Midlands Has Confidence in its Ghana and Tanzania Gold Properties
By Kevin Michael Grace
Kim Harris is looking at an embarrassment of riches in Ghana. The President/CEO of Midlands Minerals says of its Sian/Praso project, “We are more or less in elephant country.” She is convinced that success will follow Midlands’ efforts to properly define the resources contained within its sprawling African properties.
Harris has 20 years experience on the continent. And she is not alone at Midlands in her expertise. “Our technical team and the board, management, everyone has a lot of experience in Africa. So we’re focusing on gold in Ghana and Tanzania.”
Previously, Harris had explored in Zimbabwe. The prospects were encouraging, but the politics were dire, so she moved to countries where sanity prevails. Harris explains, “Ghana is ranked among the top democratic countries in the world. You look at how much money is going in there—over $7 billion in the last 10 years alone—that tells you that the majors have confidence.” In addition, “Ghana has been at it for over 200 years; it has a much longer mining history than Canada. They have human resources there, and the government ministries know exactly how things run.”
Harris admits that Tanzania’s mining industry is “not quite as advanced” as Ghana’s, as modern operations are only a decade old. Still, the country is now democratic, and “There’s been a huge increase in mining activity there in the last two years.”
Midland’s priority is Sian/Praso, which is at the northeast end of the Ashanti Belt, 30 kilometres northeast of Newmont Mining’s 10-million-ounce Akyem gold deposit. Harris explains, “It’s a previous producer. It has all the permits and a 30-year lease that’s renewable. We’ve got power, roads, water and an existing mill that needs to be refurbished. When we acquired this property, experts in Ghana told us it was the last prospective ground left in Ghana.”
According to an October 2010 NI 43-101 resource estimate, Sian/Praso contains 5.4 million tonnes indicated, grading 1.87 grams per tonne at a 0.5 g/t cutoff, for 322,100 ounces gold. Inferred resources are 216,800 ounces.
Sian/Praso is about halfway through a 20,000-metre drilling program. “It’s complex geology,” Harris says. “So what we’ve done is gone back to reviewing the priority targets that we have. The top priority target is 500 metres by 275 metres; it’s too large in area to know precisely where to put your drill. We’ve been doing soil sampling. Very tight grids over these priority targets, so we can narrow down the specific areas within those targets and resume drilling. We are quite hopeful that we will find a multimillion-ounce deposit at Sian/Praso. So our strategy is to advance it as quickly as we can.”
Last month, Midlands began a 5,000-metre drilling program at its other Ghana property, Kaniago, which is located on the Asankrangwa Gold Belt and is on strike with Keegan Resources’ Esaase gold project and its 3.5 million ounces. In addition, Kaniago is also almost completely surrounded by PMI Gold’s Obotan Project, which last month reported assays of 7.49 g/t over 80.1 metres, including 17.61 g/t over 20.9 metres. Harris says, “We really expect Kaniago to surprise all of us, because we’ve treated it all along as a secondary project. It could end up being the company maker, and we’re quite excited about that.”
We are quite hopeful that we will find a multimillion-ounce deposit at Sian/Praso – Kim Harris
Midlands‘ Tanzania properties are also well located. These include 75% of the Itilima Gold and Diamond Project, 65 square kilometres in the Lake Victoria Goldfields. “We’ve been extremely strategic in how we’ve selected our targets,” Harris says. “Itilima is on trend with Bulyanhulu, which is Barrick’s mine, a 50-million-ounce deposit. And we’re also on trend with AngloGold Ashanti’s Geita, a 19-million-ounce deposit. We’ve got very similar structure, same rock types as you would find at Geita and Bulyanhulu. We’ve spent about $5 million on Itilima. We’ve drilled it twice, and we believe that it’s about maybe 12 to 18 months away from defining a resource.”
Harris adds, “We’ve also recently acquired a very exciting project in Tanzania’s Kilindi-Handeni area, very close to Canaco Resource’s new gold discoveries. We’re already working on the satellite imagery and getting preparatory work done before we start doing soil sampling. This could be a company maker in its own right, as well.”
Despite all its favourable geography and geology—and $4 million in cash—Midlands has a market cap of only $22 million, and its shares traded (at press time) for $0.215, down from $0.50 in early 2010. Asked why, Harris responds, “It’s the results. After we announced our 20,000-metre drilling program at Sian/Praso, we had to analyze and interpret the data. We made the decision to slow down the drilling, conserve the cash and wait until we had the target. Which now, for instance at Kaniago, we do have. Unfortunately, however, we had raised expectations in the market.”
Harris concludes, “I think Midlands is very well positioned now. In lieu of all the plans that are going to be implemented within a short while, this shows that this is a stock to invest in because it has huge growth potential.