Reunion Gold's Oko West project shaping up to be 'very significant discovery', says CEO
Thu Sep 29 2022
Reunion Gold Corporation (TSX-V:RGD, OTCQB:RGDFF)'s CEO, Carlos Bertoni, told Proactive that the explorer's Oko West project in Guyana was shaping up to be a "very significant discovery".
As has been previously reported, success with the drill bit there has led to the company now accelerating and expanding this year's drill program ahead of a maiden resource estimate earmarked for the first half of 2023.
Bertoni explained that soil sampling in 2020 led to a brand-new discovery at the Oko West’s Kairuni zone and that about 48,000 metres (m) of drilling had been undertaken since July last year.
"This is a unique situation in Guyana in that we are not drilling under already existing artisanal pits, following up an old prospect. We discovered Oko West from scratch," he said, adding that the Kairuni zone, which is the northern 2.5km of a 6 km gold soil geochemical anomaly, is potentially shaping up to be a "very significant discovery".
"We are now poised to drill in less than four or five months about 30,000m of drilling compared to 48,000m in the previous 14 months," he told Proactive's Steve Darling in a recent interview.
"We're getting two additional drill rigs at the end of September taking our rig total to six and that will give us a capacity to drill about 7,500m per month going forward. Our plan is to continue to drill at that pace throughout 2023."
Drill results so far have been highly encouraging. As an example, highlights from our most recent press release included composite results with a length of 52.50m at a grade of 5.19 grams per ton (g/t) gold starting from just 4.5m depth in one hole, and 4.12 g/t of the yellow metal over 49.8m starting from 221.7m depth in another.
Bertoni explained that the geology of the Kairuni zone were also "shaping up nicely" in terms of strike and depth, with the 2.5km zone having been shown to have mineralization down to almost 600m depth.
"This is looking like an open-pittable type deposit - something that you could start mining from the surface," he said.
He added that in the early days, any possible mining operation would have the potential to have a very low production cost and also the potential for relatively fast pay-back as the mineralized Saprolite which exists at the project (highly weathered, mineralized rocks on the surface) is free digging and typically results in low costs per ounce on comparable projects.
"This is a key bonus for this project," he said.
Bertoni also said Reunion Gold should be fully funded for this year's drilling with over C$50 million in the treasury, which should also cover initial environmental work and further metallurgical studies to follow up on the initial positive results.
Reunion Gold is on the hunt for gold in the Guiana Shield, a 1.7 billion-year-old Precambrian geological formation near the northern coast of South America.
The Shield is known for hosting substantial gold deposits and to date, at least 15 gold mines and deposits hosting an estimated 110 million ounces of gold have been recognized.
Its Oko West asset has already caught the eye of analysts. In March this year, Sprott Equity Research kicked off coverage on Reunion with a 'Buy' rating and now has a C$0.60 target price, calling the project "the discovery of the year with greater than three million ounce potential in Guyana".
"The potential we see is for Oko West is that it becomes an asset like Great Bear’s Dixie Lake (sold for C$1.8 billion) or Rupert’s Ikkari (4 million ounces of 2.5 grams per tonne gold, C$950 million market cap),” the analyst had said.
They also highlighted that Guyana’s permitting regime made it the leading country to explore, permit and mine in the Shield, with mining companies such as Barrick Gold, Gran Colombia, and China’s Zijin all having made investments in South America’s only English-speaking nation.
So, all told, Reunion Gold could definitely be one gold explorer to watch over the coming year.