goldMali –  AIM-listed mineral exploration company Alecto Minerals signed a co-operation agreement with TSX-listed mineral exploration company Desert Gold Ventures on Monday.

The co-operation agreement aims to enable the companies to jointly develop both Desert Gold Ventures Farabantourou gold permit and Alecto’s Kossanto East gold project, in Mali, to bring them into potential production.

The companies will pool their respective resources and expertise to assess the potential for developing both deposits into production through a best endeavours and cost-efficient collaborative effort, Alecto said in a statement.

The West and East Africa-focused explorer’s Kossanto East project is comprised of two deposits, namely the GRB East and GRB West deposits, while Farabantourou has the Barani East deposit. Combined, Farabantourou and Kossanto East have a total estimated resource of over 365 000 oz of gold at a 0.5g/t gold cut-off.

Both companies have other targets within their respective permit boundaries which, subject to funding, could add to the size of the existing resource for a collaborative processing plant, while both projects also fall within a potential 10km trucking radius from a central location.

In addition, within the same 10km trucking radius, there are further deposits, owned by third party companies which could, subject to appropriate agreements being negotiated, potentially bring the total known resources for the project to over 500,000 oz of gold.  Alecto and Desert Gold will continue discussions with such companies with a view to expanding the co-operation concept with the potential to significantly increase the size of their collaborative project.

Alecto CEO Mark Jones comments: “With a combined estimated indicated and inferred resource of over 365 000 oz of gold and falling within a 10km radius of each other, we believe there is significant scope to develop the Kossanto East and Barani East deposits into a commercial mining opportunity.  Accordingly, working in collaboration via the sharing of information and resources with Desert Gold marks a significant step towards achieving this goal.”

He went on to say that Alecto has already had preliminary discussions with potential funding partners for this venture and, while such discussions remain at an early stage, the initial interest has been highly positive.

Meanwhile, Desert Gold President and CEO Roeland van Kerckhoven says its collaboration with Alecto should enable both companies to benefit from shared knowledge and economies of scale and thereby create shareholder value more quickly.

Desert Gold has already filed an NI 43-101 technical report for its Barani East deposit, which has an inferred resource estimate at a 0.5g/t of gold cut-off of 73 175 oz of gold grading at 2.15g/t gold and an indicated resource estimate at a 0.5g/t gold cut-off of 45,268 oz of gold grading at 1.99g/t of gold.

“It is only natural that it should now look at bulking up the resource tonnage with the concomitant lower unit processing costs.  We are excited to be working alongside Alecto on this collaboration as each party brings much to the table in terms of experience, resource ounces and significant further exploration upside potential,” says van Kerckhoven.

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