Gold and Silver

Barrick, Loncor expand JV partnership in DRC

Barrick, Loncor expand JV partnership in DRC
Mining News Pro - Loncor Resources and Barrick Gold have entered into two new agreements which will see the companies further strengthen their joint venture relationship within the Ngayu gold belt of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Ngayu gold belt lies approximately 220 km from the Kibali gold mine operated by Barrick. Last year, Kibali had record gold production of 814,000 ounces at all-in sustaining costs of $693/oz.

The ground covered by the new agreements includes a number of priority, exploration targets already outlined by Barrick, two of which are ready for initial scout, core drilling. Total acreage under the various Barrick-Loncor joint ventures in Ngayu now totals approximately 2,000 sqkm.

In the first agreement, three exploration properties previously held by Barrick outside of its joint ventures with Loncor have now been added to an existing JV agreement. These three properties are located northwest of Loncor’s Makapela project, where indicated mineral resources of 614,200 ounces (2.2 Mt grading 8.66 g/t Au) and inferrred mineral resources of 549,600 ounces (3.22 Mt grading 5.30 g/t Au) have already been outlined by Loncor.

Two significant targets have been delineated by Barrick at Mongaliema (7 km northwest of Makapela) and Ntokayulu (3 km northwest of Makapela). At Mongaliema, trenching and augering is continuing along a west-northwest trending shear zone with results including 37.3 m grading 1.48 g/t Au.

In the second agreement, Loncor and Barrick have replaced the existing JV agreement relating to the Isiro properties to focus on the three most prospective properties. These three Isiro properties include two of the drill targets identified by Barrick — Yambenda and Yasua — and which Barrick plans to drill as part of its ongoing drill campaign on priority targets in Ngayu. At Yambenda, a 9.5 km long banded ironstone ridge has a number of gold in soil anomalies.

In addition to the agreements, a new drill target has been outlined by Barrick on one of the properties that is part of the Barrick-Loncor JV agreement, signed in June.

At the Mokepa target, scout core drilling is due to commence soon on a gold-in-soil anomaly extending over 1,600 m where encouraging trench results of 110 m grading 0.5 g/t Au and 32 m grading 0.99 g/t Au have been outlined.

The terms of the amended Barrick JV and the new Isiro JV are substantially the same, according to Loncor. Under both agreements, Barrick manages and funds all exploration of the joint venture ground until the completion of a pre-feasibility study.

Once the joint venture committee has determined to move ahead with a full feasibility study, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) would be created to hold the specific discovery area. Subject to the DRC’s free carried interest requirements, Barrick would retain 65% of the SPV with Loncor holding the balance of 35%.

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