Volta, Riverstone striking gold in Burkina Faso

Vancouver — Toronto-based Volta Resources (VTR-T) and Vancouver-based Riverstone Resources (RVS-T) are separately hunting for gold in the small West African country of Burkina Faso.

On March 21, Volta released an updated resource estimate on its Kiaka gold project, while Riverstone reported assays from eleven new holes collared at its Karma gold project.

Volta’s Kiaka project is 140km southeast of Ouagadougou — Burkina Faso’s capital city. The updated resource is based on 113,000 metres of diamond and reverse-circulation drilling, and is the third resource estimate on the property in less than three years.

According to the new report, Kiaka’s measured and indicated resources have increased 33% to 117 million tonnes grading 1.07 grams gold for 4 million contained oz. of gold. The project has a further inferred resource totalling 30 million tonnes carrying 1 gram gold for 1 million contained oz. of gold. The resource is contained within a single open pit.

“With a favorable strip ratio and strong recovery fundamentals it should provide a solid base for the pre-feasibility study that’s already underway,” said president and chief executive Kevin Bullock.

A third phase of drilling extended the Kiaka deposit to 1.5km along strike, and to a 500-metre depth.

Holes drilled into the central Kiaka deposit, released on March 14, continue to return grades between 1 gram and 3 grams gold at depths from 250 metres to 695 metres.

Highlights of the program include: 1.07 grams gold over 217 metres starting from 314 metres depth; 1.65 grams gold over 219 metres from 350 metres depth; and 1.3 grams gold over 154 metres from 438 metres depth.

Bullock mentioned an upcoming maiden-resource estimate on a new gold discovery 750 metres south of Kiaka due in the third quarter, saying the new discovery “could significantly enhance the quality of the Kiaka project going forward.”

Results from a shallow 4,400-metre drill program at the new Kiaka South target have highlights of: 5.2 grams gold over 25 metres starting from 33 metres; and 2.9 grams gold over 47 metres from 3 metres depth including higher-grade sections of 7.9 grams gold over 15 metres and 23.4 grams gold over 3 metres.

Volta consolidated its land position around the Kiaka property in mid-February via a permit exchange with Randgold Resources (GOLD-Q, RRS-L).

Volta has advanced several other regional targets on the 184-sq.km Kiaka claim, and initial-scout drilling is expected to start-up shortly.

Volta is having a strong start to 2012 with its shares up 26% or 25¢ since Jan. 3. The release of the updated resource estimate on March 21was initially well received as company shares jumped 4% to $1.24 by midday, but prices dropped later in the trading session and Volta ended up down 3.3% or 4¢ to $1.15 on a 1.3 million share trade volume. The company has 155 million shares outstanding and a presstime market cap of $178 million.

Riverstone’s flagship Karma gold project is 100km northwest of Ouagadougou, and in earlier-stage exploration. According to a January resource update the property has an in-pit-indicated resource of 47 million tonnes grading 1.07 grams gold for 1.6 million contained oz. of gold, and an additional inferred in-pit resource of 19 million tonnes carrying 0.93 gram gold for 566,000 oz. of contained gold.

The company has been defining the Kao deposit at Karma, with results from18 diamond-drill holes recently released.

The program is approaching 300-metres depth, and highlights include: 15.9 grams gold over 10 metres starting from 220 metres depth; 1.3 grams gold over 32 metres from 90 metres depth; and 1.21 grams gold over 16 metres from 212 metres depth including a higher grade intersect of 1.7 grams gold over 8 metres.

Riverstone has extended the Kao mineralization to 1,000 metres north-south and 900 metres down-dip to the east.

A number of zones identified via satellite are still scheduled for drilling, and the company maintains two active reverse-circulation drill rigs on site.

Riverstone has had some trouble gaining market traction to start the year. Company shares have fallen 17% or 12¢ to a low of 58¢ on March 19. Riverstone shares maintained a flat 60¢ price on an 110,000-share trade volume following the announcement of the new results. The company has 130 million shares outstanding with a market cap of $3.29 million.

According to a World Bank study, Burkina Faso is ranked ninth out of 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa on an “ease of doing business” survey updated at the end of 2011. The country is projected to have a 4.9% growth rate in 2012, and has a stable, democratically-elected government that is focused on opening the economy and developing private sector business.


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