AIM-listed mineral explorer IronRidge Resources has entered into a conditional share subscription agreement with private Singapore-registered Tekton Minerals, gaining it a first-mover advantage over a major new gold discovery in Chad. Compiled by Chantelle Kotze.

The Africa and Australia focused mineral explorer will invest up to US$3.5 million for a 58% stake in Tekton Minerals, which will subsequently provide it with exclusive rights over five highly-prospective exploration permits covering 1 000 km2, as well as two reconnaissance licences, covering 400 km2 in Ouaddaï province in Chad.

The funding with be used to undertake further exploration work and to prepare a technical report compliant with Canadian NI 43-101 or Australian JORC requirements.

“Chad represents a highly prospective, underexplored destination for minerals with obvious gold endowment, largely forgotten due to the focus on oil, with an attractive mining code and investment framework where major oil companies (including Total, Chevron and Glencore) have been operating for decades,” says IronRidge Resources CEO and MD Vincent Mascolo.

The licences are located in an underexplored yet highly prospective domain within the Saharan Metacraton of Central Africa, which is home to gold mineralised, province-scale geological structures comparable to those found in the prolific Birimian Greenstone belt, known for several world-class gold mines in Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. Tekton Minerals, which has extensive in-country exploration, logistics and government relations expertise, has undertaken comprehensive exploration work in the region over the past two years.

Tekton’s exploration work to date, which has included geological mapping, soil and rock-chip sampling, trenching and channel sampling, ground magnetic and resistivity surveys, high-resolution digital terrain modelling and aerial photography using drone technology and mineralogical studies, has indicated the potential for several multimillion ounce gold discoveries within the Ouaddaï province alone.

Multiple high-priority gold targets have been defined within the Dorothe, Echbara and Am Ouchar licences, including one drill ready target defined at Dorothe and additional untested lithium, graphite, base metal and uranium targets within the licence portfolio.

Dorothe

Mapping and sampling at the Dorothe target to date has defined two distinct gold mineralising events.

The first is an early centimetre scale shallowly westward dipping quartz vein swarm zone over a 3 km x1 km area. Secondly, trenching results at Dorothe, including 14.12 g/t gold over 4 m, 34.1 g/t over 2 m and 63.2 g/t over 1 m, has defined significant gold mineralised quartz veining over a confirmed 1 km strike at an average of 2 m and up to 5 m true width across multiple stacked vein zones up to 200 m wide and over a confirmed 1 km of strike with possible extensions up to 3 km of strike.

Over 116 rock chip samples and 302 trench samples have been collected at the Dorothe prospect to date, of which 40% of the rock chips and 28% of the trench samples have grades greater than 0.5 g/t gold and up to 103 g/t gold over a 3 km2 area.

Echbara

Within the 200 km2 Echbara licence, located 25 km west of the Dorothe licence, which was historically explored, follow-up trenching by Tekton has returned results of 56 m at 0.61 g/t gold (including 10 m at 0.9 g/t gold and 20 m at 0.87 g/t gold) and 25 m at 0.8 g/t gold.

Am Ouchar

Follow-up channel sampling by Tekton at the 200 km2 Am Ouchar licence, 70 km south-east of the Dorothe licence, which was also historically explored, returned intersections including 2 m at 18.2 g/t gold, 2 m at 14.2 g/t gold and 2.3 m at 9.9 g/t gold.

Reconnaissance licences

Two further highly prospective reconnaissance licenses have been awarded within the same province, namely the Adé licence, located approximately 40 km east of Dorothe, and the Nabagay licence, located approximately 25 km north of Dorothe, collectively covering a total of 400 km2. Meanwhile, an additional two licences have also been granted to IronRidge Resources at Waya Waya, within the Ouaddaï North Region, approximately 260 km north of the Dorothe project area. Reconnaissance rock chip and channel sampling completed by Tekton has returned results of 11% to 12% total carbon content. Multi-element geochemical analysis has also indicated potential anomalous uranium and associated pathfinder elements typically observed in sandstone hosted uranium deposits. Furthermore, anomalous zinc and lead results have been identified associated with pegmatites.

Project access

Access to the project area is via a sealed and well maintained 900 km bitumen toll road from the capital city N’Djamena to Abéché, followed by a 200 km maintained laterite road to the project area. Travel time from N’Djamena to the project area is approximately 15 hours by road.

International air carriers Air France, Royal Air Maroc, Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines provide frequent travel into N’Djamena and the project area is serviced by charter fl ights and United Nations aircraft into Goz Beïda taking approximately 2 hours.

Upon commencement of the investment, IronRidge chairman Nick Mather will be appointed chairman of Tekton, while IronRidge CEO and MD Vincent Mascolo and IronRidge’s country manager in Gabon Len Kolff will join the board of Tekton. MRA

CHAD AT A GLANCE

According to 2016 World Bank statistics, Chad has a population of 13.6 million people and covers a surface area of 1.2 million km2, and has secure borders with its neighbouring countries. It is a stable republic with a US$2 500 GDP per capita per annum according to 2013 estimates. Chad is also a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), and has a projected economic growth of 11.2% (African Economic Outlook, 2014).