HALIFAX, Nov. 12 /CNW/ - Etruscan Resources Inc. (EET.TSX) announced
today that it has allocated $15 million of its recent $35 million financing to
aggressive exploration and drill programs in five African countries. Ten
projects are drill-ready and several other projects are expected to generate
drill targets over the next 3- 4 months.
Highlights of the planned $15 million program include:
- Burkina Faso - 15,500 geochemical samples, 8,000 meters auger drilling,
27,000 meters RC drilling;
- Mali - 2,200 geochemical samples, 41,600 meters auger drilling,
15,750 meters RAB drilling, 15,000 meters RC drilling;
- Côte d'Ivoire - 20,000 geochemical samples, 5,000 meters RAB drilling,
20,000 meters RC drilling;
- Ghana - 14,270 geochemical samples, 6,000 meters RC drilling; and
- Namibia - 23,100 geochemical samples, 10,800 meters RC drilling
In addition, certain land packages have been targeted for detailed
airborne geophysics. It is estimated that 1,200 line kilometers of airborne
electromagnetic, radiometric and magnetic surveys will also be carried out.
Gerald McConnell, President and CEO of Etruscan stated:
"Since 2000, Etruscan has been acquiring strategic land positions in West
and South Africa. Today, we have one of the largest strategic land positions
of any mining company with approximately 24,000 km2 under permit and another
7,000 km2 under application in five different countries.
We have one of the finest exploration teams with over 125 years of
African experience and with direct involvement in some of the most significant
gold discoveries made in West Africa. Over the past several years, we have
been investing in purchasing our own drills and training our own drilling
teams, thereby lowering our drilling costs substantially and greatly improving
our mobility and flexibility to drill targets.
This $15 million program is the largest allocation in the Company's
history by three times and the likelihood of several new significant
discoveries is excellent. On top of all of this exciting exploration news, we
have Youga coming into production. Gold, in my view, is heading to $1000 and
higher. As a result, this mine will provide significant cash flow to the
Company and will sustain this level of exploration activity for many years to
come. This will truly be a milestone year for Etruscan and its shareholders. "
Exploration will focus on three different gold belts, namely the Youga
Gold Belt, the Banfora Gold Belt and the Boromo Gold Belt.
Youga Gold Belt - Follow-up programs are planned for two areas of known
gold mineralization that have not been drill tested by Etruscan, at Zerbogo
and Bitou. Historic mineral resources of 200,000 ounces have been reported by
Ashanti Goldfields on these two prospects and Etruscan has carried out
sufficient surface exploration to suggest that significant strike extensions
may exist. These historic resources are pre-National Instrument 43-101 as
reported by the previous property owner, Ashanti Goldfields, for which the
Company has not completed the work necessary to verify the classification of
the mineral resource estimate.
Banfora Gold Belt - Etruscan has conducted regional exploration over
1,400 km2 in the Banfora Gold Belt. Follow-up pitting and auger drilling on
the regional gold-in-soil anomalies from last summer has delineated four
primary and eight secondary drill targets. Drill-ready targets on the Komoe
Permit include Phaco Hill (350 meter long target with 0.5 - 4.1 g/t in rock
samples coincident with regional arsenic anomaly), and Siniko West (two
targets comprising a 700 meter strike length up to 1.3 g/t from pits and auger
drilling). Drilling on the Kangounadeni Permit will focus on the Diarabakoko
target where recent gold digging has taken place with assays up to 16 g/t
along a strike length of 200 meters within a soil anomaly extending for
600 meters. Additional regional soil targets remain to be tested with auger
Boromo Gold Belt - A recent initiative has been undertaken to develop a
land position in the Boromo gold belt, which hosts the Bissa Gold Deposit of
High River Gold Mines Ltd. with 662,000 ounces of indicated and 669,000 ounces
of inferred resource. Preliminary investigations by Etruscan in areas of
active gold digging fields suggest that potential exists for significant new
discoveries and an aggressive drill program is anticipated before year end.
The Company is also working towards expanding its strategic land package in
The highlights of Etruscan's exploration efforts in Mali have been the
Finkolo Project in Mali South and the Diba Project in Mali West. The Company's
land position in the Syama Gold Belt was significantly expanded in 2007 where
a number of drill targets have been identified.
Finkolo Gold Project - Finkolo is a 60/40 joint venture between Resolute
Mines Ltd. and Etruscan. Resolute is the project manager. Finkolo has
delivered some of the most impressive drill results ever seen out of West
Africa (10 meters of 201.1 g/t, including 2 meters of 982.3 g/t and 14 meters
of 67.9 g/t including 2 meters of 465.2 g/t). The main Tabakoroni Deposit has
only been tested to 130 vertical meters and remains wide open at depth and
along a strike length of 1.7 kilometers. Recently announced results (Company
press release November 6, 2007) were highlighted by 51 meters of 5.7 g/t gold
which included 6 meters of 32.7 g/t gold. The depth potential of the main
Tabakoroni Zone is now well defined with six high grade zones plunging to the
south and wide open at depth. The next phase of drilling is anticipated to
step back and test the deposit at depths of up to 250 vertical meters which is
necessary in the near-term in order to determine the ultimate potential of the
Mali West Gold Belts - In Mali West, Etruscan has over 700 km2 that is
contiguous with the Sadiola property of AngloGold Ashanti and IAMGOLD. It
covers the southern extension of the Mali West Shear Zone along strike of the
14 million ounce Sadiola Mine in the Kofi Formation as well as prospective
ground to the west in the Keniebandi Formation.
In the Keniebandi Formation, Etruscan made a significant gold discovery
at Diba in June of 2006. Exploration outlined an area of anomalous gold
mineralization over a distance of 2.5 kilometers and the Company focused
drilling on the southeastern portion of the zone where mineralization was most
consistent and higher grade. Diba is characterized by disseminated gold in a
broad low grade (0.1 to 0.5 g/t) halo over 20 to 50 meters in thickness with
narrow bonanza grade intercepts of 60-900 g/t over 1 to 2 meters. The last
round of drilling at Diba confirmed that mineralization in the arkosic
sediments is open downdip to the east, and a number of reconnaissance holes in
the northwest intercepted wide zones of low-grade gold mineralization in a
series of intrusive rocks. Exploration drilling will continue to focus on
these two aspects of Diba.
The discovery at Diba and subsequent confirmation by diamond drilling of
similar mineralization 10 kilometers to the south at Kobokotosou, and
indications from auger drilling of another system 30 kilometers to the south
at Keniebandi strongly suggest that Etruscan may be dealing with a new
district-scale gold belt with potential for additional new discoveries.
Etruscan has been primarily focused on moving the Agbaou project towards
feasibility and development. In 2006, Etruscan submitted applications for an
additional 7,000 km2 of new permits, which are pending government approval.
Agbaou Gold Project - Etruscan recognized the opportunity to develop the
Agbaou deposit based on historic resource estimations prepared by RSG Global
in April, 2000 of 885,000 ounces of indicated and 248,000 ounces of inferred
resource. These historic resources are pre-National Instrument 43-101 for
which the Company has not completed the work necessary to verify the
classification of the mineral resource estimate. Etruscan has just completed
an in-fill drilling program at Agbaou for the purpose of delivering a 43-101
compliant resource estimate that will form the basis of a feasibility study to
be completed in 2008. Drill highlights included 10 meters of 24.2 g/t with
5.0 m of 45.3 g/t and 13.4 m of 13.7 g/t with 3.1 m of 31.2 g/t. During the
last drill campaign at Agbaou, Etruscan drilled a number of geochemical
targets that could represent satellite deposits and these drill results will
be available within the next 2-3 weeks. As the feasibility study progresses
drilling will follow up on all proximal targets to increase the resource base
prior to entering the construction phase.
New Permits - Côte d'Ivoire remains the most under-explored country in
West Africa in spite of the fact that over 300,000 km2 is underlain by
prospective Birimian and Archaean terranes. Many of the proven gold belts in
Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana converge into Côte d'Ivoire and yet, apart from
the 4.4 million ounce Tongon deposit slated for development by Randgold, there
have been surprisingly few multi-million ounce discoveries. Etruscan
recognized the opportunity to make strategic permit applications at a time
when its competitors were not active in the country and has made application
for seven new permits comprising some 7,000 km2 in a number of other gold
belts outside of Agbaou. Three of these permits are expected to be approved
before year end and one of these permits is drill-ready. The Company plans to
undertake an aggressive drill program on that permit based on historic
geochemical and reconnaissance drill results along an 8 km long shear zone.
Etruscan began working in Ghana in 2006 under an option agreement with
Redback Mining Inc. whereby Etruscan could earn a 100% interest in 773 km2 of
ground in northern Ghana, including the Bole-Bolgatanga Gold Belt. These
permits cover the southwestern extension of the Youga Gold Belt into Ghana.
Throughout 2007 the Company looked to increase its land position in the
prolific gold belts of southwestern Ghana. In August 2007 the Company entered
into a joint venture with Haber Ghana Inc. to explore 1,331 km2 in the Sefwi
Belt and the Kumasi Basin.
Bole-Bolgatanga Gold Belt - Previous work comprising regional soil
geochemistry, trenching and RAB drilling has identified three drill targets on
the Nangodi Prospecting Licence and two targets on the Bolgatanga
Reconnaissance Licence. Reconnaissance RAB drilling intersections to be
followed up include 6 meters of 4.4 g/t and 14 meters of 1.3 g/t on the
Nangodi Prospecting Licence. Follow up drilling will also be carried out as a
result of the sampling on the historic trenches of Bolgatanga Reconnaissance
Licence, which gave intersections of 12 meters of 7.0 g/t, 10 meters of
5.0 g/t, 8 meters of 5.7 g/t and 10 meters of 2.1 g/t.
Sefwi Belt and Kumasi Basin - The Etruscan-Haber joint venture properties
are located in the Sefwi Volcanic Belt and the Kumasi Sedimentary Basin which
host significant gold deposits including the 13 million ounce Ahafo deposit,
the nine million ounce Bogoso-Prestea deposit, the five million ounce Bibiani
deposit, the two million ounce Obotan deposit, and the two million ounce
Chirano deposit. These properties are all early stage projects that will
require systematic regional geochemical and geological surveys.
The Company expects to acquire more advanced projects in southwestern
Ghana before the end of the year.
Namibia is the newest country in Etruscan's portfolio. The exploration
strategy in Namibia is somewhat different than in the West African countries.
In West Africa, there is a clear focus on the Birimian-age gold belts and in
particular in establishing land positions around existing deposits. Interest
in Namibia arose from an independent doctoral thesis that concluded that
certain areas have a high potential for the discovery of iron oxide copper
gold ("IOCG") deposits and possible relationships to copper deposits of the
Zambian Copper Belt.
Following preliminary reconnaissance and extensive data compilation, the
Company applied for regional land packages in two areas: in northern Namibia
along the southern and eastern margins of a large basement complex (Kamanjab
Inlier) and in the central area covering a volcano-sedimentary belt (Rehoboth
Volcano-Sedimentary Sequence) immediately east of Windhoek. Licences covering
a total of 8,970 km2 were granted between November 2005 and June 2006 and the
Company has undertaken detailed satellite imagery analyses over both areas to
assist in identifying prospective targets within these large land packages.
Kamanjab Project - This project consists of six permits. During 2007
initial prospecting and rock sampling programs covered most of the primary
target areas. Field crews encountered a range of mineralized occurrences (gold
and base metals) and identified several zones of alteration that may be
associated with IOCG type mineralization. The Company is awaiting final
reports but early indications suggest there will be at least three significant
targets ready for drilling shortly.
Witvlei Project - This project comprises five contiguous permits covering
much of the southern margin of the Rehoboth Volcano-Sedimentary Sequence. A
number of historic copper occurrences are known from the belt. Much of the
terrain is sand or calcrete covered and satellite studies proved less
effective. There will be a greater reliance on geochemical survey methods and
field crews are in the initial stages of conducting regional surveys.
ETRUSCAN'S COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES
Etruscan has always taken a long-term view on gold as its core asset and
looked upon the downturn in gold price below the US$300 level during the
period 1999-2001 as a time of opportunity. As many of its competitors
abandoned West Africa, Etruscan acquired assets and established strategic land
positions in gold belts where potential 1-2 million ounce scale resources had
been identified (Samira Hill, Youga and Agbaou).
With the Youga Gold Mine set to pour its first gold in December 2007
commercial production will follow in early 2008. Average annual production
from Youga will be 88,000 ounces and at the Company's protected US$629 gold
price will generate CDN$18 million a year in free cash flow to Etruscan. This
level of cash flow will more than sustain continued exploration in Africa.
Strategic Land Holdings Advantage
Etruscan first began exploration in West Africa in 1994 and during the
period 1994-2000 focused its efforts in the country of Niger. Subsequently the
Company has expanded its exploration efforts into Burkina Faso, Mali, Côte
d'Ivoire and Ghana. Over the period 2001-2005 Etruscan assembled one of the
largest strategic and most diversified land packages in West Africa which now
comprises over 13,000 km2 with another 2,000 km2 of permits pending. More
recently, the Company has established a strategic land position in Namibia
comprising over 10,000 km2 with an additional 7,000 km2 of permits pending.
In-House Drilling Advantage
Etruscan first deployed its own truck-mounted auger drills in 1995 and
over the past two years has significantly increased its in-house drill
capabilities by investing in more versatile custom-made rigs capable of
reaching to depths of up to 100 vertical meters. Etruscan's auger, RC and RAB
drills will be deployed in Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire as part
of the $15million program. One additional rig is being fabricated in Canada
and will also be deployed in West Africa. In Namibia, the Company will
initially engage contract drilling but will look to in-house capabilities over
the coming months.
As a result Etruscan's drilling costs are substantially lower than for
larger contract equipment. Costs for auger drilling are budgeted at
US$1.50/meter, for RAB drilling at US$9.00/meter, and for RC drilling at
US$15.00/meter. Most importantly, by providing the exploration geologists with
immediate and direct access to these drills, Etruscan's exploration teams are
capable of testing all prospective anomalies or significant geological
situations without a dependence upon the availability of contract equipment.
This increases the probabilities for discoveries significantly. When a
discovery is made, the drilling can then be ramped up with the use of larger
Exploration Team Advantage
Etruscan has been working continuously in Africa for over 12 years and
has developed in-country technical expertise rather than relying upon North
American-based rotational staff or consulting geologists. As a result Etruscan
has one of the largest and most experienced exploration teams in West Africa.
This group is credited with the discovery of the Samira Hill Gold Mine in
Niger, the Finkolo Gold Project in Mali South, and the Diba Gold Project in
Mali and developing the Youga Gold Mine in Burkina Faso and the Agbaou Gold
Project in Côte d'Ivoire.
Over the past three years, the Company has strengthened its senior
geological staff in Africa with well-qualified African nationals and currently
employs approximately 140 technicians and support staff. Etruscan has a team
and supporting infrastructure in each country which enables the Company to
cost effectively explore these large land packages. In Namibia, the Company
has just established its presence over the past year and project management is
currently being provided with the assistance of South African consulting
K. Kirk Woodman P.Geo., Etruscan's Chief Project Geologist, is the
Qualified Person overseeing Etruscan's exploration programs in West Africa and
has reviewed this press release.
About Etruscan Resources Inc.
Etruscan Resources Inc. is a gold focused Canadian junior mining company
with dominant land positions in district scale gold belts covering more than
13,000 square kilometers in West Africa. Its principal properties include the
Youga Gold Project in Burkina Faso (Press release dated October 3, 2007), the
Agbaou Gold Project in Côte d'Ivoire where its feasibility drilling program
has been completed (Press release dated October 11, 2007), the Diba Gold
Project in Mali where a major drill program was recently completed (Press
release dated July 26, 2007), the Finkolo Gold Project in Mali where an 6,700
meter reverse circulation and diamond drilling program was recently completed
(Press release dated November 6, 2007) and the Banfora Gold Belt in Burkina
Faso with eight major gold targets identified and where a single sample auger
drilling program began in March 2007 (Press release dated November 27, 2006).
Etruscan recently announced a significant acquisition of strategic properties
in Ghana (Press release dated August 7, 2007). Etruscan also has a 53.7%
interest in Etruscan Diamonds Limited which has a dominant land position in
the Ventersdorp Diamond District located in South Africa. (Press release dated
October 9, 2007). The common shares of Etruscan are traded on The TSX Exchange
under the symbol "EET". More extensive information on Etruscan can be found on
its home page at http://www.etruscan.com
This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements which
involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may
cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be
materially different from any future results, performance or achievements
expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking
statements may include statements regarding exploration results and budgets,
mineral reserve and resource estimates, work programs, capital expenditures,
mine operating costs, production targets and timetables, future commercial
production, strategic plans, market price of precious metals or other
statements that are not statements of fact. Although the Company believes the
expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, it
can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to have been correct.
Various factors that may affect future results include, but are not limited
to: fluctuations in market prices of precious metals; foreign currency
exchange fluctuations; risks relating to mining exploration and development
including reserve estimation and costs and timing of commercial production;
requirements for additional financing; political and regulatory risks, and
other risks and uncertainties described in the Company's annual information
form filed with the Canadian Securities regulators on SEDAR (www.sedar.com).
Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking
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