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African Aura to merge with Mano River

African Aura Resources recently signed a letter of intent to merge with Mano River Resources. The merged entity is to be renamed African Aura Mining, which will be initially owned 25% by African Aura shareholders and 75% by Mano River shareholders.

The flagship projects of the merged company include a number of iron ore assets, such as a 38.5% interest held by Mano River in the 13 km long Putu iron project in Liberia. Putu is the subject of a 27,000 m diamond drilling programme and is being funded to feasibility stage by joint venture partner Severstal Resources. Results from an initial nine holes drilled in 2008 included a best intersection in hematite of 63 metres at an average of 63.5% iron and a best intersection in fresh magnetite of 367 m at an average of 39% iron.

There is also the 100% interest in the 12 km long Nkout iron project in southern Cameroon being advanced by African Aura. The project is defined by airborne geophysical data and geological mapping, with drill testing scheduled to have commenced in May 2009. Reconnaissance sampling undertaken by African Aura along a five kilometre section of the prospect returned an average grade of 54% iron and a maximum of 65% iron from hematitic banded iron and itabarite formations.

The Nkout iron prospect is located on the 1,000 km2 Djoum licence and is strategically well located in the sub-region which hosts a number of significant iron deposits. Of those that are under exploration and development, the closest is the Mbalam deposit being developed by Sundance Resources, located some 150 km to the south-east.

The merged company will also have interests in gold projects, including a 100% interest in the 1.4 million ounce gold resource at the New Liberty gold deposit in the archaean geology of western Liberia. This project, being advanced by Mano River, features 13.533 million tonnes of measured and indicated resources grading 3.18 g/t of gold.

In addition, there is a portfolio of numerous other hard rock gold projects being advanced by both companies. Among these is a 100% interest in the Batouri gold project in eastern Cameroon being advanced by African Aura. Sixty-six holes of an initial resource drilling programme have been completed to date. These define a significant gold stockwork system covering an area up to 500 m wide along three kilometres of strike.

The merged company will have a 60% interest in Stellar Diamonds which is producing from underground trial mining of kimberlite dykes in the Kono diamond fields in Sierra Leone. Apart from that, full scale alluvial production from the Mandala diamond deposit in Guinea was scheduled to commence in April 2009.

Uranium features too, with a 70% interest in Ridgeway Energy which holds 3,480 km2 across four exploration licences in Cameroon.