Africa-focused gold and base metals explorer Oriole Resources (LSE:ORR) has hit a key milestone, dispatching its drill rig to Cameroon to begin its maiden gold exploration project in the country.

The diamond drilling project at Bibemi will now start before the end of 2020, the company said. 

A team of engineers have also completed detailed geological mapping at the northern extension of the high-grade Bakassi zone, as well as recon mapping over the southern extension. 

Experts have now identified 17 initial drill holes which will test the depth-extension of gold mineralisation across 1,940m, with further drill targets expected from large-scale data analysis. 

It’s confirmation of the fact that the 200sq km of licenses at Bibemi have produced “encouraging results from the very beginning,” Oriole’s CEO Tim Livesey said. 

The Boart Longyear diamond drill rig will arrive in Cameroon via Senegal and ancillary drill equipment is en route from South Africa by sea, Oriole noted. 

It is expected to arrive on site in early December 2020 and the drill camp to support the company’s biggest project to date is being constructed in advance of arrival. Due to Covid-19 restrictions the schedule was delayed for three weeks, but everything is now progressing to plan, Oriole said. Drill pad construction has already been completed.


New and existing shareholders

In October, Oriole announced it had raised £1.9m — over half its entire market cap at the time — to progress its two early-stage Cameroon gold projects: Bibemi and Wapouze.

Rock chip sampling taken in Q3 2018 across the central Bakassi area — where Bibemi and Wapouzé are located — produced results including 135.4g/t gold, 119.7g/t gold and 117.2g/t gold.

Both projects sit on Pan-African greenstone gold belts and present the opportunity to exploit potentially high-grade gold mineralisation. Oriole successfully renewed licenses for the two in early October 2020. 

The company is in its third year of investment to earn-in a 90% interest here by spending $3.12 million over four years. Oriole’s interests in the region are 100%-held by local company BEIG3, through its wholly-owned subsidiary RMC Cameroon SARL. Completing a total of 3,000m of drilling will see the company satisfy its earn-in conditions. 

The company intends to begin plans for a drill programme at the 180sq km Wapouzé in 2021. 

Livesey, a former exploration manager at the world’s second-largest gold miner, New York-listed Barrick Gold (NYSE:GOLD), added “The mobilisation of the drill rig is a key milestone in the work stream and we are working hard to ensure a clean passage in anticipation of drilling commencing before the end of the year

We are confident that Bibemi will continue to build on the good results we’ve already yielded and it will be great to get some vertical extension to the trends the team have already identified on surface.” 

Positive in Senegal

Oriole is also celebrating exceptional results from its more advanced third gold project at Senala in Senegal. 

A November market update noted how a 10,000m air-core drilling campaign by its JV partner Iamgold will restart work in November 2020. The NYSE-listed Canadian giant completed 1,300m of air-core drilling at the Faré prospect in June and July 2020. It has the option to spend $8m to earn a 70% interest in Senala. 

Initial results from Senala are due in Q1 2021. And Oriole’s latest data analysis from earlier reverse circulation drilling has revealed best results of 20m at 31.13g/t gold, including 10m at a stunning 60.98g/t gold. 

Reinterpreted results from diamond drilling completed in 2014 has uncovered lengthy intercepts of 59.6m at 2.2g/t gold and 49.5m at 1.75g/t gold.


Oriole’s team now believe Faré has significant potential to host a standalone deposit by itself. 

“As we have seen from recent drilling on other licences in the immediate surrounds of Senala, long intercepts with grades well in excess of 2 g/t gold can quickly build the types of volumes required for standalone mineable resources,” Livesey noted.

Among Fare’s results are 14m at 2.94g/t gold, 5.15m at 2.92g/t gold and 10m at 4.12g/t gold. With over 6km of mineralised strike length Fare adds significant value to the Senala license, Livesey added. 

And Faré is just one of five mineralised zones in the Senala license where exploration is already underway. 


Author: Mark Sheridan

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