Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 12 May 2011 – Africa’s leading mining group “’ AngloGold Ashanti Limited “’ views its exploration initiative in Eritrea as being at a similar stage as when it moved into Colombia, where it had so far delineated a resource of 12.3Moz of gold at the La Colosa project.

Miningmx reports that this is according to AngloGold Ashanti senior vice-president for global exploration Roric Smith who said: “The risk is very high and we are not sure where it will all end up, but Eritrea represents a significant opportunity.”

Interviewed after the AngloGold Ashanti March quarterly presentation here, Smith said that while AngloGold was a relative latecomer to the country, the group had immediately committed considerable resources to its exploration effort.

The attraction of Eritrea – and adjacent countries where AngloGold was also exploring such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti and Ethiopia – was that it lay on a geological formation called the Nubian shield. The Nubian shield is highly prospective for gold deposits, but very little exploration work has been carried out so far because of the region’s turbulent political history.

In Eritrea, AngloGold has so far completed a 10,000 line kilometre airborne electromagnetic, magnetic and radiometric survey at its Kerkasha and Akordat North exploration licences.

The preliminary results were being interpreted and surface geochemical programmes had started. Smith said exploration drilling could start in the fourth quarter of this year.

AngloGold CEO Mark Cutifani said: “Eritrea is one of the most prospective new frontiers for the gold mining industry and there is still plenty of ground available for exploration.

“We have picked up around 4,000sq km of ground so far and have other applications in. Our strategy in the area is one of organic growth, and is not an acquisition-driven strategy.”
 
AngloGold’s projects in this region are being carried out through a 50/50 joint venture set up in 2009 with a company called Thani Dubai Mining, which is headquartered in Dubai.