Creating a high-quality gold project is like solving a complex jigsaw puzzle in many ways.

It takes dedication to put each of the pieces together, bit by bit, until the project takes shape.

In this vein, Cora Gold (LON: CORA) looks to be on the verge of assembling something truly transformational at its fully-funded Sanankoro project in Mali following its recent delivery of another set of powerful drilling results.

Indeed, as with every piece before it, this latest piece in the puzzle considerably strengthens the case for Sanankoro being a game-changing gold project that could generate huge returns for investors.

Here, Cora’s chief executive Bert Monro examines the Sanankoro opportunity in depth, walking Mining Maven through his firm’s latest batch of impressive results and its planned milestones moving forward.

Sanankoro delivers yet again

Cora’s latest drilling results are the ninth batch from its biggest-ever drill campaign at Sanankoro, where it is focused on expanding its existing resources and increasing confidence in its results.

As Monro explains:

“Our business is trying to move towards completion of the feasibility study, then moving into construction of a gold mine as quickly as possible.”

The next piece of the puzzle, then, is to convert the existing inferred resources at Sanankoro to indicated.

An inferred resource is the portion of a mineral resource based on limited information in terms of geology and sampling. An indicated mineral resource, on the other hand, is more concrete, with enough evidence to support planning a mine and evaluating the economics of a deposit.

To make this conversion requires drilling, and Cora has been working tirelessly to do just that.

Monro notes that the grades and widths from the company’s ninth set of results are “excellent”, with “a lot of high-grade material”.

Among the highlights is a reading of 49m at 15.55 grams per ton (“g/t”) of gold, including 8m at 89.12 g/t gold from 99m.

Another great result was 32m at 7.83 g/t gold, including 4m at 53.86 g/t gold from 45m, as well as 12m at 6.37 g/t gold including 5m at 14.17 g/t gold from 95m.

There was also a result of 32m at 3.25 g/t gold, including 4m at 10.18 g/t gold from 72m.

These findings come from the firm’s phase 2 programme at the Selin deposit, which targets drilling beneath the existing pit shell.

Monro says intersecting such strong mineralisation grades and widths under the existing pit shell base is encouraging, and should have positive implications when it comes to updating the resource.

The CEO is particularly excited about the potential scale of high-grade oxide mineralisation, with Sanankoro’s oxide zone  being especially deep. The benefit of an oxide is that it’s what’s known as ‘free digging’, meaning it can be mined cost-effectively.

As Monro explains, a major advantage of Sanankoro is it has a “much deeper oxide zone than a lot of projects in west Africa”.

Combined with the excellent grades coming through from the surface, the impressive depth of oxides makes for a powerful project.

Fully funded exploration in just the right location

Aside from the grades and oxide mineralisation, there are many other elements that come together to make Sanankoro so appealing.

For one thing, as mentioned, the project benefits from a fully-funded term sheet based on a heap leach scoping study.

Not only that but, as Monro notes, “large, significant shareholders have been very supportive” of the asset. This will help finance the gold mine at Sanankoro once the DFS completes,

“It sets us apart from a number of other companies, having early financing in place,"  Monro comments.

All-in-all, a comfortable cash reserve to support the DFS and a fully-funded term sheet, based on the heap leach scoping study, is a compelling combination for Cora.

Plus, it’s another piece of that gold project puzzle to slot into place.

Then there’s Sanankoro’s location on the Yanfolila shear zone.

Yanfolila is home to numerous mines and gold projects, including Hummingbird Resources’ (LON: HUM) 1.8-million-ounce Yanfolila gold mine.

On top of that, there’s Mali itself, which has had a commercial gold mining industry for more than 25 years.

As Monro says, this has given the country plenty of time to build “an excellent, educated workforce” to help bring projects to fruition.

Working in a country like Mali, with “an amazing track record” when it comes to big discoveries, is a definite benefit.

The Sanankoro project itself also has great infrastructure, including a tarmac road within just 30 kilometres.

Together, these extra benefits make the investment case for Cora even stronger. Combined with the stellar results so far Sanankoro, and the strong funding situation, it’s no wonder the company’s shares have seen so much growth…

Growth and change around the corner – investors taking notice

Looking at Sanankoro as a puzzle, it’s clear Cora has already assembled all the pieces and is putting them in the right places. All the corners are there, so to speak, and the project taking shape is already impressive.

This progress has not gone unnoticed.

The company’s shares are up an impressive 62% year-to-date and 27% on a one-month basis. This is clearly a company picking up speed, with more and more news expected as the drill programme at Sanankoro continues apace.

Given the recent lull in mining investment, this kind of growth is particularly impressive.

With more results set to come, as drilling continues, Monro expects newsflow to remain strong.

As Monro says:

“It’s an exciting project with superb results and we’re looking to deliver significant growth and change in the business over the coming year.”

With interest in Cora already growing, the time for investment could well be at hand.