Exploring in the Birimian
The Birimian Greenstone belt of West Africa is home to some of the largest and highest grade gold deposits in the world. It’s why we say ‘hunt elephants in elephant country.’
When we acquired the Yanfolila Gold Project in 2014, West Africa had already firmly established itself as an affluent region. In the previous year of 2013, annual gold production rates for Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso collectively totalled approximately 6.7 million ounces, with Mali claiming the title of third biggest gold producer throughout Africa, just behind South Africa and Ghana. Hummingbird Resources identified Mali as not only a superb country to operate in, but also as a reliable source of gold in the Birimian. It therefore made perfect sense for Yanfolila to become our flagship project and focus for development.
Exploring in the Birimian offers many challenges but processes are simplified when a comprehensive dataset of air borne magnetics, ground gravity, multi-element soil geochemistry, reconnaissance drilling and geological mapping is available across the entire exploration and mining licence. We were fortunate enough to secure not only a project with defined mineral resources, but also a world-class geological database. This was thanks to Gold Fields of South Africa, our predecessors at Yanfolila, who spent in excess of $100M collecting the various datasets, which are being constantly reviewed and re-interpreted by our Exploration team both on the ground in Mali and in our headquarters in London. With a 2018 exploration programme well underway, drilling has commenced on the known deposits within our expansive permit, but what is even more exciting for us is the prospect of drilling the newly identified targets.
For us, the Birimian has offered an exciting opportunity to a team that thrives on hitting targets and making new discoveries – on the one hand, we have this great and dependable deposit, and on the other we have unexplored territory that is simply waiting to be discovered. It’s a real adventure.
Murray Paterson, VP Geology
Murray has over 20 years’ experience as a mine, mineral resources and exploration Geologist. Murray leads our exploration team at Yanfolila and is a crucial asset to our business development.