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Loncor Resources entered two new agreements with its JV partner Barrick Gold (DRC) that further strengthens the Loncor and Barrick JV relationship in the Ngayu gold belt in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

The ground covered by these agreements includes several priority, exploration targets already outlined by Barrick, two of which are ready for initial scout, core drilling. 

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Total acreage under the various Barrick/Loncor JV in Ngayu now totals approximately 2,000 square kilometres.

In the first new agreement, three exploration properties in the Ngayu gold belt previously held by Barrick outside of its JV with Loncor, have now been added to an existing Loncor / Barrick joint venture agreement. 

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These three Barrick properties are located northwest of Loncor’s 100%-owned Makapela project where indicated mineral resources of 614,200 oz grading 8.66 g/t Au) and 549,600 oz grading 5.30 g/t Au) of inferrred mineral resources have already been outlined by Loncor. 

Two significant targets have been delineated by Barrick at Mongaliema and Ntokayulu. 

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At Mongaliema, trenching and augering is continuing along a west-northwest trending shear zone with trench results including 37.3 metres grading 1.48 grammes per tonne of gold.

In the second new agreement, Loncor and Barrick have replaced the existing JV agreement between Barrick and Loncor relating to the Isiro properties in the Ngayu gold belt, to focus on the three most prospective Isiro properties. 

These three Isiro properties include two of the drill targets identified by Barrick, Yambenda and Yasua, and which Barrick plans to drill as part of its ongoing drill campaign on priority targets in the Ngayu gold belt. 

At Yambenda, a 9.5 km long banded ironstone ridge has a number of gold in soil anomalies.

In addition to the above agreements, a new drill target has been outlined by Barrick on one of the properties which is part of the Barrick/Loncor JV entered in June of this year. 

At the Mokepa target, scout core drilling is due to commence shortly on a +250ppb gold-in-soil anomaly extending over 1,600 m and where encouraging trench results of 110 metres grading 0.5 grammes per tonne gold and 32 m grading 0.99 grammes per tonne gold have been outlined. 

At Mokepa, the mineralized system consists of banded ironstones in mafic volcanics sandwiched between conglomerate and carbonaceous shale.

The Ngayu gold belt lies approximately 220 kilometres from the Kibali gold mine, operated by Barrick. 

Kibali produced record gold production of 814,000 ounces of gold in 2019, at AISC of US$693/oz.

Arnold Kondrat, CEO of Loncor, comments:

“We are very encouraged with Barrick’s decision to further enhance the exploration potential of our joint ventures, especially when they have already delineated a number of high potential drill targets such as Yambenda and Mokepa. 

“Barrick’s scout drilling program continues on other parts of our joint venture ground and we expect to announce preliminary drill results from other targets shortly.”

The terms of the Amended Barrick JV and the New Isiro JV are substantially the same.  Under both JV agreements, Barrick manages and funds all exploration of the joint venture ground until the completion of a pre-feasibility study. 

Once the joint venture committee has determined to move ahead with a full feasibility study, a special purpose vehicle would be created to hold the specific discovery area. 

Subject to the DRC’s free carried interest requirements, Barrick would retain 65% of the SPV with Loncor holding the balance of 35%.  Loncor would be required to fund its pro-rata share of the SPV to maintain its 35% interest or be diluted.

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Barrick
On 1 January 2019 a new Barrick was born out of the merger between Barrick Gold Corporation and Randgold Resources. Shares in the new company trade on the NYSE (GOLD) and the TSX (ABX). The merger has created a sector-leading gold company which owns five of the industry’s Top 10 Tier One gold assets (Cortez and Goldstrike in Nevada, USA (100%); Kibali in DRC (45%); Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali (80%); and Pueblo Viejo in Dominican Republic (60%)) and two with the potential to become Tier One gold assets (Goldrush/Fourmile (100%) and Turquoise Ridge (75%), both in the USA). With mining operations and projects in 15 countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Dominican Republic, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, USA, and Zambia, Barrick has the lowest total cash cost position among its senior gold peers and a diversified asset portfolio positioned for growth in many of the world’s most prolific gold districts.