Junior gold explorer Manas Resources (ASX: MSR) has acquired the rights to expand its asset portfolio in the Ivory Coast. Manas has signed agreements to acquire up to 85% of the Gonsan Project and up to 80% in the Bouaké Nord Project.
At the current time, the Gonsan Project contains 3 exploration permit applications spanning 1,000 km2 while the Bouaké Nord Project has exploration permit applications spanning 300km2. According to Manas, a “very small amount of cash compensation” is required to retain its rights to both Gonsan and Bouaké Nord, with expenditure to be directed on “focused exploration programs” according to a Manas update to shareholders.
All four permits are at the application stage with grants expected to be received in early 2018. Manas will be the manager of both projects and has commenced discussions with local service providers to allow the immediate commencement of field work, as soon as the permits are granted.
The Gonsan Project area is in close proximity to the 2.9 million ounces Ity gold mine, and Manas is hopeful of being able to tap the same trend of mineralisation.
According to Manas, there is strong potential for “additional subparallel lenses of sulphur rich skarn hosted gold discoveries to be made within the Gonsan project area” immediately along strike to the northeast of the Ity gold project. If Manas can complete the necessary field work, this potential may turn into reality over the coming 12 months.
At its other project in the Ivory Coast (Bouake), Manas reports there are currently no gold deposits that have been confirmed, but says that “several artisanal prospects have been identified”.
At Bouake, Manas has also confirmed that surface geochemistry and follow-up aircore drilling to the immediate north and south of the project area “has highlighted extensive gold anomalism and zones of significant bedrock mineralisation,” which are likely to be explored further as part of Manas’ exploration programme in the Ivory Coast.
Ivory Coast mining profile
The Ivory Coast is successfully attracting larger numbers of foreign miners, as the country seeks to develop its domestic mining industry and modernise infrastructure appropriately.
The country is host to several prolific Birimian greenstone belts extending from neighbouring West African countries that host multi-million ounce gold deposits.
Major gold discoveries in the Ivory Coast include Randgold Resources’ 3 million ounces Tongon deposit and Endeavour Mining’s Ity and Agbaou gold deposits (2.9 million ounces and 1 million ounces respectively).
The country has recently been recognised as a stable region for foreign investment and remains a vastly under-explored jurisdiction with significant potential for further major gold discoveries.
There are currently three operating gold mines in the Ivory Coast: Ity, Tongon, and Bonikro (owned by Newcrest Mining). Sissingué (owned by Perseus Mining) is currently in commissioning.