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Okvau gold deposit could have a fat cousin

A boy carries a bag of rocks from a hand-dug gold mine in Mondulkiri province in 2011. AFP
A boy carries a bag of rocks from a hand-dug gold mine in Mondulkiri province in 2011. AFP

Okvau gold deposit could have a fat cousin

Australian mining firm Renaissance Minerals has identified an anomaly during geophysical surveys of its Samnang prospect in northeastern Cambodia that hints at a possible large-scale gold deposit, the company said in an ASX announcement yesterday.

Surveys conducted using 3D induced polarisation on its Okvau tenement in Mondulkiri province identified a high concentration of chargeable material, indicating a substantial body of sulphides along a 500-metre strike zone, it said.

Earlier shallow test drilling at the upper margins of the anomaly showed “highly encouraging” results, with gold concentrations of up to 6.6 grams per tonne.

Taken on their own, the limited survey results are highly speculative. But the anomaly lies within half a kilometre of Renaissance’s Okvau deposit, where extensive survey has defined a 1.13-million ounce gold resource.

If the Samnang prospect is an extension of the structures that define the Okvau deposit, Renaissance could be looking at a valuable piece of real estate.

“The IP anomaly identified at Samnang is analogous with a chargeable anomaly associated with the mineralisation at the Okvau deposit, although appears to be more extensive,” the company said of the survey data.

Justin Tremain, Renaissance’s managing director, said shallow test drilling of the Samnang prospect conducted several years ago returned “mixed results”. The new 3D induced polarisation survey gives a clearer picture of the geology, particularly at depth.

“The chargeable anomaly identified by the geophysical survey is encouraging as it indicates the presence of sulphides, which can have gold mineralisation associated with them,” he said.

Tremain said that further test drilling would be needed to determine the potential gold resource, but the latest findings have given room for optimism.

“Given that we now have a higher level of confidence in the prospect having significant sulphide mineralisation and we have had some encouraging, albeit mixed, results from previous shallow [less than 100 metres] drilling, we are encouraged by the potential the prospect has,” he said.

ASX-listed Renaissance raised $1.7 million in an equity placement last August to fund exploration aimed at growing out the resource of its Okvau deposit.

The company’s scoping study estimates that the project’s mineral resource is sufficient to support annual production of 93,000 ounces of gold over an approximately eight year mine life.

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