Canadian explorer Loncor Resources has entered into two new agreements with bullion major Barrick Gold, further strengthening their joint venture (JV) partnership in the Ngayu gold belt of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The ground covered by these agreements includes priority exploration targets already outlined by Barrick, two of which are ready for initial scout, core drilling. Total acreage under the various Barrick/Loncor JVs in Ngayu now totals about 2 000 km2.
In the first new agreement, three exploration properties in the Ngayu gold belt previously held by Barrick outside of its JV with Loncor, have now been added to an existing Loncor/Barrick JV agreement. These three Barrick properties are located northwest of Loncor’s 100%-owned Makapela project where indicated mineral resources of 614 200 oz and inferred resources of 549 600 oz have been outlined.
Two significant targets have been delineated by Barrick at Mongaliema, which is 7 km northwest of Makapela, and Ntokayulu, which is 3 km northwest of Makapela. At Mongaliema, trenching and augering is continuing along a west-northwest trending shear zone with trench results including 37.3 m grading 1.48 g/t of gold.
In the second new agreement, Loncor and Barrick have replaced the existing JV agreement relating to the Isiro properties to focus on the three most prospective Isiro 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 the Ngayu gold belt. At Yambenda, a 9.5-km-long banded ironstone ridge has a number of gold in soil anomalies.
In addition to the agreements, Barrick has outlined a new drill target on one of the properties which is part of the Barrick/Loncor JV, entered in June this year. At the Mokepa target, scout core drilling is due to start shortly.
“We are very encouraged with Barrick’s decision to further enhance the exploration potential of our joint ventures, especially when they have already delineated a number of high potential drill targets such as Yambenda and Mokepa. Barrick’s scout drilling programme continues on other parts of our joint venture ground and we expect to announce preliminary drill results from other targets shortly,” said Loncor CEO Arnold Kondrat.
The terms of the amended Barrick JV and the new Isiro JV are substantially the same. Under both JV agreements, Barrick manages and funds all exploration of the JV ground until the completion of a prefeasibility study.
Once the JV 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%. Loncor would be required to fund its pro-rata share of the SPV in order to maintain its 35% interest or be diluted.
The Ngayu gold belt lies about 220 km from the Kibali gold mine, operated by Barrick.