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Project Leopard: First Exploration Licenses Given

14 Mar 2023 07:00

RNS Number : 8137S
Ariana Resources PLC
14 March 2023




14 March 2023



Ariana Resources plc ("Ariana" or "the Company"), the AIM-listed mineral exploration and development company with gold mining interests in Europe, is pleased to announce that its wholly-owned Turkish operating subsidiary, Galata Mineral Madencilik San. ve Tic. A.S. ("Galata") has been granted the exclusive exploration rights for three new licenses in Eastern Turkey as part of Project Leopard.


Three contiguous licences valid for seven years cover an area of 6,000 hectares and are owned 100% by Ariana ("Gulluce Project").

Dynamic exploration targeting multi-million ounce copper-gold deposits in Eastern Turkey, with further licence applications expected.

Project generation process augmented by the Newmont 2D Database; right-of-first-refusal plus 1% NSR payable to Newmont if a project enters production.

Dr. Kerim Sener, Managing Director, commented:

"We are exceptionally pleased with the grant of these new licences following our application to the General Directorate of Mining and Petroleum Affairs in 2022. The grant follows a revised approval and licence-issuing process, which was successfully achieved by the Company on the first attempt. These licences also represent the first new licences secured in Turkey by the Company in over ten years and signify our pivot towards greenfield exploration in the country. The fact that several licences adjacent to ours were recently acquired in auction for c. £5 million bodes well for the potential of this area and simultaneously demonstrates the potential value of our ground.

Over recent months, we have been identifying multiple prospective locations across eastern Turkey using our proprietary exploration datasets coupled with the use of the Newmont 2D Database under licence. This work has also involved extensive new satellite remote-sensing and geophysical data processing and interpretation which we are conducting in-house. We are now poised to make further applications for ground across the region in the future, with a view to initiating a major greenfields exploration effort targeting the discovery of significant new copper-gold deposits." 

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 as it forms part of UK Domestic Law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 ("UK MAR").

Project Leopard

The mineral potential of eastern Turkey offers significant opportunities for exploration and development of various minerals, particularly precious and base metals. The area is characterised by a complex geological history, involving the collision of the Arabian and Eurasian plates. Several major mineral deposits such as Çöpler (11.3Moz Au), Hot Maden (4Moz Au), Mollakara (3Moz Au) and Salinbas (1.5Moz Au), among others (Figure 1) have been discovered across this region during the past 25 years. The region hosts several important geological structures between the Pontides Belt and the Bitlis-Zagros suture zone, which contribute to the prospectivity of this metallogenic province. The region remains highly underexplored and little work has been completed in recent years in this part of the country.

Ariana is making particular use of the Newmont Two Decade ("2D") Database, announced on the 24th March 2022, as it was extended by all parties until March 2031. This grants Ariana and Galata a non-exclusive licence to the database. Ariana has granted Newmont a right-of-first-refusal plus 1% Net Smelter Return ("NSR") royalty if a project identified by the Company enters production. 

The Company is advancing a strategy to secure 100% owned exploration projects in eastern Turkey with the input of the Project Leopard team, which will be further augmented for the upcoming field season. The exploration effort will focus on areas that have previously received only cursory prior exploration, primarily for logistical reasons. As such, many of the areas currently targeted are situated at significant altitude across the mountainous regions of eastern Turkey and are subject to a campaign-based and seasonally-driven exploration strategy.

Figure 1: Three dominant metallogenic arcs are present in eastern Turkey, the focus of Project Leopard, showing the location of significant gold deposits. The location of the Gulluce Project is shown as a black dot.

About the Gulluce Project

The three exploration licences granted cover a total area of about 6,000 hectares which are located at the north of the Gulluce village, about 50km northwest of Erzurum, eastern Turkey (Figure 2). The approval of the Company's application to the General Directorate of Mining and Petroleum Affairs for three adjacent mineral exploration licenses was made on the 7th March 2023 and the licences were certificated for a period of seven years from the 10th March 2023 (Figure 2).

The Gulluce Project sits between the Pontide subduction zone and İzmir-Erzincan-Ankara suture zone which developed a north-easterly trending basin filled with Cretaceous - Paleogene volcanic and sedimentary rocks. This area hosts several copper-dominant base metal mineral deposits, including Maden-Bayburt, Otlukbeli-Erzincan and Oltu-Erzurum. The central part of the project area lies at an altitude of up to 2,858m above sea level.

The main lithological units are Cretaceous pelagic limestone, Palaeocene volcanic rocks and Upper Palaeocene - Eocene clastic and carbonate rocks. The Ariana exploration team has already conducted an initial assessment of the local geology and followed up on prior stream sediment sampling with rock chip sampling. This work has confirmed the historic exploration results and has identified several areas of geochemical anomalism.

In addition, five contiguous exploration licenses situated immediately to the northeast of the Gulluce Project were auctioned by the Mines Department recently. Four of these licenses have now been granted to the participating parties, following a payment of approximately £5 million to the Turkish Government. This demonstrates the significant exploration potential of the broader area. 

Figure 2: Location and geology of the Gulluce Project.




Ariana Resources plc

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7407 3616

Michael de Villiers, Chairman

Kerim Sener, Managing Director

Beaumont Cornish Limited

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7628 3396

Roland Cornish / Felicity Geidt

Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7886 2500

John Prior / Hugh Rich / Atholl Tweedie

Yellow Jersey PR Limited

Tel: +44 (0) 7951 402 336

Dom Barretto / Shivantha Thambirajah /Bessie Elliot




Editors' Note:


The information in this announcement that relates to exploration results is based on information compiled by Dr. Kerim Sener BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, Managing Director of Ariana Resources plc. Dr. Sener is a Fellow of The Geological Society of London and a Member of The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and has sufficient experience relevant to the styles of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity that has been undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined by the 2012 edition of the Australasian Code for the Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (JORC Code) and under the AIM Rules - Note for Mining and Oil & Gas Companies. Dr. Sener consents to the inclusion in the report of the matters based on his information in the form and context in which it appears.


About Ariana Resources:

Ariana is an AIM-listed mineral exploration and development company with an exceptional track-record of creating value for its shareholders through its interests in active mining projects and investments in exploration companies. Its current interests include gold production in Turkey and copper-gold exploration and development projects in Cyprus and Kosovo.


The Company holds 23.5% interest in Zenit Madencilik San. ve Tic. A.S. a joint venture with Ozaltin Holding A.S. and Proccea Construction Co. in Turkey which contains a depleted total of c. 2.1 million ounces of gold and other metals (as at February 2022). The joint venture comprises the Kiziltepe Mine and the Tavsan and Salinbas projects.


The Kiziltepe Gold-Silver Mine is located in western Turkey and contains a depleted JORC Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resource of 222,000 ounces gold and 3.8 million ounces silver (as at February 2022). The mine has been in protable production since 2017 and is expected to produce at a rate of c.20,000 ounces of gold per annum to at least the mid-2020s. A Net Smelter Return ("NSR") royalty of 2.5% on production is being paid to Franco-Nevada Corporation.


The Tavsan Gold Mine is located in western Turkey and contains a JORC Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resource of 307,000 ounces gold and 1.1 million million ounces silver (as at November 2022). Following the approval of its Environmental Impact Assessment and associated permitting, Tavsan is being developed as the second gold mining operation in Turkey. Construction progress is temporarily suspended pending the outcome of a local court decision pertaining to the EIA. A NSR royalty of up to 2% on future production is payable to Sandstorm Gold.


The Salinbas Gold Project is located in north-eastern Turkey and contains a JORC Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resource of 1.5 million ounces of gold (as at July 2020). It is located within the multi-million ounce Artvin Goldeld, which contains the "Hot Gold Corridor" comprising several signicant gold- copper projects including the 4 million ounce Hot Maden project, which lies 16km to the south of Salinbas. A NSR royalty of up to 2% on future production is payable to Eldorado Gold Corporation.


Ariana owns 100% of Australia-registered Asgard Metals Fund ("Asgard"), as part of the Company's proprietary Project Catalyst Strategy. The Fund is focused on investments in high-value potential, discovery-stage mineral exploration companies located across the Eastern Hemisphere and within easy reach of Ariana's operational hubs in Australia, Turkey and the UK.


Ariana owns 75% of UK-registered Western Tethyan Resources Ltd ("WTR"), which operates across south-eastern Europe and is based in Pristina, Republic of Kosovo. The company is targeting its exploration on major copper-gold deposits across the porphyry-epithermal transition. WTR is being funded through a ve-year Alliance Agreement with Newmont Corporation (www.newmont.com).


Ariana owns 50% (increasing to 58%) of UK-registered Venus Minerals Ltd ("Venus") which is focused on the exploration and development of copper-gold assets in Cyprus which contain a combined JORC Indicated and Inferred Resource of 17Mt @ 0.45% to 1.10% copper (excluding additional gold, silver and zinc.


Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited is broker to the Company and Beaumont Cornish Limited is the Company's Nominated Adviser and Broker.


For further information on Ariana you are invited to visit the Company's website at www.arianaresources.com.


Glossary of Technical Terms:


"km" Kilometres;


"m" Metres;


"NSR" Net Smelter Return;


"Moz" Million Ounces;





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