Loncor and Barrick operates in the Ngayu gold belt of the DRC. Their mutual interests will strengthen the Joint Venture in the DRC
The Ngayu gold belt lies approximately 220 km from the Kibali gold mine operated by Barrick. In 2019, Kibali reported record gold production of 814 000 ounces at all-in sustaining costs of USD693/oz.
The agreement between Loncor and Barrick includes several exploration targets identified by Barrick, two of which are ready for initial scout, core drilling. The Joint Venture now covers a total of more than 2000km.
In the first agreement, three exploration properties previously held by Barrick outside of its Joint Ventures with Loncor have now been added to an existing JV agreement. These three properties are located northwest of Loncor’s Makapela project, where indicated mineral resources of 614 200 ounces (2.2 Mt grading 8.66 g/t Au) and inferred mineral resources of 549 600 ounces (3.22 Mt grading 5.30 g/t Au) have already been outlined by Loncor.
Two significant targets have been delineated by Barrick at Mongaliema (7 km northwest of Makapela) and Ntokayulu (3 km northwest of Makapela). At Mongaliema, trenching and augering is continuing along a west-northwest trending shear zone with results including 37.3 m grading 1.48 g/t Au.
In the second agreement, Loncor and Barrick have replaced the existing JV agreement relating to the Isiro properties to focus on the three most prospective properties. These three Isiro properties include two of the drill targets identified by Barrick — Yambenda and Yasua — and which Barrick plans to drill as part of its ongoing drill campaign on priority targets in Ngayu. At Yambenda, a 9.5km long banded ironstone ridge has a number of gold in soil anomalies.
In addition to the agreements, a new drill target has been outlined by Barrick on one of the properties that is part of the Barrick-Loncor JV agreement, signed in June 2020.
At the Mokepa target, scout core drilling is due to commence soon on a gold-in-soil anomaly extending over 1600m where encouraging trench results of 110m grading 0.5 g/t Au and 32 m grading 0.99 g/t Au have been outlined.
The terms of the amended Barrick JV and the new Isiro JV are substantially the same, according to Loncor. Under both agreements, Barrick manages and funds all exploration of the joint venture ground until the completion of a pre-feasibility study.
Once the joint venture committee has determined to move ahead with a full feasibility study, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) would be created to hold the specific discovery area. Subject to the DRC’s free carried interest requirements, Barrick would retain 65% of the SPV with Loncor holding the balance of 35%.