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The Drill Down: Best Gold Assays (Apr. 12 – 19)

The Northern Miner’s Colin McClelland highlights the best gold assays of the past week, Apr. 12-19. Drill holes are ranked by gold grade x width as identified using the Mining Intelligence platform.

Projects in the widely separated countries of Burkina Faso, Ecuador and Australia led the period’s top results. West African Resources (ASX: WAF) led for the second time in a month, with recent underground drilling expanding its Sanbrado gold mine southeast of the capital, Ouagadougou.

Lundin Gold (TSX: LUG) scored with conversion drilling at the Fruta del Norte mine in Ecuador. Southern Cross Gold’s (ASX: SXG) infill drilling confirmed predictability in mineralization at the Rising Sun prospect at the Sunday Creek project 60 km north of Melbourne. 

Burkina Faso

West African Resources’ drill hole M1SGC_427 cut 24 metres grading 55.79 grams gold per tonne for a width x grade value of 1,339 from 174 metres depth, the company said April 16. The infill drilling within the main lode at the M1 South at the Sanbrado mine showed high-grade areas of mineralization, it said.

The drilling at M1 South is almost done with resource definition drilling and more infill drilling in a northern shoot of M1 South planned for this quarter.

Sanbrado, which started output in 2020, produced 226,823 oz. last year as it achieved the upper end of 2023 guidance at the project. The operation has several open pits within 1-2 km of the plant and an underground mine accessed southwest of the M1 South pit. Scoping studies favour a potential underground development beneath the M5 South pit, the company says.

The mine produced 56,595 oz. in this year’s first quarter, on track to achieve 2024 guidance of 190,000 to 210,000 oz. of gold at an all-in sustaining cost of less than US$1,300 per oz., the company said this month.

Open-pit production fell 59% to 21,941 oz. compared with the previous quarter, in-line with the mine plan and reflecting reduced ore tonnes from the planned completion of mining at the M5 South open pit in the quarter.

The company says it’s on track to produce 4 million oz. over the next decade, with annual production set to peak in 2029 at 473,000 oz of gold.

Ecuador

At Lundin Gold’s Fruta del Norte mine, drill hole FDN-C24-084 returned 63.6 metres grading 14.61 grams for a width x grade value of 929.2 from 103.4 metres depth, the company said April 17. The hole included 28.48 grams over 29.9 metres.

The hole was part of a program to define zones of high-grade mineralization within the Fruta del Norte deposit that the company expects will lead to continued conversion of mineral resources to reserves.

Lundin also discovered a new high-grade area 100 metres east of the Fruta del Norte mine. Drill hole UGE-E-24-094 intersected 76.95 grams over 5 metres from 156.1 metres depth, including 349 grams over 1.1 metres.

The results are part of Lundin’s programs at Fruta del Norte focused on three objectives: extending the deposit at depth and to the south, advancing the delineation of the Bonza Sur target and exploring for new near-mine discoveries.

“The intercepts continue to enhance our confidence in the exploration potential of the district with a growing pipeline of discoveries around Fruta del Norte supporting our ability for future resource growth,” president and CEO Ron Hochstein said in a release.

The company’s largest drill program so far at the mine has 10 drills, three underground and seven on the surface, aiming for 65,000 metres this year.

Australia

Southern Cross Gold drill hole SDDSC113 at the Sunday Creek project cut 473 metres grading 1.6 grams for a width x grade value of 756.8 from 316 metres depth, the company said April 15.

Hole SDDSC113 was drilled from west to east at a high angle to mineralized vein sets to test the strike extent and continuity of four separate vein sets, the company said. The hole pierced nine mineralized structures over its length with eight assayed intervals of more than 50 grams per tonne, it said.

“Big systems have big footprints,” managing director Michael Hudson said in release. With only one third of our core 1 km x 1 km drill area tested, and with a 10 km strike extension to the system, we are still in the early days of our discovery journey.”

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