13 May 2020
COMPLETION OF INITIAL EARN-IN ON VENUS MINERALS
Ariana Resources plc ("Ariana" or "the Company"), the AIM-listed exploration and development company operating in Europe, is pleased to announce the completion of its initial earn-in on Venus Minerals Ltd. ("Venus"), an exploration and development company focused on copper-gold projects in Cyprus, and registered in the United Kingdom. Ariana is currently earning in to 50% of Venus, as announced on 2 December 2019.
· Ariana has completed its first earn-in to Venus following the expenditure of c. €920,000 euros, resulting in an initial shareholding of 9.24%.
· Venus Minerals (Cyprus) Ltd., which owns the assets, is now a 100% subsidiary of the UK entity, Venus, into which Ariana is making its investment.
· Ariana is committed to funding a minimum of a further c. €180,000 before October 2020, at which time it will in total own c. 12% of Venus.
· Earn-in to 50% will complete once a total of €3 million has been committed to Venus by Ariana, with a further €1.9 million required to be spent between October 2020 and October 2022.
· New licence applications for the New Sha Deposit have now been submitted, which include the following shallow drill intercepts: 9m @ 1.82% Cu and 9m @ 1.81% Cu, with associated gold results up to 8m @ 2.2 g/t Au.
· Exploration results to date across the Venus portfolio are highly encouraging, including the discovery of a new zone of outcropping mineralisation at the Mariner Project.
Dr. Kerim Sener, Managing Director, commented:
"Our earn-in to Venus Minerals is continuing at pace and the work being conducted in Cyprus is yielding very encouraging results. In addition to firming up confidence in the advanced Magellan Project, which contains a historic gross non-JORC and therefore non-AIM-compliant resource of c. 10Mt @ 0.6% Cu ± Au, Zn, Venus has made important discoveries elsewhere within its portfolio, including the identification of a previously unrecognised but outcropping zone of mineralisation at the Mariner Project. This was made possible due to the advent of new technologies, such as field portable XRF, enabling the identification of Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide mineral systems by their specific location within the volcanic stratigraphy and the geochemical footprint of the mineralisation and alteration.
"We look forward to seeing Venus commence with its maiden drilling programme in Cyprus on several of these projects once current restrictions on international travel are lifted."
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.
Summary of Venus Minerals Ltd - New information updated from that previously notified on 2 December 2019 is highlighted in bold
Venus Minerals Ltd ("Venus") is a UK-registered, Cyprus-domiciled company holding a significant exploration and development portfolio in Cyprus through its 100% owned subsidiary Venus Minerals (Cyprus) Ltd. Two advanced copper-gold-zinc Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide ("VMS") deposits at Klirou and Kokkinoyia contain historical resources of 4.3Mt @ 0.5% Cu, 0.8% Zn + unquantified Au (JORC 2004) and 5.2Mt @ 0.7% Cu + unquantified Au (non-JORC) respectively, providing the company with an exceptional foundation on which to build its resource base. Scoping and pit-optimisation studies for the projects have been completed and are under review towards the preparation of a combined Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA"). It is the intention of Venus to develop these prospects as a single entity known as the "Magellan Project" with the aim of establishing a significant new mining operation in Cyprus. In addition, the company has recently secured rights to the New Sha Deposit, which will be evaluated as part of the Magellan Project. The company recognises the potential to confirm and grow the resources at all three sites through further drilling. The company also holds a substantial exploration portfolio outside of the main project areas, which contain several immediate drill targets which have been established following a rigorous data review and new surface exploration.
Further information about Venus Minerals and its projects is available on the Company's website, www.venusminerals.co.
Venus holds 10.8km2 under licence for the component parts of the Magellan Project comprising Klirou and Kokkinoyia. Venus is targeting the definition of an economic open-pittable or underground resource of >10Mt. The project is being developed with a hub and spoke approach, with its operational base located within a long-standing mining and processing district where mining, quarrying, processing and tailings management facilities for various minerals have been in operation for decades. Venus has long-established relationships with operators in the area and the assessment of various scenarios will be part of the PEA.
Klirou is a virgin discovery and represents a completely intact resource with substantial upside. The deposit was previously assessed, like most deposits in Cyprus, as a copper-zinc orebody. However, drilling undertaken by EMED Mining in the mid-2000s demonstrated that the orebody contained substantial gold, and this is expected to add significantly to the economics of the project.
Furthermore, the recent application of modern geoscientific techniques has resulted in a better understanding of the nature and controls on mineralisation at Klirou. These have highlighted considerable exploration upside including continuations to the existing mineralised zones, and exciting new targets adjacent to the resource and further afield within the licence area. Mineralisation identified to date extends from surface to c. 150m below surface, while the location and terrane are ideal for the establishment of a mining operation in the future.
The following intercepts demonstrate the copper potential of the Klirou orebody:
EMR020: 36m @ 2.58% Cu
HKL054: 50m @ 1.65% Cu
HKL080: 47m @ 1.63% Cu
The following intercepts demonstrate the gold potential of the Klirou orebody:
EMR019: 48m @ 1.15 g/t Au
EMR020: 36m @ 0.60 g/t Au
EMR034: 8m @ 1.72 g/t Au
Discreet high-grade pods of massive sulphide were mined at Kokkinoyia in the 1970s. Subsequent drilling highlighted broader zones of mineralisation and a small pit was started. However, these activities were curtailed soon afterwards due to supressed copper prices, and much of the mineralisation remains intact.
Recently located 5-metre composite gold assays from the historical drilling at Kokkinoyia indicate high gold grades are likely to be encountered within the orebody. It appears that a few holes were selectively sampled for gold, with some of the better composite assays being 5m @ 3.90g/t (M161), 5m @ 3.00g/t (M175) and 5m @ 5m @ 1.90g/t (M176).
The assays confirm Venus's previous research into the gold potential at Kokkinoyia, which identified historical production records reporting average recovery of gold to copper concentrates of 5.0 g/t Au. Check sampling by Venus demonstrates significant gold in composite waste dump samples with an average grade of 0.8 g/t Au in the waste material suggesting that this grade could represent the minimum gold grade of the remaining resource, with the potential to boost the project economics.
Furthermore, examination of historical drill logs indicates that many holes were terminated in mineralisation, often due to caving of the hole walls, a common problem with the open-hole drilling techniques used at the time. It is the company's understanding that there remains significant potential to extend the known mineralisation at depth and down plunge.
The following intercepts demonstrate the copper potential for the remaining Kokkinoyia orebody:
M203: 53m @ 2.05% Cu
M200: 64m @ 0.97% Cu
M35: 85m @ 0.68% Cu
The following intercepts demonstrate the gold potential for Kokkinoyia
M161: 5m @ 3.90g/t Au
M175: 5m @ 3.00g/t Au
M176: 5m @ 1.90g/t Au
New Sha Deposit
Venus recently applied for two licences at New Sha. Detailed mapping has been completed over one of them, with the other ongoing. Historical slag has been identified along with broad zones of strong alteration and patches of copper oxides. Envelopes have been generated around the mineralisation in the drilling, highlighting two lenses dipping gently towards each other from surface to approximately 200m depth. There is only very sparse drilling in the 300m between the two lenses, demonstrating further growth potential. Copper grades include 9m @ 1.82% (S123) and 9m @ 1.81% (S104). Gold is also known to occur, with S104 returning 8m @ 2.20g/t Au, while 13m @ 1.00g/t gold was recorded in S123. New Sha presents another significant opportunity to further grow the company's resource base as part of the Magellan Project.
As a long-standing first mover in the re-emergence of Cyprus' long and esteemed mining history, Venus has, over a number of years, positioned itself to deliver growth through exploration. Venus holds 39.0km2 under granted licences and a further 25.8km2 as licence applications.
The Mariner Project is located in one of the few lowland areas away from the Troodos mountains, where the limestone cover units have been eroded to reveal the ancient oceanic basalts beneath. Venus currently holds three licences near Avdellero and Troulli which make up the Mariner Project. During the 2019 field season Venus analysed more than 2,000 soil samples and mapped more than 10km2, identifying several encouraging copper-zinc anomalies in the process. The Agena prospect contains multiple soil anomalies >0.1% Cu associated with a broad zone of alteration and represents a highly significant discovery. To the southwest, mapping and geochemistry have confirmed mineralised structures and associated copper-zinc soil anomalies extending along several kilometres of strike. These indications are very encouraging and follow-up work is planned to better define the geological setting and nature of copper-zinc mineralisation.
The West Skouriotissa project is of considerable interest as the site of a promising aeromagnetic anomaly in the vicinity of several of Cyprus' largest mines, including the operational Skouriotissa Mine (6Mt @ 2.2% Cu), and historical Mavrovouni (16Mt @ 4.5% Cu) and Apliki (1.8Mt @ 2.2% Cu) mines. A well-defined corridor of low magnetic intensity suggests an axial structure which is oriented in a northwesterly direction, terminating at the site of the Mavrovouni deposit. Geological mapping within the licence area identified copper staining along a structure interpreted as a growth fault. Drilling in the downthrown side of this structure intersected intervals of sericitic alteration and clear hydrothermal calcite and entered disseminated sulphide mineralisation at 210m which continued with increasing intensity to the final depth of 250m. Following grant in September 2019, the licence has been mapped in detail and work is underway to identify drill positions to test this exciting prospect.
At North Alestos, field validation of magnetic anomalies identified disseminated cupriferous mineralisation associated with chloritic alteration in the Upper Pillow Lavas. The mineralisation is spatially associated with an extensive region of low magnetic intensity which continues north of the area of identified alteration. A number of drill-holes in this area intersected copper- and zinc-rich mineralisation. Best independent intersections were 50m @ 0.5% Cu, with the hole terminated in mineralisation assaying 0.75% Cu, and 50m @ 0.5% Zn. A 3D Induced Polarisation survey indicated that the mineralisation is associated with zones of increased chargeability, which are open in a south-easterly direction. The northern extensions of the aeromagnetic anomaly are located at the intersection between north-westerly and northerly lineaments, an area which has been identified by Venus as a significant structurally controlled target beneath the cover of sedimentary units and lavas.
The Ayia Marina Project hosts a sizeable ancient slag heap, the source of which has not been identified. There are widespread signs of mineralisation which are associated with an array of structures that disrupt the geology and commonly form the contact between Upper and Lower pillow lavas. Of interest are intersections between northwest trending structures and a major northeast trending regional fault that could potentially create a locus for ore deposition. Copper mineralisation was identified in historical drilling at the Vasilis prospect in the southern part of the project. Geochemical sampling has been carried out in order to identify the extents of the anomalous ground.
The West Nikitari prospect is located at the contact between the pillow lavas and sedimentary rocks. The latter comprise basal umber overlain by calcareous sediments, including reef limestone and gypsum. In the vicinity of the prospect, the pillow lavas are locally hydrothermally altered with pyrite cubes in a chloritic matrix. All of the aforementioned features are known to be associated with VMS deposits. Detailed helicopter magnetic data display a well-defined magnetic low located at the intersection between interpreted aeromagnetic structures. North of the prospect, at East Koutrafa, historical exploration by the Geological Survey Department has identified the presence of copper- and zinc-rich sulphide mineralisation, whose extents have not yet been outlined.
The island of Cyprus has been known since ancient times as being a major source of copper and has been an important trade hub from the Bronze Age onwards. Even our name for copper derives from Classical Latin aes Cyprium (metal of Cyprus), which was later shortened to Cuprum. Bronze Age Mycenaean shipwrecks discovered off the southern coast of Turkey were weighed down by large consignments of Cypriot copper. Due to its strategic importance through the ages, the island has become a melting-pot of different cultures but is today dominated by Greek, Turkish and English cultural influences. As languages, Greek, Turkish and English are understood widely throughout the island.
The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the EU despite being de facto partitioned into two main parts: the area under the effective control of the Republic, located in the south and west, and comprising about 59% of the island's area; and the north, administered by the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, covering about 36% of the island's area. Another 5% of the island's area is covered by the UN buffer zone and the British Sovereign Base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia.
Ariana Resources plc
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7407 3616
Michael de Villiers, Chairman
Kerim Sener, Managing Director
Beaumont Cornish Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7628 3396
Roland Cornish / Felicity Geidt
Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7886 2500
James Stearns / Atholl Tweedie
Yellow Jersey PR Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 20 3004 9512
Dom Barretto / Joe Burgess / Henry Wilkinson
The information in this announcement that relates to exploration results is based on information compiled by Dr. Kerim Sener BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, Managing Director of Ariana Resources plc. Dr. Sener is a Fellow of The Geological Society of London and a Member of The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and has sufficient experience relevant to the styles of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity that has been undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined by the 2012 edition of the Australasian Code for the Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves (JORC Code) and under the AIM Rules - Note for Mining and Oil & Gas Companies. Dr. Sener consents to the inclusion in the report of the matters based on his information in the form and context in which it appears.
About Ariana Resources:
Ariana is an AIM-listed mineral exploration and development company operating in Europe. It has interests in gold production in Turkey and copper-gold assets in Cyprus. The Company is developing a portfolio of prospective licences in Turkey, which contain a depleted total of 1.5 million ounces of gold and other metals (as at April 2020).
The Red Rabbit Project is comprised of the Company's flagship assets, the Kiziltepe and Tavsan gold projects, and is part of a 50:50 Joint Venture with Proccea Construction Co. Both assets are located in western Turkey, which hosts some of the largest operating gold mines in the country and remains highly prospective for new porphyry and epithermal deposits. The Kiziltepe Sector of the Red Rabbit Project is fully permitted and is currently in production. The total depleted resource inventory at the Project and its wider area is c. 500,000 ounces of gold equivalent (as at April 2020). At Kiziltepe a Net Smelter Return ("NSR") royalty of up to 2.5% on production is payable to Franco-Nevada Corporation. At Tavsan an NSR royalty of up to 2% on future production is payable to Sandstorm Gold.
The 100% owned Salinbas Gold Project is located in north-eastern Turkey and has a total resource inventory of c. 1 million ounces of gold equivalent. The project comprises three notable licence areas: Salinbas, Ardala and Hizarliyayla, all of which are located within a multi-million ounce Artvin Goldfield. The "Hot Gold Corridor" contains several significant gold-copper projects including the 4Moz Hot Maden project, which lies 16km to the south of Salinbas and 7km south of Hizarliyayla. A NSR royalty of up to 2% on future production is payable to Eldorado Gold Corporation on the Salinbas Gold Project.
Ariana is also earning-in to 50% of UK-registered Venus Minerals Ltd ("Venus"). Venus is focused on the exploration and development of copper-gold assets in Cyprus.
Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited are broker to the Company and Beaumont Cornish Limited is the Company's Nominated Adviser.
For further information on Ariana you are invited to visit the Company's website at www.arianaresources.com.
Glossary of Technical Terms:
"Ag" chemical symbol for silver;
"Au" chemical symbol for gold;
"Cu" chemical symbol for copper;
"g/t" grams per tonne;
"JORC" the Joint Ore Reserves Committee;
"oz" Troy ounces;
"VMS" Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide;
"Zn" chemical symbol for zinc.