Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Goldrush Resources forges ahead after it nearly doubles oxide resource at Ronguen

Africa-focused gold miner Goldrush Resources (CVE: GOD) is encouraged for its plan to develop a heap leach gold operation at its Ronguen gold deposit in Burkina Faso after it announced late last week that it nearly doubled the oxide gold resource at the property.
For oxide gold resources, the new NI 43-101 compliant resource contains 150,000 ounces of gold in the measured category, from 4.14 million tonnes grading 1.12 grams per tonne (g/t) gold, and 159,000 ounces of gold in the indicated category, from 3.86 million tonnes grading 1.28 g/t gold.
The inferred category also holds 8,000 ounces, contained within 136,000 tonnes at 1.91 g/t gold. The resource used a cut-off grade of 0.4 g/t gold.
In addition to the oxide resource at Ronguen, the bottom of the conceptual pit shell used to constrain the mineral resource statement is estimated to hold 23,000 ounces of gold in the measured and indicated categories in fresh rock, or 483,000 tonnes grading 1.51 g/t gold, and 44,000 ounces of gold in the inferred category, or 754,000 tonnes at 1.83 g/t gold. This estimate used a cut off grade of 0.7 g/t gold.
The global resource for Ronguen in all categories is 384,000 ounces gold within the constrained pit shell, with a long term target of more than one million ounces.
This new report compares to the initial resource estimate in April 2008, which saw just 249,000 ounces outlined in the inferred category at Ronguen, after which another 20,000 metres of trenching and drilling took place.
The company significantly increased the size and the quality of the mineral resource, as most of the oxide portion of the deposit is now classified into the measured and indicated categories.
"The strategic objective here is to put Ronguen into small scale production with a heap leach facility," VP of corporate development, Don Willoughby, told Proactive Investors.
"The goal was to upgrade the resource into measured and indicated categories to allow for the calculation of reserves at the feasibility study level.
"Now, the next step will be to expand the size of the resource, with a target of 1 million plus ounces."
But Willoughby says that the deeper sulphide resource will not be mined during the low-cost heap leach operation, and that as a result, the priority is to expand the deposit to the east and west, and not at depth.
Ronguen is located on Goldrush’s Kongoussi 1 and Tikare permits, 100 kilometres north of the capital city of Ouagadougou, 45 kilometres east of Cluff Gold’s (LON:CLF) (TSE:CFG) Kalsaka heap leach gold mine and 10 kilometres northwest of High River Gold’s (TSE:HRG) Bissa gold mine, which is currently in development.
"We are very encouraged by the potential to develop a heap leach, open pit operation at Ronguen," says president and CEO Len Brownlie.
"We intend to complete a Preliminary Economic Assessment as we continue to explore the "blue sky" potential related to this thrust fault hosted deposit, where targets for additional mineralization are located on the potential extension of the South Zone, at depth in the Main Zone, and on a parallel zone located within one kilometre to the north of the Main Zone."
Indeed, Goldrush management is convinced that there exists "plenty of blue sky potential" at the deposit, with 2 to 3 kilometre-long geophysical structures to the north and south of the Main Zone.
Just south of the grid that covers Ronguen, Willoughby says the company found "fairly decent" gold intersections, but was unable to trace it. New software, however, was developed to process the geophysical data generated several years ago, allowing Goldrush to uncover "a very strong geophysical signature."
A similar situation was also uncovered to the north.
The next drilling program will explore these two structures, as well as unexplored and under-explored areas of potential on the Kongoussi 1 and Tikare permits.
But Goldrush is running short on cash and will need more funds before it embarks on additional drilling. The company, which is in the process of raising money, has received expressions of interest from several funds, says Willoughby, despite the market malaise the junior gold space is experiencing.
In parallel to the planned preliminary economic assessment for Ronguen, which is anticipated by the end of the year, the company is also completing an environmental baseline study, which is "well on its way."
The deposit is close to paved highways and the Lac Bam water supply and is within three kilometres of the southern boundary of the regional centre of Kongoussi, which has an approximate population of 45,000.
The latest mineral resource report for the project was prepared by SRK Consulting and was based on 245 reverse circulation (RC) drill holes, 57 HQ core holes and 38 trenches.
The vast majority of the drill holes was angled and shallow, and tested little of the fresh rock depth potential of the deposit.
Aside from Ronguen, the company also holds the 244 square kilometre Ouavousse permit in central Burkina Faso, which is located around 80 kilometres south of High River’s Taparko gold mine.
In March, the miner announced results from initial drilling on seven previously-identified gold-bearing areas on the permit, uncovering an open mineralized structure over a strike length of 160 metres.
Yet the two permit areas in Burkina Faso that hold the most promise, says Willoughby, is the Pompoi permit - located just 2 kilometres from the eastern border of the Yaramoko permit held by Roxgold (CVE:ROG) and Riverstone Resources (CVE:RVS) - and the 56 square kilometre Midebdo permit, which is 5 kilometres to the east of Ampella Mining's (ASX:AMX) Konkera deposit.
"We have done quite a bit of soil sampling at Pompoi, with one result showing just under one gram per tonne - considered very, very high grade for soil sampling, which is typically measured in parts per billion," Willoughby asserts.
"This is just one sample, but there are strong indications of gold in different areas as well."
According to a recent Roxgold news release, reverse circulation drilling at the Bagassi Central site, roughly 2.5 kilometres from the Pompoi permit boundary, produced gold intersections of 24.62 g/t gold over 6 metres in hole YMR-10-RC-036, and 28.61 g/t gold over 20 metres and 4.88 g/t Au over 11 metres in hole YMR-11-RC-055.
Meanwhile, the Midebdo permit is situated 325 kilometres south southwest of Ouagadougou, with easy access by paved highways and 45 kilometres of "good secondary road."
The nearby Konkera deposit, which is in the pre-feasibility study stage, occurs within a 4.9 kilometre length of a 110 kilometre-long gold bearing shear zone and is located just 5 kilometres east of the Midebdo boundary.
Goldrush's strategy is to explore its host of early-stage Burkina Faso permits, with the hope that they will turn out as successful as Ronguen, "with a resource on the other end of the project-generating pipeline."
But the company does not hold permits in vain, as it will let them go once its team has not been able to identify anything further. Indeed, this strategy has worked well for the junior miner, once owning 40 permits in total - now down to 11.
With a "good” crew of 35 people in Burkina Faso, the company is focused on mapping, early stage geological exploration, and rock sampling on all of its permits, and is advancing the Ronguen deposit toward production.
"It is very unlikely that Goldrush will be the operator of Ronguen," says Willoughby, with a joint venture being the likely scenario.
"It's far better for us to bring in partners that will operate the mines themselves, and for us to undertake the exploration - as this is where our strategy and expertise lies.
"Discussions on this front for all of our permits are ongoing.”

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