Oriole thinks Wapouzé should be mined for clinker, not gold

27th September 2023 By: Darren Parker - Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

Oriole thinks Wapouzé should be mined for clinker, not gold

Photo by: Afrimat

Aim-listed exploration company Oriole Resources has announced that it has formally submitted a request to alter the designation of the Wapouzé licence area, in Cameroon, from its original focus on gold to a designation centred on industrial minerals. This change has garnered approval from the Ministry of Mines. 

This comes after an examination of historical data conducted during 2022 and this year ascertained that the gold prospectivity at the company’s 90%-owned Wapouzé project is of lesser potential than that of the company's neighbouring Bibemi project.  

The data brought to light the possibility of the presence of limestone with qualities suitable for cement production within the boundaries of the licence area. 

“Once our team recognised the potential presence of limestone suitable for cement production within the Wapouzé licence, our focus shifted, leading us to explore alternative avenues for value creation, in addition to our primary objective of gold exploration in Cameroon.  

“With the potential to serve as a source of feedstock for the regional cement industry, we anticipate attracting a local industry partner for the Wapouzé project,” Oriole Resources CEO Tim Livesey said on September 27. 

Out of a total of 14 rock chip samples extracted from exposed limestone formations, 13 samples demonstrated chemical compositions meeting the criteria for categorisation as high-grade carbonate material. This type of material is deemed suitable for use in the cement manufacturing industry.   

Cameroon's cement industry, assessed to be valued at about £700-million a year, is predominantly sustained by the importation of clinker, a key raw material derived from limestone of cement-grade quality. 

The licence is presently amid a renewal procedure and is currently awaiting approval from the Presidency. Once this renewal is sanctioned, Oriole will embark on a quest to secure a partner specialising in industrial minerals, with the objective of expeditiously advancing the Wapouzé project towards the phase of exploitation. 

To ensure a continuous revenue stream within Cameroon, Oriole said that it aims to secure a payment structure based on royalties for the extracted materials. 

“Through the realisation of alternative value from this licence, we aspire to establish a sustainable funding source to support our future gold exploration endeavours, encompassing both the Bibemi and Central Licence Package (CLP) projects,” Livesey said. 

Once the renewal has been approved, Oriole plans to find a partner that will advance the project towards resource definition, development and exploitation on an expedited basis. 

The company said it is ultimately looking to achieve a royalty-based payment for the project, likely based upon volume of material extracted, which would provide in-country revenue that can be redirected towards its gold and lithium-based exploration at Bibemi and the CLP.