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ASX-listed exploration company Birimian has received its first net smelter royalty, or NSR, payment of US$280 428 from Société des Mines de Morila SA for gold produced at the N’tiola area of interest during the June quarter 2018.

Randgold Resources, operator of the Morila joint venture, announced in its June quarterly activities report that mining at N’tiola commenced in May 2018, following approval by the Government of Mali of all required processes for the inclusion into Morila’s mining permit of the N’tiola and Viper areas of interest, which Birimian relinquished in August 2017 to facilitate Morila acquiring mining rights to these areas.

Randgold reported that a total of 161 000 t of ore was treated from pit material mined at N’tiola during the quarter, at a grade of 1.52g/t.

Morila’s total gold production for the three months to June 2018, predominantly comprising retreatment of tailings material as well as processing of ore mined at N’tiola, was 17 856 oz.

Pursuant to the option agreements between Morila, Birimian and Birimian’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Birimian Gold Mali SARL (BGM), Morila will pay BGM a sliding scale NSR of 4% when the gold price is $1 200/oz or higher and 3% when the gold price is $1 100/oz to $1 199/oz.

Randgold reported that Morila sold 15 777 oz during the June Quarter, with an average price of $1 281/oz and Morila’s cash cost was $1 109/oz. Randgold stated that the N’tiola and Viper satellite deposits were scheduled for mining until early 2019 and closure of the Morila mine was planned for 2020.

Birimian retains all NSR revenue for N’tiola. When Morila mines Viper, Société Hanne General Trading SARL will be entitled to payment by BGM equating to a 1% NSR in respect of Viper.

Receipt of the royalty payment from Morila was a significant step in realising value from the Company’s gold assets, says Birimian executive director and CEO Greg Walker.

“Birimian will receive regular quarterly payments from Morila during mining at N’tiola and Viper, which Randgold has said is expected to continue over the next six to nine months,” he said.