The measured, indicated and inferred resource of 11.3 million tonnes at 1.83 g/t gold for 668,500 ounces, covers Seko, Koko, Disse and Diabarou deposits, which all remain open and are expected to grow with ongoing drilling along strike or at depth.
This maiden estimate follows years of hard work for Oklo, which acquired the Dandoko project from Compass Gold Corp (CVE:CVB) in 2013.
It is constrained within optimised pit shells with 79% classified within the measured and indicated resource categories.
“Major turning point”
Oklo managing director Simon Taylor said the estimate represented a “major turning point” for the company.
“It provides a strong platform in our quest to build a multi-million-ounce resource inventory within this world-class gold province,” he said.
“This greenfield discovery is a credit to our technical team, with considerable upside remaining not only within the Seko gold system, but also at other lightly tested targets along the 15-kilometre Dandoko gold corridor and within our nearby Kouroufing and Kandiole projects.
“The robust resource estimate is a key input into our scoping study focused on a low-cost open pit operation with a straightforward process flowsheet exploiting the oxide zone mineralisation, which will be undertaken while advancing our aggressive resource expansion and exploration drilling programs.”
The Dandoko permit totals 100 square kilometres and is in west Mali.
Some 65% of the initial resource estimate is within soft oxide material from the surface, meaning Oklo can explore low-cost open cut mining methods.
More than 60% of the mineralisation lies above a gold grade cut-off over 2g/t, and pit optimisations run by Oklo are demonstrating a potential future mining operation, providing potential for very high-grade production scenarios.
An independent consultant has prepared the estimate using a 0.30 g/t gold cut-off and constrained within economic pit shells using a gold price of US$2,000/ounce.
It uses appropriate Malian royalties and taxes, metallurgical recovery data, mining, production and environmental costs from nearby producing mines and utilises an average pit wall angle of 38° within the deep oxidation profile and a 50° average slope in fresh rock.
The estimate will form the basis of a scoping study on a potential low-cost open pit mining operation.
This study will focus on initial development of the high-grade oxide mineralisation extending to surface, with the deposit having a strong grade-tonnage cut off characteristic with over 60% of contained ounces above a 2.0 g/t gold grade cut-off.
And while the Dandoko project is Oklo’s main focus, it has another 10 operational projects in west and south Mali, including the nearby Kouroufing and Kandiole projects where drilling is underway.
Taylor said the company was “delighted with the delivery of a robust initial mineral resource estimate (MRE) at a new discovery within a well-endowed gold producing region and in close proximity to significant existing mill capacity”.
“We believe that rapid MRE growth opportunities exist from the significant drill intersections and numerous wide zones of mineralisation occurring outside of the pit shells, as well as through expansion of the MRE into fresh rock, which has only had limited drilling undertaken to date.
“Targeted drilling is already underway, focused upon enabling expansion of the pit shells to incorporate the wide zones of mineralisation not included in the MRE, as well as to explore in the fresh rock for a potential feeder zone for the current MRE mineralisation, with results from the drilling to date in fresh rock appearing highly prospective.”
Geological studies by Oklo have demonstrated that the Dandoko Project has similar attributes to the nearby operating mines within the world-class Kenieba Inlier of west Mali.
These include B2Gold’s 7.1-million-ounce Fekola Project, Barrick Gold’s 18-million-ounce Loulo Project (including Yalea)/Gounkoto and IAMGold’s 2-million-ounces Diakha/Siribaya gold resource projects.
“We are very excited about the potential to significantly grow our resource base through continued exploration guided by our experienced and highly successful geological team,” Taylor said.
- Daniel Paproth