Volta, Riverstone striking gold in Burkina Faso

Drillers at work at Riverstone Resources' Karma gold project 100 km northwest of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photo by Riverstone ResourcesDrillers at work at Riverstone Resources' Karma gold project 100 km northwest of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photo by Riverstone Resources

Toronto-based Volta Resources (VTR-T) and Vancouver-based Riverstone Resources (RVS-V) are separately hunting for gold in the landlocked 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 11 new holes collared at its Karma gold project.

Volta’s Kiaka project is 140 km 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. gold. The project has a further inferred resource totalling 30 million tonnes carrying 1 gram gold for 1 million contained oz. gold. The resource is contained within a single open pit. 

“With a favourable strip ratio and strong recovery fundamentals, it should provide a solid base for the prefeasibility study that’s already underway,” says president and chief executive Kevin Bullock.

A third phase of drilling extended the Kiaka deposit 1.5 km along strike 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.

Program highlights 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 for a new gold discovery, which sits 750 metres south of Kiaka, that is 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 5.2-gram gold highlights 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 by a permit exchange with Randgold Resources (GOLD-Q). 

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

Volta is starting the year strong with its shares up 26%, or 25¢, since Jan. 3. The updated resource estimate’s release on March 21 was initially well received as company shares jumped 4% to $1.24 by midday, but prices dropped later in the trading session and Volta ended 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 $178-million presstime market capitalization.

Riverstone’s flagship Karma gold project is 100 km 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. gold, and an additional inferred in-pit resource of 19 million tonnes carrying 0.93 gram gold for 566,000 contained oz. gold.

The company has been defining the Kao deposit at Karma, with results from 18 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, with a higher-grade, 1.7-gram gold intersect over 8 metres.

Riverstone has extended the Kao mineralization to 1,000 metres north–south and 900 metres downdip to the east. 

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

Riverstone has had some difficulty gaining market traction to start the year. The company’s shares have fallen 17%, or 12¢, to a low of 56¢ on March 28. Riverstone shares maintained a flat 60¢ price on an 110,000-share trade volume following the new results. The company has 130 million shares outstanding, with a market capitalization of $72.78 million.

According to a study by the World Bank, 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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