Panthera Resources Labola Moydow restructure will deliver potential value accretion to shareholders

Panthera Resources Plc (LON:PAT), the diversified gold exploration and development company with assets in West Africa and India, has announced an update on the Moydow Holdings Limited restructure and planned activity at the Labola Gold Project. 

In August 2021, the Company announced that it had entered into definitive agreements to restructure its ownership interests in Moydow and its underlying assets.  Importantly, the proposed transaction will see Diamond Fields Resources Inc provide funding to the Labola Project of up to US$18 million.

Highlights

·        DFR has secured conditional equity funding commitments of US$3.1m, at a premium to their current share price, from existing shareholders, management, and directors

·      Part proceeds from DFR’s financing will be used on resource expansion drilling at Labola where a maiden mineral resource estimate was reported in December 2021

·        Drilling at Labola to recommence after the closing of the Moydow restructure, expected during Q2 2022

·        Moydow secured an option agreement to acquire an exploration licence covering 243km2 and contiguous to Labola

·        This new licence extends strike potential to over 30km and includes several additional zones of artisanal mining activity, the largest up to 1,000m long and 50m wide

Background

The Labola project is owned and managed by Moydow.  Panthera currently holds an equity interest of approximately 40% in Moydow.  A proposed restructure of Moydow and farm-in by DFR was announced on 25 August 2021.  Amongst other terms and conditions:

·        DFR has agreed to spend up to US$18 million (Earn-In) on Labola and increase its ownership interest up to 80%; and

·        upon completion of the Earn-In, Panthera holds the right to increase its interest by 10%, for example, from 20% to 30%, for a cost of US$7.2 million.

The Labola Project lies in the Banfora Birimian Greenstone Belt, one of the three major mineralized belts in western Burkina Faso.  It is located approximately 450km west-southwest of the capital, Ouagadougou, and 100km northeast of the Wahgnion gold mine, operated by Endeavour Mining.

Prior to Moydow commencing exploration, more than 65,500m of historical drilling (541 holes) has been completed across multiple drilling campaigns by previous owners, High River Gold Mines Limited (“HRG”), later acquired by Nord Gold Plc, and Taurus Gold Limited (“Taurus”).  This consisted of principally diamond and RC drilling (24,589m/39,339m, respectively).  Mineralisation has been intercepted by historical drilling and outlined by previous artisanal mining in three main zones over a 10 km strike length.

Moydow has explored the area since August 2020, including the acquisition and compilation of all previous data into a single database, interpretation of this data, target generation using the database and all the acquired remote sensing information, and a Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling program involving 31 holes.  

The RC drilling programme comprised two parts: first, confirmatory “twin” drilling (24 holes, including one re-drill, for 3,804 metres) focused on the two better-defined zones of gold mineralisation identified by previous explorers; and second, exploration (5 holes, including one re-drill, for 721 metres) and infill (2 holes for 214 metres) drilling in two areas with no previous drilling, targeted to identify additional mineralisation.  The results of the exploration drilling were announced by the Company on 14 September 2021 and the Maiden Mineral Resource Estimate on 6 December 2021.

Gold mineralization at the Labola Project is spatially associated with sulfides and quartz sericite alteration. Historical geophysics (IP and EM) surveys have helped define a 10km mineralized corridor. Within this corridor, historical and recent mapping and sampling combined with the widespread activity of artisanal miners have identified several structures with mapped extents of over 15km. The recent drilling undertaken by Moydow has concentrated on only a small portion of this belt, towards the northern end of the Central and Western structures. Drill testing by Moydow has covered only between 6% and 25% of the mapped strike length of these three structures and rarely to depths of more than 100m. The current resource, which was prepared in accordance with an NI43-101, was based upon validated historical and recent drilling.

The objective of the next phase of exploration work is to infill and extend the previous drill pattern on areas of known mineralization to expand the current resource. Additionally, the next phase will test the tenor and continuity of some of the other structures that have been identified through our mapping and sampling campaigns and are currently being exploited at the surface by artisanal gold miners.

Preliminary metallurgical test work was conducted by previous operators High River Gold Mines Limited and Taurus Gold Limited. This work suggested that the gold present in the license area was treatable by conventional cyanide leaching. Recoveries were seen to be 90 to 98% in the oxide zone and 82% to 93% in the transitional and sulfide zone. During the exploration work undertaken by Moydow, LeachWell accelerated cyanide leach testing was used alongside fire assay analysis of drill samples and the results have provided further indication that the gold mineralization is essentially free-milling in line with historical and regional metallurgical results. A wider metallurgical test program to confirm these results will be implemented as the project advances.

Mineral Resources Estimate as At October 2021

Mineral Resource for the Labola Gold Project, October 2021**

(Cut-off grade of 0.50 g/t Au)

CategoryMineralisation
(Mt)
Gold grade
(g/t Au)
 Contained gold
(koz)
Indicated Resource5.411.52 264
Inferred Resource^6.931.67 371



Additional Mineral Resource Estimate Disclosures**

1.         Contained metal and tonnes figures in totals may differ due to rounding.

2.         Mineral Resources, which are not Mineral Reserves, do not have demonstrated economic viability. The estimate of Mineral Resources may be materially affected by environmental, permitting, legal, marketing, or other relevant issues. The Mineral Resources in this note were reported using CIM (2014) Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves, Definitions and Guidelines and adopted by CIM Council.

3.         ^ The quantity and grade of reported Inferred Resources in this estimation are uncertain in nature and there has been insufficient exploration to define this Inferred Resource as an Indicated or Measured Mineral Resource. It is uncertain if further exploration will result in upgrading the Inferred Resource to an Indicated or Measured Mineral Resource category.

4.         The Mineral Resource has been constrained by an open pit evaluation using a gold price of US$1900 per ounce, and then reported at a cut-off of 0.5 g/t Au.

5.         Contained metal and tonnes figures in totals may differ due to rounding.

6.         Moydow has estimated the amount of the resource that has been depleted by artisanal mining to be approximately 341,000 tonnes at 3 g/t Au.  The quantity of mined material has been calculated from estimates of dump and leach pad volumes. The grade of the material mined has been estimated in the range of 1.5-3.0 g/t and is based on an evaluation of extensive rock chip, channel sampling of artisanal workings and selective sampling of adjacent dumps. The location of where the material has been mined from is not known with any degree of accuracy. As such, artisanal mining has not been deducted from the Mineral Resource but noted here for reference.

Additional License Area

The footprint of the Labola Project has been extended by an additional 243km2 following Moydow’s acquisition of an option over Wuo Land 2 exploration license which is contiguous to the existing Labola license area. Importantly, Moydow now has control of a full 30km strike length of identified mineralization, and along-strike extensions, including and surrounding the original Labola project.

The exclusive option can be exercised by Moydow through the payment of US$0.5m and with the vendor retaining a net smelter royalty of 1% on all gold produced up to a total aggregate payment of US$2.0m. The US$0.5m is payable in tranches with US$200,000 due upon satisfaction of all the requirements of an escrow agreement to hold the Wuo Land 2 license being satisfied, US$150,000 within 12 months of the Wuo Land 2 Closing Date and US$150,000 within 18 months of the Wuo Land 2 Closing Date. 

Commenting on the announcement, Mark Bolton, Managing Director of Panthera Resources said:

“The completion of the maiden mineral resource estimate in December 2021 was an important milestone for the Company as it seeks to transition from explorer to developer.  The Moydow restructure and US$18 million earn-in by DFR on Labola will deliver activity and potential value accretion to Panthera shareholders for an extended period.

DFR intends to commence drilling at the Labola Project in the second quarter of 2022,  Drilling to date only covers a small part of the identified deposit with this next phase of drilling to focus on areas of known mineralization to expand the current mineral resource estimate.

Moydow’s acquisition of the option over a 243km2 exploration license, Wuo Land 2, contiguous to the existing Labola license area, significantly increases the strategic regional position and the broader exploration potential at Labola, and provides numerous additional walk-up drill targets based on artisanal mining areas up to 1000m long and 50m wide.”

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