Teranga Gold Corporation, a multi-jurisdictional West African gold company¸ has announced that an extensive drilling and exploration program will be initiated at Golden Hill during the second half of 2019.
Golden Hill is an advanced-stage exploration project that has provided numerous high-grade and near-surface gold discoveries in the last couple of years.
The Golden Hill, situated within the central part of the Houndé Greenstone Belt, is fully owned by Teranga Gold. The Houndé Greenstone Belt is a highly mineralized gold zone located in southwest Burkina Faso, West Africa where three gold mines are operating.
The project’s budget for drilling and exploration work, which will be conducted in the second half of 2019, is estimated to at least $5 million. The Golden Hill tranche of the Taurus debt facility will fund the project. Moreover, the $25-million tranche is meant to further develop the project via the feasibility stage of development.
Our initial mineral resource estimate, announced in February 2019, provided a solid base from which to grow Golden Hill and reaffirmed our interpretations that most of the deposits comprising the resource estimation offer upside potential.
Paul Chawrun, Chief Operating Officer, Teranga Gold Corporation
Chawrun continued, “the drill and exploration program announced today, which includes up to three drill rigs and approximately 27,000 metres of drilling, is part of our plan to increase resources as we move the project through a preliminary economic assessment and into the feasibility stage of development.”
At present, the project includes multiple prospects and deposits within a 7.5-km radius. Such a configuration is favorable to a multi-pit operation feeding into a centralized processing facility, analogous to Wahgnion and Sabodala gold operations of Teranga Gold.
According to Richard Young, President and Chief Executive Officer, “multiple high-grade, near-surface and deeper gold discoveries a Golden Hill indicate district-scale potential, and today’s announcement marks another key step towards our vision of developing our third gold mine and becoming a mid-tier gold producer in West Africa.”
In the beginning of 2019, Teranga Gold announced an initial mineral resource estimate for Golden Hill after just 18 months of drilling. The initial mineral resource estimate included inferred mineral resources of 11.95 Mt averaging 1.68 g/t gold for 644,000 ounces and indicated mineral resources of 6.40 Mt averaging 2.02 g/t gold for 415,000 ounces.
At Golden Hill, several preparatory surveys were concluded during the first half of 2019 to further improve the interpretation of possible extensions to the mineralization delineated at the known deposits and prospects. In addition, the surveys helped in directing new targets that were worthy of drilling assessment. Such activities included an airborne magnetic/radiometric survey, excavator trenching, and elaborate soil sampling.
H2 2019 Drilling Program
The exploration program extending to 27,000 m is designed as a combined diamond core and reverse circulation drilling program. At present, 11 individual drill targets have been detected for inclusion in this drilling evaluation program, including five drill targets that have not been drilled before.
Apart from the drilling component, approximately 10,000 m of excavator trenching and 15,000 m of auger drilling have also been scheduled for this exploration campaign.
Due to the demonstrated importance of structural controls on the gold zones at all Golden Hill deposits, we have focused our ongoing exploration efforts on identifying additional favorable structural trends that could add resources through drilling evaluations.
David Mallo, Vice President, Exploration, Teranga Gold Corporation
Mallo continued, “a recently completed airborne geophysical survey has been key to identifying favorable structural targets and outlining a number of new priority areas for early-stage evaluations, including Gogoba West, Ma South, Ma Far North and Copper.”
PEA Work Continues
Furthermore, Teranga Gold has started preliminary studies and test work in support of an expected preliminary economic assessment, or PEA, at Golden Hill. At ALS (Perth), metallurgical test work has been ongoing.
Once this test work is completed to establish the basis for an improved flow sheet for all these deposits, PEA level engineering in combination with environmental social impact assessment baseline work will begin to establish an estimate of operating and capital expenses that support a preliminary mine plan concept.
The work will offer the foundation for an economic assessment of the project and establish the basis for a submission to the Government of Burkina Faso requesting the transition of the Golden Hill exploration license to a mine license in 2020.