c. 100% increase over previous resource estimate
Ariana Resources plc (“Ariana” or “the Company”), the AIM-listed mineral exploration and development company with joint-venture gold mining operations in Europe, is pleased to announce a drilling and resource update for the Kepez North (“Kepez” or “the Project”) area of the Kiziltepe Sector. Kepez North is part of the Zenit Madencilik San. ve Tic. A.S. (“Zenit”) Joint Venture (“JV”) with Proccea Construction Co. and Ozaltin Holding A.S. and is 23.5% owned by Ariana.
· Resource contains c. 36,400 ounces of gold and 329,400 ounces of silver.
· 97% increase in contained gold ounces over previous resource estimate (2020) and a 310% increase over the Feasibility Study Resource (2013).
· Significant positive increase in average grade to 7.14g/t Au + 64.65g/t Ag.
· Substantially improved classification of the Resource to approximately 86% Measured and 14% Indicated.
· New pit optimisation study now complete and area is being advanced through further permitting.
Dr. Kerim Sener, Managing Director, commented:
“This is a great outcome from the recent drilling undertaken in the Kepez area. We remain highly encouraged by this area as a potential source of very high-grade mineralisation, which can complement the mill-feed of the Kiziltepe processing plant, which is located only 14km away by road. Based on the significant increase in the resource at Kepez and the potential for identifying further extensions of this high-grade mineralisation down plunge, the JV has taken the decision to bring the drill rig back to this area to complete further drilling. This work, in addition to further mining studies and associated permitting is being expedited in order to bring this area forward in the mining schedule. Importantly, the geometry of the mineralisation lends itself well to near complete resource extraction.”
* All Mineral Resource figures in the announcement are quoted gross with respect to the Red Rabbit Joint Venture. Ariana owns 23.5% of the JV.
The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 as it forms part of UK Domestic Law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (“UK MAR”).
The Kepez North resource has been updated with the addition of five new diamond drill holes, as announced 30 June 2021. This infill drilling reduced the drill spacing to an average of 25m within the primary resource area, to as little as 10m, increasing confidence of the resource and its classification. Revised optimisation work has also been completed, providing for a designed pit which captures 81% of the total resource by volume and over 87% of the resource by gold ounces. The Zenit mining team are in the process of expediting mining activities at Kepez North. Additional drilling is commencing to expand the vein and scree resources to the south and southwest.
The Kepez North prospect is situated 14km haulage distance from the Kiziltepe processing plant. The prospect contains 2.5km of dominantly north-trending and bifurcating low-sulphidation style vein outcrop over a series of ridges near the village of Kepez. The Kepez North vein is approximately 600m long and up to 20m wide (Figure 1). It is positioned at the contact between dacitic pyroclastic and ophiolitic rocks and dips at 50o to the west. The majority of the gold mineralisation in this vein occurs in a matrix supported hydrothermal quartz breccia which occurs in a limited zone of approximately 150m along strike. The mineralisation is silver rich with some veins showing an Ag:Au ratio of between 4:1 and 8:1. The pyrite content is typically 1 to 5%. Mineralised scree from old workings along the Kepez Main hanging wall (containing average grades of approximately 7g/t Au + 65g/t Ag) has been defined from previous sampling.
Figure 1: Overview of the Kepez deposit, updated geological model and 2021 optimisation pit outline.
The 2021 Kepez Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) consists of: 1) the addition of 306 drill core samples (incl. 46 QA/QC samples) from the latest drilling of five holes; 2) an increase in confidence in surface scree sampling, allowing a better resource domain to be created; 3) the inclusion of surface rock-saw channel sampling; and 4) a revised optimisation study.
Ariana completed the geological modelling of the mineralised zones in Leapfrog Geo 6.0 (see JORC Table 1, Appendix 1) for the Kepez area as a whole. Several mineralised zones were modelled from sectional interpretations and associated interpolation, representing the most current geological and geochemical data and understanding.
Interpolation and wireframe modelling of the mineralised zones in Leapfrog EDGE was completed using a 0.2g/t Au modelling cut-off grade (CoG). However, most of the vein domain within the immediate resource area was defined using 1g/t Au intercept composites. Where continuity was not established between sections, the strike extrapolation was limited both manually (wireframes) and statistically (interpolations). The continuity of the various structures is reflected in the Mineral Resource classification.
Two domains were modelled; one for the main vein material and one for the mineralised scree material up to 5m from the surface. An average specific gravity value of 2.6g/cm3 was used for both vein and scree material.
Compositing was completed in Leapfrog EDGE using a 1m best fit routine. Hard domain boundaries were applied to both deposit models, which forced all samples to be included in one of the composites by adjusting the composite length, while keeping it as close as possible to the selected intervals of 1m.
A top-cut was not applied to the assay results or composites. The maximum gold value is 20.31g/t Au, which is below the 30g/t Au top-cut determined from statistical analysis of the Kiziltepe-Kepez area as a whole. Despite silver showing significantly higher values than in other areas of the Kiziltepe Gold Corridor, the values are considered to be relevant values and did not warrant a top-cut.
Variography was assessed, however the sample population is too small to obtain reasonable results for use in an Ordinary Kriging estimation. The variable orientation (dynamic anisotropy) function was used for estimation of grade into the vein domain whilst the orientation of the scree at surface was used for estimation into the scree domain. The grades were interpolated into the 2.5m x 2.5m x 2.5m blocks by Inverse Distance Weighting Squared (ID2), adopting a multi-pass methodology. The block model is a non-rotated conventional block model with no sub-blocking used (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Block model of the Kepez deposit in plan and section.
The Mineral Resource is classified in line with the guidelines of the 2012 JORC Code (JORC Table 1) as Measured, Indicated and Inferred (Table 1 and 2). The classification is determined based on search pass spacing, with increasing confidence with proximity to drill holes. The Measured and Indicated components occur mainly within the limits of the designed open-pit.
Table 1: Summary 2021 Kepez North MRE (dated 13 July 2021), in accordance with JORC 2012, based on 25 diamond drill holes and 22 rock-saw channels across the Kepez North deposit. The 20 RAB holes drilled in 2009 were not included in the modelling and estimate as they did not achieve their objective depth (target 30m, achieved 5m). Reporting is based on a 1g/t Au economic cut-off grade. Figures in the table may not sum precisely due to rounding. Figures include assessment of mineralised scree material. See Table 2 for in-pit Mineral Resources.
The updated classified resource model was assessed internally by the Zenit Team and an optimised pit shell was created for the Measured and Indicated Resource, using an input price of US$1,735 per ounce gold (see JORC Table 1 for further details). The optimisation found that the resource is not sensitive to changes to the overall pit wall angle between 40-45o. At a pit wall angle of 40o, the pit encompasses 128,300t @ 7.69g/t Au + 69.98g/t Ag, totalling 31,700 oz Au.
The updated optimisation indicates a stripping ratio of 2.7. The next stage of development will involve the establishment of a trial pit to confirm the choice of pit wall angles and determine the best method of grade control sampling to be used when mining begins.
Table 2: Summary table of in-pit Mineral Resources. Figures in the table are rounded.
Sampling and Assaying Procedures
All diamond drill core is currently being processed at the Kiziltepe mine site and analysed at the Kiziltepe Mine Laboratory. Results are being assessed systematically and are being grouped according to individual vein systems at the Kiziltepe Sector.
HQ size drill-core samples from the drilling programme at the Kepez deposit were cut in half by a diamond saw and sent for analysis in batches in line with the Company’s quality control procedures. For all the Kepez North drilling, a total of 306 samples (including 46 QA/QC samples) were submitted to the Kiziltepe Mine Laboratory. Core recovery for all drilling conducted at Kepez North during this campaign was 85%, for a total of 178 measurements.
All samples were assayed for gold using a 30g fire assay. Reviews of the assay results have determined that all Quality Control and Quality Assurance samples (blanks, standards and duplicates) passed the quality control checks established by the company, with duplicate samples showing excellent correlation. Laboratory sample preparation, assaying procedures and chain of custody are appropriately controlled. The Company maintains an archive of half core samples and a photographic record of all cores for future reference.
Ariana Resources plc
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7407 3616
Michael de Villiers, Chairman
Kerim Sener, Managing Director
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