West Africa-focused gold developer Tietto Minerals (ASX: TIE) has announced a significant boost to the gold resource at its Abujar project in Cote d’Ivoire with further resource expansion drilling already underway.
The project’s overall JORC 2012 resource now stands at 81.2 million tonnes grading at 1.2 grams per tonne gold for 3.02 million ounces of contained gold, with the bulk of the 870,000-ounce increase deriving from the Abujar‐Gludehi (AG) deposit.
The substantial uplift was the result of focusing a major portion of 61,000m of diamond drilling since November 2019 on resource growth to underpin a pre-feasibility study due in the first quarter of 2021.
The company has also kicked off a new 70,000m diamond drilling program to target further resource growth with the next resource estimate update expected by mid-2021.
AG deposit resource boost
The AG deposit’s high-grade, near-surface core increased 16% to 22.8Mt at 2.18g/t gold for 1.6Moz contained gold, while indicated resources at AG grew 44% to 24.1Mt at 1.6g/t gold for 1.24Moz contained gold – representing more than 41% of the Abujar project ounces.
Tietto managing director Dr Caigen Wang said AG’s high-grade core is the “centrepiece of the proposed mine development, delivering high-grade feedstock from surface”.
The company also increased gold resources at the Abujar‐Pischon‐Golikro (APG) deposit – which Dr Wang said is “shaping up as a large gold resource” – and delivered a maiden resource at South Gamina (SG).
“Both APG and SG occur on the main Abujar Shear within 10km of our proposed mill adjacent to AG’s high-grade core,” he said.
Dr Wang said the latest resource upgrade provides the company with a great foundation for Abujar’s pre-feasibility study, which is “on track” to be delivered early in the 2021 first quarter.
The study will examine Tietto’s aspiration for a large-scale 3.5Mt per annum open-pit mining operation built on a robust high-grade AG resource and a large proportion of indicated resource ounces of gold.
New drilling program
The now-underway 70,000m diamond drilling program will drill test more than 8.5km strike north and south of AG and APG, with Dr Wang saying the 11.5km of strike tested on the Abujar main shear only “scratched the surface”.
“Exploration drilling is also planned for high-priority targets on parallel mineralised shears located to the west and east of the Abujar main shear.”
“In addition, Tietto has a number of drill-ready targets on the adjacent northern and southern Abujar tenements which are expected to produce maiden gold resource estimates in 2021,” he added.
The drilling program will use six Tietto-owned rigs at a cost of about US$35 (A$49) per metre, which the company claims is around the lowest drilling cost in the sector.
The next mineral resource estimate upgrade is planned for the 2021 second quarter.