In highly encouraging news for Oriole Resources (LSE:ORR), the company revealed on Wednesday that the year four exploration programme at the Senala gold project is now underway. 

The firm’s joint venture (“JV”) partner, IAMGOLD (NYSE: IAG), is conducting the programme and can earn a 70% interest in the Senegalese project by spending up to $8 million.

The latest programme involves around 11,000 metres (“M”) of reverse circulation (“RC”) and diamond drilling at Senala’s Faré and Madina Bafé prospects.

Oriole said it expects results from the first phase of the exploration programme, which focuses on the northernmost Faré prospect, in the third quarter of 2021. The company believes Faré “has the potential to be a standalone deposit”.

Already, diamond drilling is complete for 609m in two holes. Plans for 5,000m  of RC drilling for 42 holes underway right now, focusing on the strongest anomalies from recent aircore drilling.

These strongest anomalies, up to 2.58 grams per tonne of gold, and were found at three fences at the Faré North sub-prospect plus two fences at the Faré Far South sub-prospect.

Tim Livesey, Oriole’s chief executive, said the firm was “very pleased to see the drill programme underway at Faré” given its own previous successful intersections, which included 20m grading 31.1 grams per tonne of gold and 59.60m grading 2.20 grams per tonne.

IAMGOLD will direct the second phase towards drilling Senala’s southernmost Madina Bafé prospect – located within just 10 kilometres of IAMGOLD’s 2.5 million-ounce Boto mine development project.

This second phase will involve 5,000m of RC drilling in 42 holes, testing a northeast corridor recently “subject to artisanal mining”. This drilling is set to start next month and IAMGOLD is already opening RC fence lines and constructing the drill pad. There will be 400m of diamond drilling in this phase, aiming to “test a mineralised shear corridor”.

Livesey said IAMGOLD’s advanced preparation for Madina Bafé is “a positive sign”, following on from the JV partner’s earlier work there in 2018/19.

Once the year four expenditure plan is complete, IAMGOLD will have earned the right to acquire up to 51% interest in Senala. It will need to spend an additional $4 million over two years for a 70% interest.

As Livesey pointed out, “Oriole remains free carried throughout this work”. This means the company can dedicate funds to exploration in Cameroon, with a maiden drill programme at its Bibemi project already showing “great promise”.

The chief executive also pointed to the “extensive stream sediment sampling programme” taking place in Cameroon on its “district-scale Central Licence Package” and currently “well underway”.

“IAMGOLD continues to advance the neighbouring Boto mine development target, with a planned spend of $60 million this year to fund detailed engineering and infrastructure development, including a permanent camp, year-round access road and an airstrip. We continue to engage proactively with the IAMGOLD team and wish them success in their exploration efforts,” Livesey concluded.

Author: Anna Farley

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