Ariana Resources takes show on the road with rapid expansion beyond Turkey (AAU, 4A6)

If you have a business strategy that works, why would you want to change it?

Indeed, wouldn’t it make more sense to take an approach that you already know to be successful, and apply in other areas where it can generate even more value?

Well, that’s exactly what gold explorer and producer Ariana Resources (LON: AAU | FRA: 4A6) is doing right now.

You see, with its proven, highly successful approach continuing to gather increasingly impressive momentum in Turkey, this London-listed company is taking what it has learned into a growing number of new territories, increasing the upside on offer for both itself and its investors with every passing day.

And make no mistake, given the scale of geological potential across these new areas, this upside could be vast.

Here, Ariana’s managing director Dr. Kerim Sener walks Mining Maven through his firm’s exciting plans over the coming months and years.

How it works – the basis of a strong strategy

Sener tells us that Ariana’s approach to gold exploration and production in Turkey began with a focus on picking “relatively early-stage mineral development opportunities” which showed potential to become mines.

Then, from here, the firm has gone on to build these opportunities into producing mines and advanced development projects using successive drilling campaigns.

According to Sener, “it was a matter of identifying good in-country teams and good partnerships” that ultimately created such a solid platform on which to build the company.

And this foundation is extremely solid. In fact, in its latest annual report for 2020, Ariana revealed gold production of 18,645 ounces and pretax profit of just over £5 million.

Critically, thanks to this work, Ariana is now completely self-funded through its Turkish JV gold mining activities. In fact, the company’s last significant fund raise came over four years ago.

Beyond Turkey – Ariana pursues success further afield

As alluded to earlier, with Turkey continuing to deliver, Ariana has now taken its strategy even further afield.

“Our approach worked so well in Turkey that we recognized the opportunity to do the same thing and roll the same sort of strategy out elsewhere,” Sener explains.

In Cyprus, this expansion is taking place through Venus Minerals, where Ariana has an earn-in agreement for up to a 50% stake and into which they have already earned an entitlement to 37.5%.

Venus Minerals, active in Cyprus for over 15 years, is seeking to develop volcanogenic massive sulphide copper-gold deposits, and its main projects are Magellan and Mariner.

Magellan comprises three licence areas known as Kokkinoyia, Klirou, and New Sha sectors.

The three are Venus Metals’ most advanced projects, with JORC 2012 resources of approximately 9.5 million tonnes of ore with an average grade of 0.65% copper. All three also have indications of significant gold assays and all three have exploration upside, as reinforced in the latest drilling results from the Kokkinoyia Sector.

This puts a target of more than 10 million tonnes at a minimum of 0.5% copper, 0.5g/t gold, and 0.5% zinc well within reach.

Mariner, meanwhile, was acquired more recently and consists of two licences - Avdellero and Troulli. Venus Minerals analysed over 2,000 soil samples from Mariner and mapped over 10 square kilometres, finding several copper-zinc anomalies

Alongside, Cyprus, Ariana has also moved further into Eastern Europe now, too, with several exploration licence applications already submitted in Kosovo through Western Tethyan Resources (“WTR”). These include the Terpeza, Hertica, and Cecelia projects.

Previous trench results from Terpeza include an impressive 51m at 1.25 g/t gold, while drill intersections have returned 17m at 1.32 g/t gold and 24m at 1.65 g/t gold, 2% lead plus zinc.

Likewise, historical exploration has also been promising, returning above 1% lead and zinc over a kilometer-long structure. Finally, at Cecelia, a stream sampling programme found several significant gold anomalies, ranging between 0.2 and 2.2 parts per million gold.

Ariana will hold a 75% interest in WTR, after recently committing a further €100,000 of exploration funding in 2021. A local management team holds the other 25% WTR interest.

Other projects in Eastern Europe are also being assessed, with a focus on major copper-gold systems in areas like Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Bosnia.

Solid foundations - Turkey keeps on delivering riches for Ariana

Returning to Turkey, and Sener tells that us that he chose the country as Ariana’s kicking-off point after considering “a whole range of countries across the Tethyan Belt”.

Ultimately, he picked the country thanks to its stability and his own heritage.

“I am half Turkish. I was born there and spent the first four years of my life in Turkey before moving to the UK. I was naturally drawn to Turkey, and it was obvious from fairly early on that the country was going to be the focus for the company because of that,” Sener explains.

So why the Tethyan Belt in particular?

Well, the area is a major metal-producing belt that stretches all the way from Europe to the Himalayas and beyond. Sener compares it to “the Western seaboard of the Americas”, where the geology has created significant precious and base metal mineral systems running “from Alaska all the way down to the tip of Chile”.

He says the Tethyan belt is, like the Western seaboard of the Americas, highly prospective. However, it is vastly underexplored in comparison, due to the difficulties of working in some of these countries it scales, for example, Afghanistan.

Turkey has proven to be a great place for Ariana to have built its business.  The potential of the region immediately becomes clear when one looks at Kiziltepe, currently Ariana’s flagship project.

The mine has a depleted JORC Measured, Indicated, and Inferred Resource of 700,000 ounces of silver and 227,000 ounces of gold, as of April 2020.

Kiziltepe has been in profitable production since 2017 and is expected to deliver around 20,000 ounces of gold a year until at least the mid-2020s.

Meanwhile, at the Kepez North area of the Kiziltepe Sector, drilling demonstrated potential for a northwest-trending high-grade mineralised shoot. This will be part of a revised resource estimate – now showing potential for a substantial boost in grade.

Elsewhere in Turkey, the Salinbas project is still a major opportunity for Ariana’s future growth, situated only 16km from the 4-million-ounce Hot Maden project.

Credit for much of the firm’s success to far goes to Ariana’s “almost 100% Turkish team,” which Sener calls “the best of the best in the business, certainly in Turkey”.

This team truly is impressive, boasting a remote-sensing specialist and in-house capabilities in areas like geophysics and geochemistry.

“Although we may be a relatively small company on the junior end of the market, we punch well above our weight,” Sener proclaims.

What’s next? – Ariana’s path to success

With a strong team already in place, Sener says Ariana’s aim is to demonstrate that it can operate within the framework of its joint ventures (“JVs”) successfully, maintaining “stable and robust” partnerships.

Sener believes that, at this point, there’s nothing stopping the company’s growth, especially given its “very sound financial footing”.

Being self-funded alone is a very valuable quality for a miner, especially one of Ariana’s size.

Indeed, the fact that the firm is not returning to the market for funds, which would likely dilute shareholder value, is worth anyone’s attention.

But perhaps most importantly, the company’s market capitalisation has already climbed “from a couple of million pounds” to almost £55 million at the time of writing. 

And today, given the company’s proven model for taking projects from exploration and into production and considering the exploration and expansion into new geological environments that are already underway…

This figure only stands to increase by even greater multiples.

As Sener himself puts it:

“If we can go from £2 million to £55 million in the space of fifteen years, you know, what’s the next ten or fifteen years going to bring? I imagine significant, further growth.”

Bottom line is, now is an excellent time to invest and potentially reap the long-term rewards, with Ariana all set to replicate its solid strategy in new and exciting locations

Author: Anna Farley

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not own a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article's content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

Ariana celebrates as gold confirmed in Cypus at Kokkinoyia Sector (AAU)

Exciting news from Ariana Resources (LON: AAU) on Wednesday as it revealed that gold is now confirmed at the Kokkinoyia Sector of the Cyprus-based Magellan project.

Venus Minerals currently owns 100% of the project but Ariana is continuing its earn-in for a 50% stake. At present, the company’s entitlement is 26%.

The three-month drilling programme at Kokkinoyia ended in early June and involved more than 1,500 metres (“m”) of drilling. This confirmed that gold is a “significant component of the Kokkinoyia deposit”, returning an average grade of 128.77m at 0.5% copper plus 0.55 grams per ton (“g/t”) of gold in the mineralised zone.

Kerim Sener, the firm’s managing director, said the “excellent results” from Kokkinoyia confirm the company’s expectation that the “deposit represents a copper-gold volcanogenic massive sulphide system”.

Sener went on to highlight that where drilling intercepted underground development “substantial grades of both copper and gold were identified”.

This indicates that “much of the back-fill used was also significantly mineralised”. Grades from the mine waste dumps at surface also reflect this.

One particularly significant drilling intercept from the first hole at Kokkinoyia, VMD001, is 11m at 1.11% copper plus 1.05g/t gold – including underground development back-fill with 2m at 2.05% copper plus 2.50g/t gold.

Another notable VMD001 intercept was 5.87m at 0.53% copper plus 4.55g/t gold – again including underground development back-fill, this time with 1.37m at 0.41% copper plus 12.75g/t gold. A 12m at 0.99% copper plus 0.29g/t gold intercept was also found at VMD001.

Results from the first hole will help confirm the JORC Resource Estimate for Kokkinoyia. This is currently approximately 5 million tonnes at 0.7% copper, for 36,000 tonnes of copper (JORC inferred).

Assay results from the other eight holes at Kokkinoyia are still pending, awaiting assaying at ALS Laboratory Services in Ireland.

Ariana explained that, historically, all Kokkinoyia drill holes were vertical, making VMD001 the first inclined hole in to the deposit. The goal with VMD001 was “to test and link mineralisation between several historic holes”.

The other pending holes are also inclined, helping sufficiently test the entire Kokkinoyia West area of the existing resource.

The company further commented on the discovery of a “new extended zone of mineralisation” at Kokkinoyia from 120m to 177m and believed historic drilling in the surrounding area has yet to sample to such depths.

If any further results support this observation, it could result in additional Kokkinoyia resource growth at depth.

It is significant that “gold assay results at Kokkinoyia were historically non-existent to minimal”, meaning gold was never an economic focus when it came to mining the deposit. Now, though, the deposit keeps on demonstrating significant gold potential.

Not only have results from the first drill hole boosted confidence in historic drilling but, if the other holes show similar results, confidence in the future Kokkinoyia JORC Mineral Resource Estimate will increase — “with the inclusion of a significant gold component”.

Sener noted the “substantial” progress from Venus’s Cyprus team in the past year, with these new results vindicating Ariana’s “strategy to diversify our regional interests in Europe”. He concluded by saying that the company looks forward to accelerating its Venus earn-in.

Author: Anna Farley

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not own a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article's content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

ECR Minerals’ Australia work programme approved “in record time” (ECR)

ECR Minerals (LON: ECR) on Wednesday announced the approval of work programmes for three of its Australian exploration permits “in record time”.

The exploration permit (“EPM”) licences are in its Lolworth District licence territories, located in North Queensland. While the company is still awaiting approval for the licences, the next stage of the process can begin.

First, the EMPs will be advertised. After that comes a four-month consultation period. ECR’s directors expect the licences should be granted in around six months’ time and further announcements will follow then.

Chief executive Craig Brown commented that the firm had “received work programme approval back in record time to complete the EPM application process.”

Once the licences are approved, all three will be valid for a five-year initial period, with the right to apply for extension of up to fifteen years. The initial five years will allow the firm to complete its planned exploration programme.

The company noted that its licences will be held in the name of its 100%-owned Australian subsidiary, LUX Exploration.

The EPMs - EPM 27901, 27902 and 27903 – cover a 900 km2 area of “highly prospective ground” in the Lolworth Range. This area is 200km from Townsville and 30km north of Pentlands.

ECR noted that the area “contains metamorphic rocks of the Charters Towers Province”, hosting former large-scale gold producing centres like 6.6-million-ounce Charters Tower and 3.5-million-ounce Ravenswood.

However, do note that the firm has not independently validated these numbers so they are for guidance only.

Still, the area’s basement and structural geology are not well understood, suggesting the possibility of finding new deposits.

On top of which, the area also has reported rhyolitic volcanics, which host gold deposits in the region, including the more than 2.5-million-ounce Mount Leyshon and over 1-million-ounce Mount Wright.

In fact, Brown said historical data in the area found “regional deposits, including Charters Towers have produced over 24m Oz in total gold production over the years”.

Not only that but the company’s desktop study of historic exploration data, gathered in the late 1980s, discovered that the areas returned “anomalous gold stream sediment sample results”.

The area on the southern boundary of the application area contains the “rich alluvial gold deposits of the Cape River and Gorge Creek area”, draining the southern Lolworth Range.

The east boundary of EPMs 27902 and 27903 is bordered by exploration permits that explore the Lolworth dyke swarm. This is a system, trending north-west and containing not only gold but also copper and molybdenum.

Additionally, historic sample data found tin-tungsten mineralisation in EPM 27902’s western areas, with no detailed follow-up work.

Brown said ECR’s “strong cash position” has made it possible to continue with “aggressive drilling programmes”.  It already operates two diamond drill rigs at its Victoria projects Bailieston and Creswick.

Meanwhile, he added, the company’s team at Bendigo are still assessing core and drill data. Thanks to leadership from geologist Adam Jones, the firm now has “the capacity to aggressively pursue and develop this new opportunity”.

“I am confident that our ongoing drilling operations across multiple high-profile gold targets will expose ECR to potential new gold discoveries, and I look forward to updating shareholders again in the near term,” Brown concluded.

Author: Anna Farley

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not own a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article's content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

 

Kavango raises £2 million as ambitious KSZ drill programme expands (KAV)

Kavango Resources (LON: KAV) on Monday announced not only an expansion of its Kalahari Suture Zone drill programme but also an almost £2 million placing.

To start with, there’s the expansion of the Kalahari Suture Zone (“KSZ”) drilling programme in Botswana. This now involves drilling an impressive 550m borehole through Target B1, once operations at Target A2 & Target C1 are complete.

Mindea Exploration and Drilling Services (“Mindea”), the drill operator, began drilling at the KSZ in June with two ‘proof of concept’ geological holes. Mindea started with A2, and will proceed to C1 before moving on to B1.

Target B1 itself measures 475m by 550m and has a conductance of approximately 8,200 Siemens as well as an estimated decay constant of more than 350ms. While A2 and C1 share the same geological corridor, B1’s geological setting is separate and distinct.

The company said Spectral Geophysics will be performing “immediate down hole electromagnetic (“EM”) surveys” on all boreholes upon completion.

So far, Spectral has conducted Time Domain Electromagnetic (“TDEM”) surveys on six target areas. These identified drill targets in A2, C1, and B1 but not A1 or D.

Analysis of Target Area B2 data is still ongoing, with two more TDEM surveys planned for Target Area B, including on for Target B1.

Chief executive Ben Turney said the negative A1 and D1 results bring “a high degree of comfort”, since they means that the TDEM surveys are selectively identifying EM conductors. This is proof that the firm is “using the right remote sensing technology to define specific drill targets”.

As previously announced, 49% Mindea shareholder Equity Drilling and Kavango are in talks to form a strategic drilling partnership. Equity Drilling is currently “owned and run by highly experienced African drill operators”.

Options on the table include Kavango’s potential acquisition of two drill rigs as well as support vehicles which would form a “dedicated team” across the firm’s project portfolio.

The company said that any such partnership would be “subject to due diligence” and is expected to involve both cash and share payments. More announcements will follow.

Turning to the placing, then, First Equity placed 35.3 million new shares on Kavango’s behalf with institutional and other investors at a 5.5p per share price. This was only a 5% discount to the share price at the time.

The firm’s shares were trading higher, in fact, on Monday—up 3.5% at 6p each.

The placing involves a one-for-one warrant for all placing participants, with an 8.5p per shar exercise price for a two-year period.Warrants are subject to an acceleration clause, meaning that if Kavango’s shares close at more than 17p for five trading days then the company can give notice of an accelerated exercise with a ten-day deadline for payment.

Gross funds raised amount to £1.94 million.

Certain directors are in talks to potentially take part in a subscription on the same terms as the fundraise, with an announcement to follow later this week if they reach an agreement.

Turney said that while “Kavango is already well financed”, its budget was designed for “a specific work programme” with “a certain amount of drilling in 2021” while the company pursued if ‘proof of concept’ objective in the KSZ.

However, he explained, the board has now realised that its projects need “much more extensive campaigns”.

In response, the firm has advanced its Equity Drilling talks “about instigating much larger drill programmes” whish respond to Kavango’s “rapid progress” so far in the fiel 

The chief executive highlighted the “minimal discount and an excellent price” for the financing, reflecting the strength of the company’s position. 

“With our general overheads already budgeted for, Kavango will now deploy the new funds into pursuing our ambition of making one or more major mineral discoveries,” Turney concluded.

 

Author: Anna Farley

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, does not own a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article's content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance

 

Seven drill-ready targets identified at Kavango and Power Metal’s promising Ditau project (KAV, POW)

Power Metal Resources (LON: POW) and Kavango Resources (LON: KAV) revealed on Friday that they have identified seven drill-ready targets for their Ditau project in Botswana.

The pair are seeking Rare Earth Elements (“REEs”) at Ditau under a 50:50 joint venture (“JV”), and identified the targets after geophysical and geochemical surveys spanning twelve prospective areas were completed.

Each of the seven targets has a “possible carbonatite intrusive body” in range of reverse circulation (“RC”) drilling are within 300m depth.

Three targets—I1, I4, and I10—are now classified as high priority.

I1 is an “intense magnetic dipole” spanning 17km by 8km. The depth to source is shallow, less than 100m, with the target likely sitting just beneath the Kalahari sands. I1 is at the intersection of two major regional fault lines.

Testing so far has identified anomalous niobium values at I1, a REE used for a number of superconducting materials as well as industrial alloys.

Target I4, meanwhile, spans 7.5km by 5km and, like I1, has a shallow depth to source – fewer than 100m.

I10 spans 2.5km by 2.8km and geophysics found “high AMT resistivity, coincidental with a gravity high”. This follows surveying with Audio-frequency Magneto-tellurics (“AMT”) and gravity surveying to assess density.

There are seventeen rare earth elements, all of which are metals, grouped together in the periodic table and usually found together in deposits. The group includes yttrium as well as the fifteen lanthanide elements. Scandium, which is found in the majority of REEs deposits, is sometimes considered a REE as well.

REEs are used in a large number of devices, including magnets, rechargeable batteries, computers, and mobile phones. Demand for these elements has skyrocketed as these kinds of devices become ubiquitous.

While REEs are found worldwide, China is the dominant player, with Chinese mines producing over 55% of the world’s global mining output for REEs in 2020.

Paul Johnson, Power Metal’s chief executive, said it is “extremely positive to be able to confirm high priority drill targets at Ditau in Botswana”, especially as its strategic objective is to discover REEs “at a time when the world is seeking secure and safe supply sources”.

Should the upcoming Ditau drill programme find the hoped-for REEs deposits, then he believes “Ditau will become an extremely valuable project”.

Ben Turney, Kavango’s new chief executive, added that the seven drill targets are “particularly encouraging”.

“Carbonatite hosted deposits of Rare Earth Elements hold significant strategic and commercial value. Kavango’s targets are relatively shallow, which should make it straightforward to determine this project's potential,” Turney noted.

The two companies have another Botswana JV, the South Ghanzi project in the Kalahari Copper Belt.

In June, the two reported excellent results from soil sampling at the Morula target at South Ghanzi. As soon as the JV partners obtain the necessary Environmental Management Plan for South Ghanzi, drilling will start at Morula. 

Separately, Kavango is set to start drilling at its Kalahari Suture Zone project in Botswana – announcing in June that it would start drilling there by the end of that month.

“We look forward to revisiting Ditau later this year, once we've completed our other high-impact drill campaigns,” Turney said.

Author: Anna Farley

The Author does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, owns a position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the piece.

MiningMaven Ltd, the owner of MiningMaven.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

MiningMaven.com and MiningMaven Ltd are not responsible for the article's content or accuracy and do not share the views of the author. News and research are not recommendations to deal, and investments may fall in value so that you could lose some or all of your investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance