“We made three discoveries in three jurisdictions in three years,” said Vincent Mascolo, managing director of IronRidge Resources.
This isn’t a bad track record, especially since the commodities in question – gold and lithium – are two of the most sought-after commodities today.
“What two great goods that you have to be a part of,” says Mascolo enthusiastically.
“Gold is the economic backbone for most countries, and lithium is on the way up with green renewal too.”
Gold Discoveries: IronRidge Resources is trying to move forward while the price of gold is high
The projects in question are the Zaranou gold project in Ivory Coast, the Ewoyaa lithium project in Ghana and the Dorothe gold project in Chad.
Could it be that the Chad projects are the most exciting and positive of them all? It could be, but the market needs to be turned into a Chad story as there aren’t many of them.
And that’s why IronRidge came to Cote D’Ivoire and picked up Zaranou, the asset that made most of its operations for 2020.
Cote D’Ivoire is far more suitable for investors and is also home to the producing mines Yaoure, Agbauo and Tongon. Part of the prolific West African Birimian greenstone belt, the geology has not disappointed so far.
Zaranou has been drilled fairly continuously this year, and when the first resource comes it is unlikely to disappoint.
“Covid knocked us aside for about three weeks,” says Mascolo, “but we regained our stance and made it 37,000 meters.” Now we are committed to another 50,000. ‘
The thought is that while the gold price is high, access to the projects is available and the money is to be paid for it, the company should move on and do as much work as possible.
“Our strategy is to reduce the time to the first resource,” says Mascolo.
So far the signs are very positive. The highlights of this year’s drilling include five meters with a full 270 grams per ton, 24 meters with 13.6 grams, 22 meters with over three grams and 12 meters with over six grams.
At the time these results were announced, Mascolo was calling them “superb” and given what they suggest, this may not be an understatement.
The latest results, released in late October, continued to show significant grade and mineralization.
“Zaranou has a strike zone of 47 kilometers, and we only tested 10 percent of that,” says Mascolo.
‘The top 50 meters are all weathered and are effectively free to dig. We see this as our early production strategy.
“But we are also beginning to prove that mineralization continues at depth. We believe Zaranou has the potential to be one of the most significant gold discoveries in West Africa. ‘
IronRidge is currently valued at around £ 62 million
The latter is a highly speculative statement at this point, but it’s worth noting that it’s not just IronRidge that likes Zaranou’s potential.
The company has received interest from several large companies, and as Mascolo points out, the majors generally don’t care about something that doesn’t have a clear path to at least three million ounces.
So all eyes will be on the announcement of the first resource when it comes out next year – this could mean a real shift in the company’s positioning in the marketplace.
Because if Zaranou works in the way Mascolo and his team believe possible, the momentum gained will likely allow the company to invade Chad without investors turning back.
“All the majors keep coming up to us and saying, ‘Tell us about Chad,” says Mascolo. “They’re interested, but at this point they’re slow moving.”
What is needed is a little bit more groundbreaking from IronRidge and a little bit more geology work there.
This will happen when the coronavirus restrictions wear off and the company is already busy in due course.
Dorothe consists of a 200 square kilometer license that houses extensive manual work. There is visible gold in the bottom and a few nuggets up to an inch in diameter have been discovered.
It’s a tantalizing prospect that Mascolo and his team are justifiably excited about.
What about the lithium?
Again, this is a very attractive project, but as gold is enjoying its moment in the sun in the markets, it has slightly faded from the eyes of investors.
“Two years ago we were only valued for our lithium,” notes Mascolo dryly. “Then we were only allowed to talk about gold this May.”
But even if it is true that the focus of investors and the company is on gold, there is no doubt that the lithium project has significant value.
One plan might be to turn it into its own vehicle next year, a maneuver IronRidge previously successfully performed on other assets. “There is interest in joint ventures and farm-in deals,” says Mascolo.
IronRidge is currently valued at around £ 62 million. Watch this room.
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