Iron, gold the fruits of WA merger

African Aura Mining, the new name by which Mano River Resources is known following the completion of a merger late last year, is a Toronto/London listed gold and iron ore development company considered to have excellent earning prospects in both Liberia and Cameroon.

Managed by an experienced team lead by Luis da Silva (formerly of Lafarge and Blue Circle Industries and a graduate of the prestigious Camborne School of Mines in the UK) African Aura has a strong track record in discovering and developing major new deposits of both iron ore and gold; Puta and New Liberty being respectively its two ‘flagship’ projects in Liberia with Cameroon looking especially good for humdrum metal, too (details below).

"The company’s focus is on fast-track development of assets" says its regularly updated website (www.african-aura.com). As well as a comprehensive resource brochure this includes individual project pages which give a very full account of developments in both countries, including such essential detail as potential access to future port schemes and existing infrastructure like power lines and sealed roads.

Headquartered in Toronto but with offices in London, Monrovia and Yaoundé also, AA Mining stresses its strategy wherever it operates – there are other base and precious metal projects in West and Central Africa – of always trying to be a ‘first mover’ within very promising but under-explored geological provinces, all with the aim of developing the next generation of iron ore and gold mines in SSA.

It also emphasises the long working experience of its highly qualified staff in Africa in identifying and assessing all the ‘non-geological’ risks that have been the downfall of so many other mine developers here.

Techniques and technologies

On the geological side the company uses satellite and other remote sensing techniques to select the most promising areas for trial drilling, usually concentrating on locations where significant deposits ‘crop out’ at the surface and typically display a history of successful artisanal operations. The New Liberty development, for example, is located upstream of a well known alluvial mining site. These accessible resources are typically discovered fastest and developed at lowest cost to become successful working mines, the ultimate goal of all these activities.

Projects in the two countries are maintained at various stages of development in what the newly merged company calls a "pipeline of opportunities", all the way from reconnaissance sampling through to drilling for definition of the resource.

For enough technical and situational details to satisfy the most scrupulous analyst the website should be referred to, but the main points about the two most important prospects are as follows.

Already 4000m of drilling have been completed with more than 25,000 to go at the Puta iron ore deposit in Liberia where African Aura is partnered with mighty Severstal Resources, one of Russia’s largest mining companies, in the development of a major industrial resource which is thought to be well in excess of a billion tonnes, graded at 37.6 per cent iron overall. Located just 100km from the Atlantic coast the mine will be serviceable by a new deepwater port and a dedicated rail line – both feasible, the experts say. And always keen to go over ground formerly identified by knowledgeable artisanal miners the AA team were delighted to find a promising and explorable adit extending more than 200m into the hillside.

Likewise the New Liberty gold deposit in Liberia’s northwest, a wholly-owned prospective asset, is located on territory upstream of where intensive alluvial mining already takes place on a small scale. A 13.5mn tons resource has been identified so far indicating a mean prospective yield of 3.18g/t for the whole asset, and a further encouraging sign is that there are other good prospects such as Gondoja within truckable distance of the main site. Adding up all the evidence "this prospect has all the hallmarks of a major gold deposit" the company says; independents have suggested an eventual annual output of as much as 100,000oz.

Other key exploration projects currently in the pipeline include the suspected very high grade iron deposits at Nkout in southern Cameroon; the company is the sole owner of drilling rights here and prospects are enhanced by the proximity of Sundance’s known Mbalam deposits; a new deepwater port capable of receiving bulk carriers has already been proposed at Kribi, and the region is relatively well served with essential infrastructure. In the same CA country African Aura has a licence to undertake exploration drilling, hopefully for commercial amounts of gold, at Batouri in Kambele province; tests have already produced visible gold in more than half the drillings undertaken since prospecting began just two years ago.

In the near term this energetic and pioneering mining development company with its team of strategic technical partners has indicated an intention to step up exploration at the established Nkout iron ore prospect. More joint ventures are not being ruled out by the trade and further M&A activity involving such a highly successful and locally experienced business could be on the cards, too.

African Aura Mining Inc’s registered office is at Suite 3350 Dunsmuir Street, PO Box 49222, Four Bentall Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada V7X 1LZ

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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