The latest drilling results from Oriole Resources (LON: ORR) have shored up the company’s faith in the Faré prospect’s potential to become a stand-alone gold mining operation.

On Thursday, the explorer announced that it has now completed air core drilling at the Senegal-based Senala project, reporting best values of 2.58 grams per tonne (“g/t”) gold, as well as 0.64 g/t and 0.62 g/t from the Faré prospect. This not only supports but also enhances prior gold anomalies.

On top of this, results found that most of the anomalism at northernmost prospect Faré is in situ.

Chief executive Tim Livesey said the company has “always believed” in Faré’s potential to host a resource that “could form the basis of a stand-alone mining operation.” These new results lend even more support to that view.

Next steps

Joint venture partner IAMGOLD (NYSE: IAG) plans to follow the strong results so far with an extensive 5,000 metres of reverse circulation drilling.

IAMGOLD has the option to spend up to $8 million and earn a 70% interest in Senala.

Based on results from this reverse circulation drilling, around 400 metres of diamond drilling will take place in order to find the best new target. Another two holes will also test the depth extension of the Faré South main mineralised zone.

This programme will test anomalies found along strike from previous drilling at Faré North as well as the Faré Far South prospect, where drilling is yet to take place.

Oriole has faith this work will confirm historic Faré Far South results, where intersections include 20 metres grading 31.13 g/t gold, including 10 metres grading 60.98 g/t.

While it would be remiss to leave out IAMGOLD’s underspending on its year three commitment at Senala, chief executive Tim Livesey expressed disappointment over the hiccup rather than concern.

The two firms are in talks on how to address this under terms of their option agreement and IAMGOLD has asked for its underspend to be carried over into year four. IAMGOLD’s additional drill plans will, as you’d expect, require an agreed resolution from both firms. 

Livesey said Oriole is eager to agree a way forward with the joint venture partner. It will get an extended work plan proposal from IAMGOLD shortly, which it hopes can capture the underspend plus a year four commitment. Obviously, Oriole reserves its right to give notice for failure to achieve the agreement’s terms.

“Although we are disappointed that IAMGOLD has missed its spending and work commitment for year 3, Senala is an exciting asset in a very prospective mineral belt, surrounded by a number of large and encouraging deposits, and the company has a number of options available to deliver value at Senala,” Livesey said. 

Other promising projects

Senala is far from Oriole’s only project, as the company got recent approval for five new licences in central Cameroon, while a subsidiary of its BEIG3 partner was granted another three licences. These add up to a “district-scale licence package” covering 3,592 square kilometres.

BEIG3 and associate Roxanna Minerals will have a 10% collective interest in all Oriole Cameroon licences up to the minimum measured and indicated resources of 50,000 ounces of gold. BEIG3 will also have a 10% interest in each of its Reservoir Minerals Cameroon subsidiary’s licences under the same terms.

Regional-scale mapping and sampling will take place later in the first half of the year, alongside ongoing programmes at its Bibemi and Wapouzé early-stage gold exploration projects – also in Cameroon.

Gold prices are widely predicted to recover, as the reality of the ongoing pandemic and the huge amounts of US debt issued to help tackle it dampen false optimism of an end to Covid-19. This likely-temporary dip, as well as strong potential for future discoveries, makes a good case for Oriole. 

Author: Anna Farley

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