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Significant Drilling Results at Salinbas

30 Nov 2023 07:00

RNS Number : 1359V
Ariana Resources PLC
30 November 2023
 

 

30 November 2023

AIM: AAU

SIGNIFICANT DRILLING RESULTS AT SALINBAS

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 a further set of results from the ongoing drilling programme at Salinbas. The project is operated via Zenit Madencilik San. ve Tic. A.S. ("Zenit"), in partnership with Proccea Construction Co. and Ozaltin Holding A.S. and is 23.5% owned by Ariana. Results from Ardala and Hizarliyayla will be announced separately when assay results are received.

Highlights:

· Successful completion of resource drilling within the upper Salinbas area. 

· Completion of 5,928.8 metres, for 61 diamond holes since January 2023.

· 2,006 samples for 1,744.5 metres of drill core still pending for assay analysis at the Kiziltepe Mine Laboratory (incl. QA/QC samples).

· Key intercepts from the latest batch of results include:

· SALH093: 7.2m @ 9.37g/t Au + 19.6g/t Ag - from 86.2 metres

including 1.4m @ 35.02g/t Au + 69.8g/t Ag - from 88.7 metres

· SALH092: 6.5m @ 3.69g/t Au + 4.4g/t Ag - from 108.1 metres

· SALH102: 11.05m @ 1.56g/t Au + 11.8g/t Ag - from 85.35 metres

Dr. Kerim Sener, Managing Director, commented:

"This is yet another great set of results from the Salinbas Project. Importantly, wide zones of high-to-moderate grade mineralisation are defined in a number of areas. Over 37,000 metres of drilling has now been undertaken in the wider Salinbas Project area, inclusive of Salinbas and Ardala, but also including the recent discovery area of Hizarliyayla to the south.

"Almost 40% of this drilling has been undertaken in the past two years alone, following the injection of US$8million into the project by Ozaltin Holding A.S. in 2021. The substantial acceleration of the project since then has now yielded the longest mineralised intercept ever recorded on the project at Ardala, the discovery of a potentially significant intermediate-sulphidation system at Hizarliyayla, and successful in-fill drilling results from the Salinbas deposit itself. These results collectively attest to the very high prospectivity of the region and continue to demonstrate that we remain at a very early stage in the overall development of this project area. We are confident that the broader Salinbas Project area represents the opportunity to build on the existing 1.5 million-ounce gold resource through further exploration and drilling.

"We are currently expecting to continue drilling at Salinbas over the winter, but this work will be weather dependent, and snow has already fallen earlier than expected in the region. In the meantime, we are awaiting receipt of additional data from several holes that were drilled in the area between Salinbas and Ardala. 

"We are currently modelling the available results and will integrate these with our current understanding of the mineral system to aid future drill targeting and resource development work. In addition, we have recently initiated a deep induced polarization (IP)/Resistivity geophysical survey at Hizarliyayla, to better resolve potential drilling targets at depth. We expect to announce some of the initial results from this survey and the drilling undertaken there in recent times within the coming months."

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").

Salinbas Drilling Programme

The following drilling update comprises the latest information from the Salinbas Project, not including Ardala and Hizarliyayla. The ongoing programme has remained active since late 2021, with the occasional break for bad weather and inaccessibility issues. The previous results for drilling undertaken largely during 2022 were announced on 25 January 2023. Results from H1 2023 were announced on 19 June 2023. This release aims to provide an update on drilling activities conducted on the project between June and October 2023.

The Salinbas Project, comprising the mineralisation encountered at Salinbas and Ardala, is located in north-eastern Turkey within the multi-million-ounce Artvin Goldfield. Drilling was focused in the Ardala area and on the zone between Ardala and Salinbas (AS Zone) since November 2021 (Figure 1), with the focus shifting to the Salinbas area for 2023, following the receipt of the necessary forestry permits. Across the project (including Ardala) a total of 13,921.7 metres has been drilled to date for 101 HQ diamond drill holes, with the top of the hole drilled in PQ due to a thick colluvium layer. Within this total, 5,928.8 metres for 61 holes were drilled at Salinbas.

Two drill rigs have been operating simultaneously across Salinbas-Ardala and one at Hizarliyayla, with the focus shifting to the Salinbas area more recently. The average depth of drilling at Salinbas has been approximately 90 metres, with a minimum depth of 20 metres and a maximum depth of 205 metres. The majority of drilling completed to date at Salinbas has been drilled vertically, with 8 holes angled at between 45 and 70 degrees.

Figure 1: Map showing the completed (green) and planned (blue) drillhole collar positions for the Salinbas Project. The AS Zone corresponds broadly to the eastern half of the area outlined in yellow which sits within the Ardala licence, closest to the Ardala Porphyry Complex.

 

The ongoing drilling programme at Salinbas has two primary objectives: Continue exploration step-out drilling and complete the first phase of resource infill drilling. Each of these objectives was discussed in further detail in the announcement of 19 June 2023. The focus of this release is to primarily discuss the progress of resource infill drilling completed within the Salinbas area.

 

Since January 2023, the Zenit team has completed 5,928.8 metres of resource infill drilling within the Salinbas area, for 61 new diamond holes. These drilling results add significant confidence to the existing resources, and allowing sufficient resolution to potentially upgrade the Resource Classification in areas which are currently classified as Inferred resources (Figure 2). Early results of this drilling (SALH076 - SALH090) were initially announced on 19 June 2023, and include:

 

· SALH087: 12.8m @ 1.34g/t Au + 3.3g/t Ag - from surface

· SALH077: 10.7m @ 1.19g/t Au + 16.5g/t Ag - from 82 metres

· SALH090: 3.5m @ 1.28g/t Au + 160.6g/t Ag - from 63.8 metres

The new results include the following 5 best intercepts, with the full list provided in Table 1:

· SALH093: 7.2m @ 9.37g/t Au + 19.6g/t Ag - from 86.2 metres

including 1.4m @ 35.02g/t Au + 69.8g/t Ag - from 88.7 metres

· SALH092: 6.5m @ 3.69g/t Au + 4.4g/t Ag - from 108.1 metres

· SALH102: 11.05m @ 1.56g/t Au + 11.8g/t Ag - from 85.35 metres

· SALH099A: 13.2m @ 0.97g/t Au + 12.9g/t Ag - from 115.6 metres

· SALH100: 5.45M @ 2.18g/t Au + 38.0g/t Ag - from 52.95 metres

An additional 2,005 samples for 1,744.5 metres of drill core from Salinbas are pending submission to the Kiziltepe Mine Laboratory for analysis.

 

Figure 2: Key intercepts shown on SW-NE cross section (looking NW) through the Salinbas area with mineralisation outlines shown in red. The 2023 drilling is identified by green collars.

 

All historic drilling, up to and inclusive of 2019 has defined the current JORC Measured, Indicated and Inferred Resource of 1.5 million ounces of gold (as announced on 30 July 2020) split between the high-grade Salinbas deposit and the lower-grade, high-tonnage Ardala Porphyry Complex. To date, 37,193.8 metres of drilling has been completed across 240 holes at Salinbas and Ardala.

 

Table 1: Significant gold and silver only intercepts calculated for all 2023 drilling to date, using a 0.5g/t Au minimum cut-off and allowing for up to one metre internal dilution. Intercepts calculated using KML data and supported by external laboratory results. Results shaded grey were previously announced on 19 June 2023.

 

Hole ID

From (m)

To (m)

Length (m)

Au (g/t)

Ag (g/t)

SALH076

97.3

104.3

7.0

2.55

20.5

including

98.3

99.3

1.0

7.72

7.6

SALH077

82.0

92.7

10.7

1.19

16.5

SALH082

0

3.1

3.1

1.12

3.2

SALH087

0

12.8

12.8

1.34

3.3

SALH088

0

2.0

2.0

1.52

5.3

SALH089

87

87.35

0.35

9.23

19.3

SALH090

56.2

60.1

3.9

0.58

25.4

63.8

67.3

3.5

1.28

160.6

SALH092

108.1

114.6

6.5

3.69

4.4

including

109.1

110.7

1.6

7.13

5.3

SALH093

86.2

98.8

7.2

9.37

19.6

including

88.7

90.1

1.4

35.02

69.8

SALH095

0

2.4

2.4

0.62

1.4

92.2

95.8

3.6

0.57

13.6

SALH099

121.9

123.2

1.3

1.14

11.1

SALH099A

96.5

97.4

0.9

0.51

3.6

115.6

128.8

13.2

0.97

12.9

SALH100

52.95

58.4

5.45

2.18

38.0

SALH101

73.8

77.3

3.5

1.68

33.8

SALH102

85.35

96.4

11.05

1.56

11.8

SALH104

105.8

111.1

5.3

1.03

3.2

SALH105

62.0

64.7

2.7

1.37

15.4

77.1

78.9

1.8

1.32

75.4

SALH106

104.6

110.5

5.9

0.78

3.6

114.5

115.4

0.9

0.53

0.8

SALH107

84.4

89.7

5.3

1.92

14.7

SALH108

41.4

42.4

1.0

3.55

73.2

45.5

48.5

3.0

1.72

62.7

 

 

Samples extracted from the Salinbas Project have been sent periodically in batches to the Kiziltepe Mine Laboratory ("KML") for analysis. This has resulted in temporary delays and backlogs of pending samples for the Salinbas Project as a whole. The requirement to introduce the Salinbas samples slowly was undertaken to mitigate high sample flow from other higher priority projects and to allow for sufficient calibration and testing of new instruments introduced to the mine laboratory through an expansion completed during 2021. The day-to-day operational samples from the Kiziltepe Mine, as well as the significant ongoing flow of samples from the development work underway at the Tavsan Project has also taken priority over the Salinbas analyses.

 

Litho-geochemical Review

 

Project wide geological studies continue within the scope of the current drilling programme in the Ardala and Salinbas areas. A geochemical review was carried out with the recent results from the core samples obtained from drilling. Geological units in the region were defined as litho-geochemical facies by using various machine learning algorithms such as PCA, SOM and clustering to cover every element in the geochemical analyses of the samples. Following the application of these algorithmic routines, nine litho-geochemical units were identified in the region and different zones of mineralisation were defined (Figure 3). As a result of further detailed studies in the mineralisation zones, element-based sub-zones of mineralisation were determined.

Figure 3: Simplified results of litho-geochemical study shown on SW-NE cross section (looking NW) through the Salinbas Project with potential mineralisation shown in red on drill strings, and previously modelled mineralisation shown in pink. 

Sampling and Assaying Procedures

All diamond drill core is currently being processed at the Ardanuc depo facility in Artvin and analysed at the Kiziltepe Mine Laboratory ("KML"). Results are assessed systematically and are grouped according to individual mineralised zones at the Salinbas Project.

 

HQ-size drill-core samples from the drilling programme at Salinbas and Ardala were cut in half by a diamond saw and sent for analysis in batches in line with the Company's quality control procedures. Core recovery for all drilling conducted at Salinbas during this campaign was 82%. 

 

To date, a total of 2,098 sample results for 2,290.9m of sampled drill core have been returned from the KML (plus 530 QA/QC samples). So far, 7% of all analysed samples have also been analysed by ALS Global in Izmir as an external laboratory check as part of the QA/QC procedures used for the project, with a 10% check rate to be achieved by the end of the drilling programme. Results are pending for a further 2,006 samples (including 424 QA/QC samples).

 

QA/QC sample insertion rates vary depending on the batch size accepted by the laboratory. Ariana sampling protocol requires the insertion of 4 QA/QC samples per batch including 1 blank, 1 CRM, 1 field duplicate and 1 pulp duplicate to assess the accuracy and precision of all stages of the sampling and analysis. During the 2021-2023 drilling, Zenit QA/QC protocol required 1 blank, 1 CRM, 1 field duplicate, 1 pulp duplicate and over 10% samples analysed at an external laboratory. The Zenit QA/QC protocol is under review by both Ariana and Zenit teams following the laboratory upgrade.

 

The KML has undergone an extensive expansion to meet the significant demands for sample assaying, from both the mining and exploration teams. This expansion is complete with the onsite laboratory, now housing seven furnaces, two ICP-OES instruments, two Atomic Absorption spectrometers (AAS), three drying ovens, three crushers and three pulverisers. The laboratory upgrades have allowed for a doubling of sampling throughput (70 samples per day to 135). The two major upgrades for 2021 included the addition of 1) a multi-element ICP-OES (Perkin Elmer Avio 550) analyser, and 2) an Elementrac CS-I sulphur-carbon analyser. The ICP-OES provides the team with a full suite of elements on selected samples (as opposed to just gold and silver).

 

However, new operating procedures are currently being internally reviewed and calibrations of the new instruments are being assessed. As part of this, the laboratory team are sending in excess of 10% of their crushed rejects from selected drill core samples to ALS Global in Izmir for check assays, with c.7% of the Salinbas samples also analysed at ALS. Zenit's internal QA/QC data and sample duplicates have been reviewed and are considered approved for Ariana's reporting purposes. In addition, since October 2022 KML has been accredited by the Turkish Accreditation Agency (TÜRKAK) with "TS EN ISO/IEC 17025:2017 General Requirements for the Competence of Experimental and Calibration Laboratory".

 

All samples were assayed for gold using a 30g fire assay. Multi-element ICP was used for copper, lead, molybdenum, and zinc analyses. Reviews of the assay results have determined that all Quality Control and Quality Assurance samples (blanks, standards, and duplicates) passed the required quality control checks established by the Company, with duplicate samples showing excellent correlation. Laboratory sample preparation, assaying procedures and chain of custody are appropriately controlled. Zenit maintains an archive of half-core samples and a photographic record of all cores for future reference.

 

Contacts:

 

Ariana Resources plc

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7407 3616

Michael de Villiers, Chairman

Kerim Sener, Managing Director

Beaumont Cornish Limited (Nominated Adviser)

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7628 3396

Roland Cornish / Felicity Geidt

Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited (Joint Broker)

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7886 2500

John Prior / Hugh Rich / Atholl Tweedie

WHIreland Limited (Joint Broker)

Harry Ansell / Katy Mitchell / George Krokos

Yellow Jersey PR Limited (Financial PR)

Tel: +44 (0) 207 2201666

 

Tel: +44 (0) 7983 521 488

Dom Barretto / Shivantha Thambirajah /Bessie Elliot

arianaresources@yellowjerseypr.com

 

Editors' Note:

 

The information that relates to Exploration Results is based upon information compiled by Mr Zack van Coller BSc (Hons), Special Projects Geologist, Ariana Resources plc. Mr van Coller has sufficient experience which is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposits under consideration and to the activity which he is undertaking 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). Mr van Coller has over 10 years of relevant experience in the Technical Assessments of Mineral Properties. Mr van Coller consents to the inclusion in the report of the matters based on his information in the form and context in which it appears.

 

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 pro?table 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 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 and is currently in construction. 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 Gold?eld, which contains the "Hot Gold Corridor" comprising several signi?cant 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, UK and Zimbabwe.

 

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 Mining Corporation (www.newmont.com) and is separately earning-in to up to 85% of the Slivova Gold Project.

 

Ariana owns 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 and WH Ireland Limited are brokers to the Company and Beaumont Cornish Limited is the Company's Nominated Adviser.

 

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

 

Glossary of Technical Terms:

 

"Ag" chemical symbol for silver;

 

"Au" chemical symbol for gold;

 

"g/t" grams per tonne;

 

"KML" Kiziltepe Mine Laboratory;

 

"m" Metres;

 

"oz" Ounces;

 

"PCA" Principal Component Analysis;

 

"ppm" parts per million;

 

"SOM" Self-organised Maps.

 

Ends.

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