Recently Mining Maven caught up with Kerim Sener, Managing Director of Ariana Resources (LON:AAU). The interview was recorded on 22nd October following results from the company’s Salinbas gold project.

Your results last week coincided with your presentation at FINEX, where Salinbas was used as an exploration case study. Can you tell me what FINEX is and how the presentation went?

FINEX is a conference held every two years to allow the geological exploration scene to meet one-to-one with the City. We had a great reception to our presentation, where we talked through the Salinbas project from before we wholly-owned it all the way to last week’s announcement.

What have you been doing with Salinbas since you acquired it outright in 2016?

Firstly, very good work was done by the previous joint venture following the discovery of Salinbas in 2008. For example, it was taken through several drilling programmes and given a first resource. Since 2013/14, the focus has moved away from drilling and onto technical work to keep the licences in good standing.

When we took control of the project, we wanted to pull apart our understanding of the mineralisation’s distribution. This involved re-mapping the entire project area to better understand what is controlling mineralisation right along the Hot Gold Corridor. We also wanted to see how the individual mineralisation styles relate to each other.

We have been very successful here, pulling together an excellent geological understanding. We have also completed a geochemical programme over the whole Hot Gold Corridor. This superior understanding allowed to start making further discoveries that coincided precisely with where we expected to find mineralisation.

Can you talk me through the highlights of last week’s announcement and your expectation for the 2000m of RC drilling you have planned at Salinbas in Q2 2019?

Last week’s announcement relates to sampling we carried out over a particular part of the JORC exploration target identified in June. Our expectation was for a sizable increase in Salinbas’s resource potential because we recognised three potential areas of mineralisation – Salinbas North, Salinbas South and Salinbas Main Extension.

Salinbas Main Extension lies immediately on the northern flank of the Salinbas orebody and was an area that had not been sampled adequately. However, we recognised that there was an extension of the mineralised system in that direction. So, to test that area, we completed a sampling programme over the JORC exploration target area and the Salinbas Main Extension, the results of which were released last week.

We are highly satisfied with the results as they demonstrate that we do have continuity to the north there and, potentially, over 500m of strike. That is another tick in the box for our predictions coming good and leads into the drilling programme we have planned for next year.

We will initially do 2,000m of RC drilling, which is essentially a sub-set to the 10,000m we have already planned out for Salinbas. We cannot drill the entire 10,000m yet because we are still pursuing forestry permits. However, we can drill this 2,000m subset without forestry permits, so we are planning to commit to that drilling programme early next year.

You have drawn parallels with the Hot Maden project, which also lies on the Hot Gold Corridor. Following last week’s results, are you now even more confident there is a correlation?

There is definitely some correlation in the sense that the Hot Gold Corridor running through both Hot Maden and our project is part of the same mineralised system. In some of the drilling that took place on the Eastern flank of Salinbas back in 2013, we discovered intercepts of mineralisation akin to those documented at Hot Maden. What we can draw from this is that there may be other porphyries sitting underneath the Salinbas orebody, making our exploration potential even more exciting. This is certainly something we need to follow up on in further drilling and testing work. It is not just a story of finding Salinbas style mineralisation; it is also about finding additional porphyry-style mineralisation.

You have previously indicated that there has been outside interest in Salinbas. Now you are in total control of the asset, has that interest continued?

The interest has certainly continued, and we have kept it satisfied. At this stage, we are not entertaining any particular dialogue on what we are going to do with the project. We need to advance Salinbas in our own right to further de-risk it and really demonstrate what we think is there. We are not just looking a million-ounce system; this is going to be considerably more sizeable. Once we can show that, we will then look at next steps because we will be able to add more value than we can now.

Interview originally published in podcast form:


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