SEMAFO Inc TSX:SMF announced assays from the Fofina Zone of its Mana Mine in Burkina Faso. Results include 19.46 g/t gold over 8 metres, 4.29 g/t over 25 metres, 7.49 g/t over 7 metres, 17.22 g/t over 2 metres and 7.49 g/t over 4 metres.
President/CEO Benoit La Salle tells ResourceClips.com, “The Mana Mine is a very large district, 2,000 square kilometres in Burkina Faso. It’s a district that has a very strong magnetic signature and that has been normally a very good indicator of where the sediments are. Normally we find the gold mineralization along the sediments which are also aligned with the magnetic signatures. We have over 200 kilometres of magnetic signatures that are very easy for us to identify with the new tools. So in early 2000 we discovered a structure which we call the Wona structure, which currently hosts over two million ounces. That’s where we built the first mine.
“Wona is a very strong system, five kilometres long, up to 35 to 40 metres wide, and very well-distributed gold mineralization,” La Salle continues. “It’s currently 600 metres at depth, but we’re really mining the open pit. We’ll be opening up the underground in about two years to take it down to 450 metres. This has a 10-year mine life producing 200,000 ounces a year. It has a very, very strong signature, completely open to the south, to the north and at depth as well.
The key thing about Mana is that in the past 10 years it’s never missed a beat. Every quarter it’s got good drill results, every quarter it’s got great production.—Benoit La Salle
“Last year, as we were following a similar signature south of the permit, we discovered the Fofina-Fobiri structures. They were showing about a million ounces inferred. Fofina is more of a high-grade system and not as wide. It will go from a couple of metres up to sometimes 10 metres wide, but the grade will go from 3 grams up to 15 grams per tonne.
“Fobiri, which is a parallel zone to Fofina, a couple of kilometres to the east, is a longer system,” La Salle explains. “It’s a lower grade but wider, and these are two very nice systems which currently show about one million ounces. So we did some systematic drilling at Fofina. We tested some areas that had not yet been tested, and we came in with a much tighter grid. Some areas we drilled down to 25 metres, and we’ve been confirming width and confirming grade to move the some of the inferred numbers into the reserve category and some into the measured and indicated categories. So today’s results come from a series of 30 holes. We’ve announced just part of the results. There are more Fofina assays pending.”
La Salle continues, “Today’s results are in line with our expectations of what we know Fofina to be. They confirm the geology, the width and the grade. We’re extremely pleased because the original results were strong, and we’re pleased that with systematic and very tight drilling we’re able to see the inferred resource moving up into the category of reserve or measured and indicated, depending on the final work done by our geologists.
There’ll be more results coming in the next month or month and a half, because we have 15 drills running at Mana right now. Today’s results come from only three drills. There’s 15 running, so there’ll be results coming from other areas of the property even before we get more Fofina results.
“The drilling program is currently $30 million, and it will be expanded some time in 3Q,” he adds.
“These southern structures will probably be treated in a standalone operation. But we know the current plant could be expanded. So in 3Q and 4Q of this year we’re going to be considering the best strategic decision to treat the ore that we will have in the southern area of the Mana district. If we can have a million to a million and a half ounces of reserves in the southern part, then we will do all the calculations to decide on a standalone plant or an expansion of the current Mana plant.
“Burkina Faso is a great country,” La Salle emphasizes. “There’s a reason why the Fraser Institute ranked it the Number 1 mining country among developing countries and in the Top 5 of all countries. The people, the government really are pro-mining. The workforce is pro-mining, the unions are pro-mining. The ministry of mines and finance is open-minded about anything that needs to be done to accelerate the development of mines and projects.
“Infrastructure is very good,” he says. “Burkina is well developed. It’s a very poor country but it has been receiving foreign aid from Canada and Europe for many, many years. They’re also the gateway into Mali and often into Niger, so the road system is very well developed. The legal system is very well structured. Their weakness is their energy grid, but we believe that will be addressed next year. A new electricity line from the Ivory Coast will have enough power for us to buy 16 megawatts from the government. We are just about to finalize the negotiations, and I hope that once that’s done we’ll be up and running within a year.”
La Salle concludes, “I think the key thing about Mana is that in the past 10 years it’s never missed a beat. Every quarter it’s got good drill results, every quarter it’s got great production. The construction of the plant was done in 14 months, the commissioning in 45 days—I mean Mana just doesn’t miss a beat. It’s a very predictable mine, it’s a very predictable country and it just keeps giving the results we’re looking for.”
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Benoit La Salle
by Greg Klein