(Sharecast News) - Africa-focussed Altus Strategies has appointed independent consulting firm Mining Plus UK to update the historic resource and complete a preliminary economic assessment for an open pit oxide gold mine at its Diba project, it announced on Thursday.
The AIM-traded firm said Diba is located 13 kilometres south of the multi-million ounce Sadiola gold mine, in the 'Kenieba Window' gold belt in the west of the Republic of Mali.
It said the assessment would examine economic parameters for an open pit oxide gold mine, with the historic resource to be updated into a current NI 43-101 resource estimate.
The drill results after the historic resource included 5.36 grams of gold per tonne over 13 metres, and 9.60 grams of gold per tonne over eight metres.
Diba hosts a historical near surface gold resource, the board said, with 6,348,000 tonnes at 1.35 grams of gold per tonne for 275,200 ounces in the indicated category, and 720,000 tonnes at 1.40 grams of gold per tonne for 32,500 ounces in the inferred category.
That, the board said, was based on a 0.5 grams of gold per tonne cut-off grade, with the company adding that at least six further priority prospects had yet to be drill tested at Diba.
"The Diba gold project hosts a near surface and shallow dipping historic resource in western Mali, approximately 13 kilometres south of the multi-million ounce Sadiola gold mine and five kilometres west of the company's Lakanfla gold project, which is the subject of a joint venture with Glomin Services," said chief executive officer Steven Poulton.
"Mining Plus will update the historic resource into a current resource and incorporate drill results that post-date the original resource estimate, including 5.36 grams per tonne over 13 metres and 9.60 grams per tonne over eight metres.
"They will then undertake a preliminary economic assessment to outline the potential for a standalone open pit oxide gold mine."
Poulton said the Diba licence had "substantial" exploration upside with at least six additional prospective targets yet to be drill tested.
However, he added that the historic resource alone could already represent a "very significant" opportunity for Altus to create substantial near-term value.
"In addition to the studies being undertaken on Diba and in light of the importance of maintaining robust health and safety procedures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, our management and technical teams are active on several remote sensing and historical data compilation campaigns.
"These programmes aim to define exploration targets on existing projects as well as identify potential new projects in countries where we do not currently have a presence.
"This work is integral to how Altus replenishes its pipeline of projects and ultimately generates new royalties. It also allows our team and contractors to work remotely, which is important at this current time."
After the recent private placement and subsequent strategic investment by La Mancha, Poulton said Altus had a "strong" cash treasury of around ?8.2m, and was "well-placed" to assess potential opportunities.
"I look forward to updating shareholders on the results from all these studies."
At 1542 BST, shares in Altus Strategies were up 18.52% at 32p.
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