Abzu Has Two Potentially Big Gold Properties in Ghana
By Ted Niles
Investor opinion is divided on West Africa. On the one hand, it is a place of extraordinary mineral potential; on the other, it is a region with a high level of geopolitical risk. The March 22 coup by Mali’s military is only the latest example. But Peter Klipfel, President of Abzu Gold Ltd TSXV:ABS, has reason to believe that Mali is the exception in the region and that neighbouring Ghana is both rich in minerals and politically secure.
“For the last 15 years now, Ghana has had a very stable government and parliamentary process,” Klipfel reports. “You have an emerging middle class that has expectations of its country and society. They are an entrepreneurial bunch. And for the most part, what you see is a legitimate and fair rule of law and order. If there ever was an issue, I take faith in the fact that it would go a lot better than it might if you were somewhere like Venezuela.”
Klipfel is not alone in this opinion, for Ghana, Africa’s second-largest gold producer, is not short of players. The country has seen a steady influx of juniors over the last decade, and majors active there include Gold Fields, AngloGold Ashanti, Kinross TSX:K and Newmont TSX:NMC. “If you look at Newmont,” Klipfel says, “they see the end coming someday for their Carlin Trend and some of their other deposits. For 10 years now, they’ve been pumping money into their Ahafo Project with the expectation that it is going to be their company maker in the future. That they’ll keep the company going strong from Ghana is, to me, a huge vote of confidence both in the country and its politics.”
Confidence that Abzu hopes to translate into success of its own. Abzu‘s properties in Ghana fall into two categories: concessions that it owns exclusively (six) and those that it holds in joint venture with Kinross Gold TSX:K (10). Of the 16, it has selected two for its flagship operations: Nangodi and Asafo, both highway-adjacent and with access to power and water.
The 142-square-kilometre Nangodi concession is located in the country’s north, on the Bole-Nangodi Belt—also host to Endeavour Mining’s TSX:EDV Youga Mine in Burkina Faso. An historical producer, Nangodi was acquired by Kinross when it bought out Red Back Mining in 2010. Abzu is currently earning a 51% interest in the property by spending $3 million over three years. “When we first picked up [Nangodi], it had the lowest hanging fruit available in terms of past work,” Klipfel says. “[It was] something we could sink our teeth into—get drill rigs going on and come up with what we thought would be good results.”
And that they’ve done. In 2011, the company undertook a 27-hole drill campaign, expanding on the 31 holes drilled in the 1990s by Australian miner Africwest Gold. Assays announced December 1, 2011, include
- 1.91 grams per tonne gold over 44 metres (including 4.75 g/t over 15 metres)
- 1.15 g/t over 73 metres (including 7.9 g/t over 4 metres)
- 3.06 g/t over 10.7 metres
- 1.99 g/t over 44.5 metres
- 2.25 g/t over 24 metres
- 1.61 g/t over 16 metres
- 1.53 g/t over 66 metres (including 4.65 g/t over 15 metres)
- 17.93 g/t over 3 metres
- 41.6 g/t over 1 metre
- 1 g/t over 12 metres
Klipfel comments, “We’ve expanded on the area that [Africwest] drilled and taken it from about a 600-metre zone to 1.2 kilometres—about 60-metres wide and drilled at a depth of 200 metres. Mineralization there is the sort that will go to great depths, like many of the other vein deposits in Ghana.”
The company believes that the deposit has “multimillion-ounce” potential. Klipfel explains, “You put a box around what we’ve defined so far—1,000 metres by 50 metres by 200 metres—at the grades we’re seeing, and that would give you two million ounces right there. That, of course, is our hope.” Ground geophysics and trenching work are ongoing at the site, and a minimum of 5,000 metres of drilling is planned to begin in June. An NI 43-101 resource estimate for Nangodi is expected to be released in 4Q.
Klipfel says that the company’s relationship with Kinross is good. “We’ve kept them apprised of things, and they’re happy with the work we’ve done. We’ve already exceeded the first-year expenditure [ie, $500,000], and we’re only eight months into the deal.”
Abzu‘s other flagship property—the 152-square-kilometre, 100%-owned Ahafo concession—is located in Ghana’s south on the eastern edge of the Kibi Belt. While not one of the company’s Kinross joint ventures, it too has a pedigree in that it was acquired and explored by Newmont in the early 2000s. On the basis of Newmont‘s work, plus their own geophysical work, Abzu determined three targets. A 13-hole drill program on the first of those targets returned October 20, 2011, assays including
We undertook 10,000-plus metres of drilling on four different campaigns in seven months last year. We went from blank pieces of paper to two flagship-level projects with multimillion-ounce potential —Peter Klipfel
- 0.67 g/t over 20 metres
- 4.08 g/t over 1 metre
- 0.85 g/t over 12 metres
- 0.6 g/t over 30 metres
- 1.28 g/t over 3.5 metres
- 4.72 g/t over 20 metres (including 62.2 g/t over 1.1 metres)
“We were jumping up and down for joy as far as a shotgun blast coming up with nine out of 13 holes with good intercepts,” Klipfel declares. “We’ve tagged on to something, and now we need to figure out what it is.” He believes that Ahafo, like Nangodi, has significant resource potential. However, before a resource estimate can be considered a trenching program and a further 4,000 metres of drilling in 2012 (planned for 2Q and 3Q respectively) are needed to better understand this project.
With about $1 million in the bank, Klipfel says that his company is due for a financing which will either be done publicly or by private placement “in the next month or so.” He continues, “We want to put about 50% of our effort and money into Nangodi, 35% into Asafo and 15% into the other [properties]. Hopefully, we can get another discovery going by the end of the year.”
Klipfel concludes, “I haven’t been able to be as aggressive about the exploration as I’d like early this year because we’re in budget-minded mode. We undertook 10,000-plus metres of drilling on four different campaigns in seven months last year. We went from blank pieces of paper to two flagship-level projects with multimillion-ounce potential. Including the joint venture with [Kinross], we’ve expanded our concessions from three to 16. I only hope our future allows us to grow like that and come up with goods like we have at Asafo and Nangodi.”
At press time, Abzu Gold had 59.2 million shares trading at $0.21 for a market cap of $12.4 million. Its other concessions in Ghana are located on the Sefwi, Asankrangwa and Ashanti Belts.
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