African Barrick Gold plc (the "Company" or "ABG") Drilling Success Leads to Significant Resource Expansion at Nyanzaga 3.5Moz Au Indicated and 0.6Moz Au Inferred
ABG is pleased to announce a significant uplift to the previously declared Mineral Resource estimate for the Tusker deposit at the Nyanzaga Project. This increases our confidence that the project, which comprises the Tusker and Kilimani deposits, has the potential to be our next mine in Tanzania.
The updated in-pit resource is in excess of 4Moz Au, consisting of 3,481Koz at 1.47g/t Au Indicated and 598Koz at 2.05g/t Au Inferred. This represents a fourfold increase on the previously declared resource of 313Koz Indicated and 650Koz Inferred, and is another highly encouraging step in the Company's overall strategy of realising the potential of its existing portfolio of high quality assets.
Since acquiring 100% of the Nyanzaga Project in May 2010, ABG has undertaken an extensive step-out and infill drilling programme at both the Tusker and Kilimani deposits with the aim of extending mineralisation on the northern, western and southern domains of the project. A total of 91,537 metres have been drilled at the project since May 2010, representing an investment of $21.7 million. This highly successful programme has extended the known gold mineralisation and delineated additional resources closer to surface. The drilling has also identified the potential for further higher grade resource extensions at depth and as a result we are initiating preliminary studies to assess the potential for underground mining.
Further exploration is scheduled to commence later in the current quarter with the objective of defining the resources at depth at Tusker. At the same time, the scoping study for the project continues, with the current work programme focusing on detailed geotechnical and metallurgical drilling and modelling across the potential Tusker pit area, infrastructure trade-off studies, environmental and social baseline studies and licensing for the project. It is estimated that the scoping study will be completed by late Q1 or early Q2 2012.
We will provide a further update on the Nyanzaga Project as part of our 2011 preliminary results in February and aim to communicate the initial resource for the Kilimani deposit at that point, which could further add to the overall potential of the project.
Commenting on the expanded Mineral Resource at Nyanzaga, CEO Greg Hawkins said: "This confirmation of the potential scale of the Nyanzaga project represents an extremely important step in the development of ABG as one of the leading gold companies in Africa and underpins our confidence in the future growth potential of the Company. We already operate three of the continent's foremost gold mines and this is evidence of the potential for Nyanzaga to be a fourth."
The following table details the in-pit Mineral Resources, which have been developed and are reported in accordance with Canadian National Instrument 43-101.
Table 1: Mineral Resource Estimation for the Tusker Deposit
Tonnes Au (g/t) Ounces Tonnes Au (g/t) Ounces (Mt) (Moz) (Mt) (Moz)
Oxide 2.59 1.47 0.122
Transitional 0.84 1.51 0.041
Sulphide 70.45 1.47 3.318 9.06 2.05 0.598
Total 73.88 1.47 3.481 9.06 2.05 0.598
(1) ABG owns 100% of the prospecting licences encompassing the Tusker resource area through wholly owned Tanzanian subsidiaries
(2) Estimated at a 0.4g/t Au cut-off
(3) Base case gold price of $1,400 per ounce and an estimated recovery of 86%
(4) Totals may not add due to rounding
(5) Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves have not demonstrated economic viability
(6) See `Note to mineral resource estimates' at the end of this release for information on the calculation of mineral resources estimates and definitions.
The following table provides a breakdown of the in-pit Mineral Resources at varying cut-off grades.
Table 2: Mineral Resource Estimation for the Tusker Deposit
Cut-off Tonnes (Mt) Au (g/t) Ounces Tonnes (Mt) Au (g/t) Ounces (Moz) (Moz) (g/t)
0.40 73.88 1.47 3.48 9.06 2.05 0.60
0.75 57.81 1.70 3.16 6.29 2.50 0.51
1.00 43.02 1.98 2.74 4.97 2.93 0.47
1.50 24.33 2.57 2.01 3.24 3.84 0.40
2.00 14.20 3.17 1.45 2.59 4.38 0.36
2.50 8.44 3.82 1.04 2.03 4.98 0.32
3.00 5.64 4.36 0.79 1.54 5.70 0.28
(1) ABG owns 100% of the prospecting licences encompassing the Tusker resource area through wholly owned Tanzanian subsidiaries
(2) Base case gold price of $1,400 per ounce and an estimated recovery of 86%
(3) Totals may not add due to rounding
(4) Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves have not demonstrated economic viability
(5) See `Note to mineral resource estimates' at the end of this release for information on the calculation of mineral resources estimates and definitions.
About the Nyanzaga Project
The Nyanzaga Project is located within the Sengerema District, Mwanza region, approximately 35km northeast of the Bulyanhulu mine and is comprised of the Tusker and Kilimani deposits and numerous regional exploration prospects.
Nyanzaga lies on the northeastern flank of the Sukumaland Archaean Greenstone Belt consisting of a granite-greenstone terrain. The Nyanzian greenstone system consists mainly of mafic volcanic rocks and immature sediments typical of greenstone belts of the central Congo Craton. The rocks are divided into a lower and upper series.
* Lower series - primarily basalt, andesite and dacite pillow lavas. Sediments include banded iron formations, re-crystallised chert, shale and some conglomerate.
* Upper series - felsic lavas, tuffs, ferruginous cherts and banded iron formations.
The greenstones are generally metamorphosed to greenschist facies and they are folded about steeply dipping axial planes. The interpreted geological sequence appears largely consistent down dip and along strike. Host lithologies for gold mineralisation in the Tusker deposit are predominantly chert and sandstone units of the upper series of the Nyanzian, associated with stockwork quartz, and quartz-carbonate vein arrays. Mineralised veins appear to have no preferred orientation with late stage silica veining and breccias assaying higher than average gold grades for the bulk of the deposit. The Tusker mineralised system displays extensive and strong carbonate alteration that extends well beyond the gold mineralisation, with silica-carbonate-pyrite-pyrrhotite-arsenopyrite alteration associated with zones of gold mineralisation.
Figure 1 below shows the drill hole location plan for the Tusker-Kilimani deposits, and Figure 2 shows a typical east-west cross section through the Tusker deposit. Of the 91,537 metres drilled since May 2010 the 2011 programme represented 65,247 metres. Higher grade gold mineralisation has been intersected at depths greater than 600 metres, and the work programme for 2012 will include further drilling to review the economic potential for these deeper zones.
Figure 1: Nyanzaga Project, Tusker drill location plan with optimised open pit showing location of cross section and long section
Figure 3 below shows a typical north-south long section through the Tusker deposit, with the grade distribution in the main zone detailed. The exploration programme for 2011 focused on exploring the area of the deposit 250 to 500 metres below surface as well as potential higher gold grade areas near surface. This programme has been highly successful and has identified significant mineralisation in the zones targeted, enabling the expanded pit shell to be delineated with an in-pit resource in excess of 4Moz Au.
Figure 3: Nyanzaga Project, Tusker Resource - Long Section showing grade distribution in the Main Zone
A conference call will be held for analysts and investors on Friday 27 January 2012 at 09:00 London time with the dial in details below. A short presentation on the Nyanzaga project will be available on our website ahead of the call: www.africanbarrickgold.com
Andrew Wray, Head of Corporate Development & Investor Relations
Giles Blackham, Investor Relations Manager
Finsbury +44 (0)20 7251 3801 Charles Chichester About ABG
ABG is Tanzania's largest gold producer and one of the five largest gold producers in Africa. We have four producing mines, all located in northwest Tanzania, and several exploration projects at various stages of development. With a high-quality asset base, solid growth opportunities and a clear strategy, we have the objective of increasing our existing production to one million ounces per year by 2014.
We aim to achieve this by:
* driving operating efficiencies to optimise production from our existing asset base;
* growing through near mine expansion and development of advanced-stage projects; and
* organic greenfield growth and acquisitions in Africa.
Maintaining our licence to operate through acting responsibly in relation to our people, the environment and the communities in which we operate is central to achieving our objectives.
ABG is a UK public company with its headquarters in London. We are listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange under the symbol ABG and have a secondary listing on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange. Historically and prior to our initial public offering (IPO), our operations comprised the Tanzanian gold mining business of Barrick Gold Corporation (Barrick), our majority shareholder. ABG reports in US dollars in accordance with IFRS as adopted by the European Union, unless otherwise stated in this report.
Note on estimation techniques
A block model was created in the Surpac software to estimate grades and define classification of the resource. Block size were defined as 10x10x5 meters, utilising a nominal 0.4g/t cut-off hard boundary. Domains were defined based on the interpreted lithological units of the deposit. The Ordinary Kriging algorithm was used to estimate gold into each of the blocks after which the blocks were classified into Indicated and Inferred.
In order to constrain the resource estimate, a conceptual pit shell was developed using Datamine software to identify those parts of the block model that have reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction. Parameters used in Whittle optimisation were: US$3.17 per tonne mining cost; US$1400 per oz gold price; 86% process recovery; US$12.00 per tonne process cost; overall slope angle of 48°.
Note to mineral resource estimates
Information in this announcement relating to Mineral Resources is based on resource block models compiled by Patrick Adams, who is a Qualified Person for Cube Consulting Proprietary Limited. Mineral resources estimates contained in this announcement have been calculated in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 as required by Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) definitions were followed for the mineral resources estimates. Calculations have been reviewed, verified (including estimation methodology, sampling, analytical and test data) and compiled by ABG personnel under the supervision of ABG Qualified Person: Richard Adofo, Corporate Manager, Geology. However, the figures stated are estimates and no assurances can be given that the indicated quantities of metal will be produced. Mineral Resources have been calculated using an assumed long-term average gold price of US$ 1400 per ounce. Resource estimates can change and tend to be influenced mostly by new information pertaining to the understanding of the deposit and secondly the conversion to ore reserves. In addition, estimates of inferred mineral resources may not form the basis of an economic analysis and it cannot be assumed that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Therefore, investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of an inferred mineral resource exists, that it can be economically or legally mined, or that it will ever be upgraded to a higher category. Likewise, investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of measured or indicated mineral resources will ever be upgraded into mineral reserves.
An inferred mineral resource is that part of a mineral resource for which quantity and grade or quality can be estimated on the basis of geological evidence and limited sampling and reasonably assumed, but not verified, geological and grade continuity. The estimate is based on limited information and sampling gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes.
An indicated mineral resource is that part of a mineral resource for which quantity, grade or quality, densities, shape and physical characteristics can be estimated with a level of confidence sufficient to allow the appropriate application of technical and economic parameters, to support mine planning and evaluation of the economic viability of the deposit. The estimate is based on detailed and reliable exploration and testing information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that are spaced closely enough for geological and grade continuity to be reasonably assumed.
This announcement is for information purposes only and does not constitute an invitation or offer to underwrite, subscribe for or otherwise acquire or dispose of any securities of ABG in any jurisdiction.
This announcement includes "forward-looking statements" that express or imply expectations of future events or results. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements include, without limitation, financial projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives and expectations with respect to future production, operations, costs, products and services, and statements regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words "plans," "expects," "anticipates," "believes," "intends," "estimates" and other similar expressions.
All forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of ABG, which could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to differences between the actual results, performance and achievements of ABG include, but are not limited to, political, economic and business conditions, industry trends, competition, fluctuations in the spot and forward price of gold or certain other commodity prices, changes in regulation, currency fluctuations (including the US dollar, South African rand and Tanzanian shilling exchange rates), ABG's ability to successfully integrate future acquisitions, ABG's ability to recover its reserves or develop new reserves, including its ability to convert its resources into reserves and its mineral potential into resources or reserves, and to timely and successfully process its mineral reserves, risk of trespass, theft and vandalism, changes in its business strategy as well as risks and hazards associated with the business of mineral exploration, development, mining and production. Although ABG's management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, ABG cannot give assurances that such statements will prove to be correct. Accordingly, investors should not place reliance on forward looking statements in this announcement. Any forward-looking statements in this announcement only reflect information available at the time of preparation. Subject to the requirements of the Disclosure and Transparency Rules and the Listing Rules or applicable law, ABG explicitly disclaims any obligation or undertaking publicly to release the result of any revisions to any forward-looking statements in this announcement that may occur due to any change in ABG's expectations or to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this announcement. Nothing in this announcement should be construed as a profit forecast or estimate.
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