we are optimistic it will allow us to plan a major drill-out for later this calendar year.”
Panthera has four months in which to undertake technical and legal due diligence on the project.
Following this four month due diligence period exploration, resource definition and development will proceed for a period of up to 5 years assuming results justify the programmes and Panthera makes the necessary US$50k annual payments to the vendors. Panthera has an option to purchase 100% of the vendor’s interest at any time within the 5 year with the payment of US$1.0m to the vendor, at which time the annual payments will cease. An additional payment of US$1.0m will be paid to the vendor upon the successful definition of a JORC compliant resource of at least 1,000,000 ounces of gold. The vendor will retain a 1% net smelter royalty on all gold produced up to a total aggregate payment of US$2.0m.
The project is located in the south-eastern part of Burkina Faso within the Banfora greenstone belt, approximately 380km southwest of the capital city Ouagadougou and 90km east-northeast of the Banfora gold deposit.
Satellite imagery of the area clearly shows two main quartz veins that have been exploited by artisanal gold miners over around 9km of strike. Field observations confirm that mining is generally shallow (around 10-30m), however significant mineralisation has been shown to occur at depths of up to 300m below surface.
Historical exploration work was undertaken by High River Gold and Nordgold (ex TSX and LSE listed, now private) and Taurus Gold (private South African company). While not all of this work has been obtained and compiled, the following drilling has been identified to date:
High River Gold / Nordgold:
· RC: 25,025m in 227 drillholes (possibly up to 90 additional drillholes)
· DD: 2,489m in 24 drillholes
· RAB: 1628m in 48 drillholes
· RC: 5059m in 27 drillholes
· DD: 19,949m in 103 drillholes
The data and core is available for the Taurus drilling but the HRG/Nordgold data has not been sighted as yet.
Both groups undertook preliminary resource estimations to JORC and/or NI43-101 guidelines, but as only summary data has seen sighted to date, these estimates are considered to be exploration targets only at this stage. The total estimate is over 600,000 ounces at a grade of around 1.2g/t Au but a preliminary review by Panthera’s geologists suggest that a lower tonnage, higher grade resource a likely outcome of further work. Following due diligence Panthera anticipates undertaking infill and confirmation drilling followed by revised resource calculations.
Numerous significantly higher grade drill intercepts have been returned, consistent with the high grades being reported by the artisanal miners, including:
· WNDD15: 2m @ 130.6g/t Au from 66m
· WNDD24: 11m @ 8.2g/t Au from 147m
· WNDD58: 6.5m @ 7.26g/t Au from 318m
Site inspections identified sophisticated artisanal mining operations on a 0.9m to 1.4m wide quartz vein where the main shaft had reached a depth of 57m. Local miners claim to recover between 5g and 40g of gold from each 200kg bag of quartz (i.e. between 25 and 200g/t Au). This is on the eastern vein which appears to be a single vein with a few stringers either side and thus represents a good high-grade underground target.
The western vein consists of a series of sheeted and stringer veins over 1-10m total width and has potential to be mined as an open pit. Alteration, including coarse arsenopyrite and tourmaline (both typical of gold in the Birimian), was seen. Some veins at an angle to the main trend were also noted and the possibility of this zone being a Reidel-array style shear system is likely.
Thus potential to significantly increase the overall resource base is considered to be good by Panthera’s geologists, in particular higher grade shoots at depth and structural targets where the two veins merge and become more of a stockwork or Reidel-array style shear zone.