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African Queen Mines Ltd. has elected to pare down its portfolio by relinquishing certain gold permits and abandoning the Earn-In/JV with Manica Minerals Ltd. ('Manica'), in order to concentrate its exploration activities on its highest priority gold targets including the King Solomon Project.
It has also elected to abandon the Okavango Diamond Project in Northwest Botswana to focus on its Tsau Diamond Project in Western Botswana and its Namibia Diamond Project based upon disappointing results from exploration at Okavango.
Analysis of results of African Queen Mines’ field programmes on the Manica ground over the past three years, including stream, soil and rock samples, suggested that the hard-rock source for gold anomalies found on such ground actually originated on the King Solomon ground. Accordingly, African Queen Mines entered into the agreement with Optimetal and is now abandoning the Manica Fingoe Project. African Queen Mines is also continuing its exploration work under an agreement reached April 2007 with African Eagle Resources plc, under which African Queen Mines now holds a 98 per cent interest in a key permit covering 150 sq. km. adjacent to King Solomon on the North.
African Queen Mines has also decided to abandon the Okavango Diamond Project, which covers approximately 2592 sq. km on the recently recognised southern extension of the Congo Craton in northwest Botswana. If kimberlites were present within the property, they could be the source of an important, but unexplained diamond-G10 garnet soil anomaly to the southeast, near the village of Tsumkwe, in NE Namibia. High resolution aeromagnetic data covering the property was screened, both in-house and by an independent geophysical contractor, and numerous bulls-eye magnetic anomalies were identified. Ground geophysics follow-up of selected targets outlined coincident gravity anomalies associated with a number of the magnetic bulls-eye features. Two phases of soil sampling recovered kimberlitic ilmenites and less abundant garnets, including some with diamond inclusion compositions, over some of the targets investigated. These results were considered to provide considerable encouragement for the existence of a proximal undiscovered kimberlite field. Targets were ranked on a combination of the ground geophysics and soil sampling results, and a total of 10 core holes were drilled into the seven top-ranking targets during 2009. Unfortunately, no kimberlites were intersected, and all holes bottomed in mafic basement lithologies at depths between 50-100m.
In view of these disappointing results, a geomorphic study was carried out to determine the possible source of the kimberlitic minerals recovered within the property. This study demonstrated that the highest concentrations of kimberlitic pathfinder minerals are associated with a recently recognised ancient shoreline of a major Pleistocene lake that once covered much of northern Botswana, and that the kimberlitic minerals had most likely been transported by longshore currents from a distal primary kimberlite source. Based on this study, it has now been concluded that no further work is warranted within the Okavango Property. Rather, the Company’s ongoing diamond programme will now focus on the Namibian and Tsau Properties. These are highlighted as diamond exploration targets because they straddle ancient sub-Kalahari fossil drainages that could have provided the transport lines for the diamonds and G10 garnets associated with the Tsumkwe anomaly. Exploration will continue on these diamond properties during 2010 and a core drilling programme is planned for the Tsau Property covering key targets.