Gregory Isenor, P.Geo., President and CEO of Merrex Gold Inc. (TSX VENTURE:MXI) has provided the following update on the progress of its continuing exploration program on its Siribaya Gold Project, Mali.
Exploration Update to December 31, 2011
Drilling supervised by project operator IAMGOLD Corporation ("IAMGOLD") continued on Merrex's Siribaya Gold Project through to mid-December with one RC drill on the Siribaya mega-structure and a mechanized auger drill at Zone Bambadinka. Drilling adjourned for the Christmas break.
At Siribaya, gold mineralization was encountered in the north-eastern extension of the 1A substructure and mineralization is interpreted as extending to over three kilometres. Line 37+80N yielded an intersection of 6 metres grading 1.29 g/t Au and line 41+80N yielded 4 metres grading 0.54 g/t Au. Within the 1B substructure line 37+10N encountered mineralization re-confirming the interpreted three kilometre strike of the 1B substructure mineralization and yielded a one metre intersection grading 1.28 g/t Au. To calendar year end, 16,142 metres of RC drilling were completed from a budgeted 18,500 metres.
At Zone Bambadinka, located 2 kilometres west of the Siribaya mega-structure, 4,823 metres of mechanized auger drilling were completed of a budgeted 5,750 metres. Auger drilling has covered 4 kilometres of north-south strike length with significant mineralized intersections in the near- surface saprolite at various locations within the Bambadinka trend. The east-west lines are of variable length but generally approximately one kilometre long with 20 metre hole spacing. The northern fences in the area of the strongest geochemical response are spaced at 200 metre step-outs and the southern fences at 400 metre step-outs. Inclusive of Merrex historical RAB drilling, the Bambadinka trend has now been drill tested to approximately 8 kilometres and is considered a priority satellite target. In addition, 142 kilometres of gradient array IP have been completed from a total 185 kilometres planned.
The Siribaya Gold Project in West Mali is Merrex's flagship property. Beginning in 2005 when most gold explorers were focusing further north, Merrex assembled an 848 km2 land package, the largest contiguous group of gold exploration permits in Mali. The Siribaya Gold Project is in the same gold-prolific sequence of Birimian-age greenstones shared by Randgold's Loulo mine, Anglogold Ashanti/IAMGOLD's Sadiola and Yatela mines and others in Western Mali.
Between 2006 and 2008, Merrex spent over C$8,000,000 in direct exploration and advanced the property from a grassroots exploration project to an initial NI 43-101 compliant Inferred resource estimate.
At the end of 2008, IAMGOLD joined forces with Merrex to explore the Siribaya by optioning a 50% interest in return for incurring C$10,500,000 of exploration expenditures over a four year period. Since joining forces with Merrex, IAMGOLD has spent approximately C$6,000,000 on direct exploration both within the Siribaya mega-structure and across major portions of the total land package including diamond and RC drilling, a high resolution airborne survey, soil and termite mound geochemical sampling and ground IP. The 2009 diamond drill program in the Zone 1B area concluded with an updated NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate prepared by ACA Howe International Limited (news release dated February 3, 2010) of 308,200 oz gold (4,015,000 tonnes grading 2.39 g/t) Indicated and 69,500 oz gold (946,000 tonnes grading 2.29 g/t) Inferred, including a small contribution to the total resource from Zone 1A. Mineralization at Zones 1B and 1A remained open to the north, south and at depth, and except for the small contribution to the resource from Zone 1A, the February 2010 resource estimate covered only a small fraction of the 1B substructure, just one of two major substructures within the 10.5 km long NE-SW strike length of the Siribaya mega-structure.
The February 2010 NI 43-101 resource estimate included drill holes over less than one kilometre of strike length. Subsequent drilling of 500 metre spaced, east-west, heel-to-toe, step-out drill fences has demonstrated continuity of mineralization over a three kilometre strike length along the Siribaya trends. Interpretations based on all available exploration data indicate that the 10.5 kilometre long Siribaya mega-structure contains two distinct substructures: the 10.5 km long 1B substructure (over ten times as long as the strike of the Zone 1B NI 43-101 compliant resource area) and the 9.5 km long 1A substructure to the east of the 1B substructure. The substructures are interpreted to contain multiple smaller parallel gold-mineralized structures.
IAMGOLD, which assumed operatorship of the project in September 2010, recently accelerated its rate of exploration expenditure and IAMGOLD is ahead of schedule to earn its 50% interest. In 2010, a total of 16,142 m of RC drilling was carried out along the Siribaya trend and concurrently the geochemical trend at Bambadinka was pursued with 4,823 m of mechanical auger drilling. An additional 17,000 metres of RC drilling is planned for 2011. This program, which is now underway, will further extend the explored strike length of the Siribaya trends from three to six kilometres.
Outside of the Siribaya mega-structure new mineralized trends have been discovered; Siribaya West which lies to the west of the Bambadinka trend and the Babara trends which lie to the east of Siribaya on the Babara and Kofia permits. These trends will be further tested during the 2011 field season.
Gregory P. Isenor, P. Geo., is the Qualified Person as defined under NI 43-101 who has reviewed and is responsible for the technical information presented in this news release.
Source: Merrex Gold Inc.