KEFI Minerals PLC (AIM: KEFI), the gold exploration and development company with projects in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has today provided an update on the ongoing exploration programme at the Company’s Hawiah exploration project in Saudi Arabia. KEFI’s operations in Saudi Arabia are conducted through its 34% owned joint venture company, Gold and Minerals Co. Limited, where KEFI is the operating partner.
G&M has now completed Stage 2 of the Hawiah diamond drilling programme, increasing the number of completed diamond drill holes to 69 since the first drill hole in October 2019.
Copper-zinc-gold-silver sulphide mineralisation has been intercepted in drilling consistently over more than 4km of strike length, with intercepts within the supergene zone of up to 4.4% Copper over a 6m true width interval, including 5.8% Copper over a 3m true width. The results re-affirm the large-scale Volcanic Massive Sulphide (“VMS”) style of mineralisation that underlies the +4km long surface gossanous ridgeline. Assays have been received for 59 of the 69 drill holes and confirm the positive progress towards delineating an initial Mineral Resource in accordance with the JORC Code in mid-2020.
Sufficient drilling has now been completed to identify three zones with the following preliminary parameters for potentially mineable massive sulphide lodes, with all zones remaining open at depth:
· The ‘Camp Lode’: 1.2km long, with an average width of 7.5m with the widest intersection of 20m found at a depth of 90m. The lode has been drilled to a depth of 300m where 9m true width of massive sulphide was intersected;
· The ‘Crossroads Lodes’: 800m long, with an average width of 5m with the widest intersection being 8m true width. This lode has been explored to a maximum vertical depth of 350m where 7m of massive sulphide was intersected; and
· The ‘Crossroads Extension Lode’: 1,000m long, with an average width of 5m with the widest intersection being 12m true width. This lode has been explored to a maximum vertical depth of 270m where 9m of massive sulphide was intersected.
Drilling spans over 4.4km of strike length of the prospect with a current drill spacing on the Camp and Crossroads Lodes of approximately 150 x 150m, with only few short scout holes drilled into the Central Area
Assay results, which were held up until recently due to a COVID-19 induced temporary suspension of operations at the assay laboratory, to date indicate the following approximate average grades within these lodes:
· Camp Lode: Copper 1.2%; Zinc 0.9%; Gold 0.5g/t and Silver 9.7g/t over an average true width of 7.5m, approximately 2.2% copper-equivalent at current spot prices;
· Crossroads Lode: Copper 1.0%; Zinc 0.8%; Gold 0.8g/t and Silver 12.0g/t over an average true width of 5m, approximately 2.2% copper-equivalent at current spot prices; and
· Crossroads Extension assays are still largely pending.
The combined volume of these lodes in the sub-vertical structure drilled to date is still considered likely to exceed 12 million tonnes in aggregate based on the results to date, as reported on 27 February 2020. For the purposes of indicating the potential relative importance for KEFI shareholders, at an assumed approximate 2% copper-equivalent, which initial assay results would support, the in-situ metal content of 12 million tonnes at current metal prices would approximate the analogous in-situ metal content of the one million ounce Ore Reserve in the planned open-pit mine at KEFI’s Tulu Kapi Gold Project in Ethiopia.
Exploration potential remains significant at depth below all areas. The downdip continuation of Camp Lode is of particular interest with the deepest two holes, HWD_005 returning 1.27% Copper over a true width of 9m and HWD_059 returning 1.55% Copper over a true width of 7.5m.
Drilling has also extended the gold-mineralised oxide zone from surface:
· Surface trenches reported encouraging gold grades in 2015 before the field programme was suspended at that time for since-resolved security and regulatory obstacles; and
· Initial drilling has returned an average grade of 1.7g/t gold across 7 drill holes with an average vertical depth of 35m.
A comprehensive update, including details of all drill holes will be provided as soon as practical after all assays are received.
G&M has appointed an independent Competent Person to assist in the estimation of the planned maiden Mineral Resource and consequential Preliminary Economic Assessment. These studies will facilitate the planning and sequencing of exploration and potential development activities at Hawiah.
The G&M joint venture looks forward to participating in the development and expansion in the Saudi Arabian minerals sector which the Saudi Government has made a national strategic priority. Potential development funding for Hawiah is anticipated to be more straightforward than in Ethiopia because of the simpler partnership structure and given the financial strength of the local development lending institutions for this prioritised sector.
The Company will also continue to assess further resource potential at Hawiah, given that drilling to date has yet to establish the extremities of the mineralisation at depth and along strike.
A new presentation containing further illustrative background material on the Company’s Hawiah project is available on the Company’s website at: https://www.kefi-minerals.com/news/presentations
Commenting, Harry Anagnostaras-Adams, Executive Chairman of KEFI, said:
“We are very pleased with the results to date of the drilling at our copper-gold-zinc-silver discovery at Hawiah in Saudi Arabia. Hawiah already appears to have a more valuable metal content than Tulu Kapi in Ethiopia as we have only drilled the top of the system, which remains open at depth below all zones drilled to date.
“The rapid pace of progress since completing the first drill hole in October 2019 is testament to our excellent team at G&M, managed by KEFI and tightly integrating the specialist personnel contributed by KEFI and our Saudi Arabian partner ARTAR.”