Okapi to fast-track Tendao gold exploration
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Special Report: Okapi Resources’ recent move to acquire an initial 50 per cent of the Tendao gold project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo could be transformational.
Tendao is in the Kilo-Moto Greenstone Belt which also hosts Barrick Gold’s 13 million ounce Kibali gold project, amongst others.
Okapi Resources (ASX:OKR) managing director Nigel Ferguson said “the company had been targeting the prolific Kilo-Moto Belt, and that it had been looking at Tendao for several years now”.
Tendao is located immediately to the west of Amani Gold’s (ASX:ANL) Giro project, which currently has a resource of +3 million ounces of gold.
Tendao could be of comparable size to Giro. Ferguson told Stockhead that Okapi had an exploration target of between 1moz and 5moz of gold, subject to drilling results within the project area.
With Okapi’s strategic stake in Amani, he also raised the potential for the two companies to co-operate on numerous fronts.
“We are going to be assisting Amani, they will help us in turn; if we need a new road put in lets split the cost, for example,” he said.
Ferguson added that the company will hit the ground running at Tendao, where previous owners had already identified seven priority areas and several drill-ready targets.
“The plan is to be extremely aggressive on the ground. The first structure we are going to drill is around 2km long. We have an intensive area of artisanal mining down to about 30m. And that area is 300-400m wide and about 800m long,” Ferguson said.
“It outcrops up again a little further along strike, it goes through some low-lying cover areas then it comes up again further along the strike distance.
“And that is just one target of several area. We have another two target areas within that one zone.
“There is another area to the north called Ao. Ao is another target area of about 5km strike length with multiple stacked zones that we believe has the potential for significant gold resources.”
Ferguson said “the company was aiming to get a resource out in 12 months”.
The company plans to have a team of geologists and their support on site in late October while the drilling company is waiting to sign off on the contract.
“I expect to start drilling in early November. We will also be doing mapping and soil sampling in other areas to generate additional targets. There is a complete database of geophysics – magnetics and radiometrics – that we will obtain and reprocess so that it is up to speed. We will probably be able to generate even more targets from that too,” Fergusson added.
“The reverse circulation rig will test those regional targets as they develop and we might put some diamond holes so we can good, early geological information. Then it is a case of stepping out with up to three rigs..”
Ferguson also voiced his confidence in the company’s ability to secure funding.
“We are buying an initial 50 per cent interest in Tendao Project for $US7.5m and we still have to fund everything else along the way. We have had Canadian entities interested in funding us, we have had Australian entities also positive about it. So we think we can probably raise somewhere between $10 and $16m initially.”
Tendao was first mined in the early 1900s and has recorded historical drill hits of up to 43.3 grams per tonne gold.
It covers a total area of 1,400sqkm and consists of five exploitation licences that are just 20km west of Kibali.
This area hosts numerous sites of historical bedrock and placer gold mining, many of which are being exploited by local artisanal gold miners.
“Tendao is transformational in terms of scale, it has the potential to be a company-maker. It complements the strategy of having projects with significant potential,” Ferguson said.