Sudan – The board of Canada-based Africa focused explorer Orca Gold has approved the commencement of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on its 70%-owned Block 14 project in the Republic of the Sudan.

Resource additions at Orca Gold's Galat Sufar South
Orca Gold’s Block 14 project is located in the Republic of Sudan

This follows robust initial gold prospects on Block 14 and the successful exploration support which enabled the company to continue to identify and develop new targets on Block 14.

2015 Exploration

In each of the last three years, Orca has discovered significant gold prospects on Block 14: Galat Sufar South (GSS) in 2013, Wadi Doum in 2014 and Liseiwi in 2015.

To date, Orca has defined an indicated resource of 27.6 Mt grading 1.83g/t for 1.63 Moz of gold and an inferred resource of 10.3 Mt grading 1.8 g/t for an additional 0.6 million, based on a 1g/t cut-off grade.

The focus of exploration in 2015 was and to expand the resources at GSS and Wadi Doum.

The highlight of the year was the discovery at Liseiwi where an initial reverse circulation (RC) drill program included intersections of 10 m grading 15.32/11.65 g/t, 24 m at 3.89/2.97 g/t and 8 m at 12.80/8.55 g/t with 8 m at 5.21 g/t. Further drilling is required to define an initial resource at Liseiwi.

At Wadi Doum, additional reverse circulation drilling close to the base of the existing resource included intersections of 31 m at 4.88/3.95 g/t and 33 m at 4.66/3.82 g/t showing the high grade mineralisation to be resolving into two distinct shoots. Two core twin holes were also completed for geology and metallurgical samples intersecting 30.8 m grading 14.99/4.44 g/t and 28 m grading 5.50/5.22 g/t.

Within the GSS resource, drilling on the 320° Zone included intersections of 12 m at 5.19/5.02 g/t and 9 m at 5.06/4.31 g/t adding definition and extension to the high grade shoot targeted.

At the NE Target, just outside the current GSS Resource, GSRC626 intersected 16 m at 4.41 g/t extending the known mineralisation to the east from previous drilling which intersected 19 m at 6.04/4.69 g/t and 18 m at 3.32/3.24 g/t.

These results continue to show the potential for Block 14 to provide further high grade discoveries and exploration in 2016 will aim to develop these targets further.

Based on the 62 321 m of drilling completed to date, the resources at GSS and Wadi Doum look to be well suited to open pit mining with mineralisation up to 85 m in width and 79% of the resources situated within 150 m of surface.

2016 activities

Orca’s focus of activities in 2016 will be the completion of a PEA to confirm preliminary economics for GSS and Wadi Doum.

In addition, given the strong upside potential of Block 14, exploration will continue, targeting the identification of new satellite deposits, like Wadi Doum and Liseiwi, towards further enhancing project economics.

Orca Gold is cognisant of the difficult conditions in the capital markets and of the importance of carefully managing its current treasury. Accordingly, careful consideration has resulted in an operating budget that will advance Block 14 under strict financial oversight.

The PEA will be compiled and supervised by SGS Time Mining of South Africa using inputs from Orca Gold and a group of internationally recognised consultants

The PEA is expected to be completed early in the second half of 2016 after which Orca Gold will consider the appropriate next steps in the ongoing development of Block 14.

“Exploration has delivered a discovery in each of the last three years, confirming the prospectivity of Block 14. The resources at GSS and Wadi Doum are shallow, well drilled and robust making the decision to proceed to a PEA the logical next step to confirm that we have a solid project at current gold prices,” says Orca Gold president and CEO Hugh Stuart.

He added that with over 3 700km2 of licence, there is still considerable work to do in terms of exploration and whilst Orca Gold are reducing the level of activity to maintain its treasury, there remains considerable upside in Block 14 yet to be unlocked.

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Orca Gold intercepts high grade mineralisation at Liseiwi Prospect, Block 14