Toronto, Canada — MININGREVIEW.COM — 28 March, 2008 – Avion Resources Corporation – a Canadian-based exploration and development company focused on strategic acquisitions within Africa, Canada, and South America – has purchased an 80% interest in the Tabakoto and Segala gold projects in the west African country of Mali, and plans to be producing gold there by 2010.
A company announcement here confirms that the projects were purchased from Nevsun Africa (Barbados) Ltd., a subsidiary of Nevsun Resources Ltd., for US$20 million (R160 million) plus a 1.0% net smelter return royalty. The remaining 20% interest belongs to the Government of Mali.
The announcement adds that the Tabakoto mine infrastructure, processing facilities and camp are in place and fully operational for near term production capability, which significantly reduces start-up capital expenditures for Avion. Nevsun had operated the mine until September 2007, when it was placed under care and maintenance. It had spent approximately US$90 million (R720 million) in capital expenditure to construct the mine.
Commenting on the proposed acquisition, Avion president and CEO Rene Bharti stated: “This acquisition represents an exciting opportunity for Avion to acquire what it considers to be prospective gold properties and, if warranted, to accelerate the projects’ time-line to production without the burden of a large capital expenditure requirement. Avion hopes to restart production at Tabakoto by late next year or early 2010, at an annualised rate of 90 000 oz,” he added.
“Avion does not believe that the previous resource estimates for the Mali projects are reliable, and as such is treating the historic resources as a guide to coherent mineralisation, as opposed to a reserve estimate,” the company announcement said. “We plan to focus our efforts on a drill programme that will be designed to increase the confidence levels of the previous resources at Tabakoto and Segala, and to aggressively pursue satellite targets that could contribute additional gold resources in the immediate project area,” it added.
Avion is targeting the identification of between 1.4 and 1.7 Moz with a target grade of approximately 3.0 to 4.5 g/t of gold at the Mali projects. “However,” the company announcement explains, “at this time the target resource estimate is conceptual in nature, as the information and analysis required to substantiate an estimate has not been completed. Avion cannot be certain that further results and analysis will substantiate this estimate,” it pointed out.