5 September 2017
EXCITING RESULTS ACROSS HOT GOLD CORRIDOR
Ariana Resources plc ("Ariana" or "the Company"), the gold exploration and development company operating in Turkey, is encouraged to announce the completion of its initial exploration across the Hot Gold Corridor and within its wholly-owned Salinbas Gold Project ("Salinbas" or "the Project").
· Several high-priority pXRF geochemical targets identified which demonstrate potential for further "Salinbas-type" epithermal mineralisation and/or systems related to copper-gold porphyries.
· Ardala North target has been prioritised for immediate work as it demonstrates significant multi-element anomalism and the potential for gold-silver mineralisation.
· Anomalous geochemical results obtained between Hizarliyayla and Salinbas show potential for additional zones of mineralisation.
· Project-scale geological mapping and Phase Two pXRF geochemical sampling has recently commenced, with several new target zones now confirmed.
Dr. Kerim Sener, Managing Director, commented:
"These exciting initial results confirm our understanding of the potential of the Hot Gold Corridor to contain significant gold and base-metal dominant mineralised systems. In particular, the Ardala North target, covering an area of 1.5 x 0.5km, now represents one of the most strongly and consistently anomalous areas for copper, lead and zinc within the Project, with significant potential for coincident gold and silver. We have now upgraded the Hizarliyayla area to a priority exploration target due to multi-element anomalism representative of high-level epithermal mineralisation, which in part is capped by limestone units. It is highly significant that Hizarliyayla is partly hosted within the same stratigraphic sequence as the 4Moz Hot Maden project roughly 7km to the south.
Several new targets have already been identified and occur in the region separating Salinbas from Hizarliyayla, in an area dominated by limestone units. As we expected, mineralisation has now been identified in the periphery of these limestones, which reflects the specific structural setting of the Salinbas orebody. Consequently, we predict that other "Salinbas-type" deposits will occur within the region and our exploration strategy will be expanded and targeted accordingly.
Due to the significance of these results, we have recently completed a site visit to meet with the team and to plan and prioritise the next stage of our work. This work is now well underway and we look forward to providing a flow of updates in the months ahead."
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.
Phase One pXRF Programme
The Company has recently completed a 65km2 portable X-ray Fluorescence (pXRF) soil geochemical sampling programme across its Salinbas Project licences in Artvin Province, northeastern Turkey (Figure 1). A total of 3,552 pXRF soil samples were collected from road and track cuttings along over 210km of mapped access routes within the Ardala, Hizarliyayla and Salinbas licences. The programme was also designed to complete initial follow-up of several existing targets defined earlier in the year (see release of 18 January 2017). In addition, the exploration team explored the 8km gap between the Salinbas and Hizarliyayla prospects.
Soil samples were processed on site and analysed at the Company's drill-core storage depot located in Ardanuc, a drive of approximately 45 minutes from the Salinbas deposit. Samples were analysed in batches of 50 using an Olympus handheld portable XRF analyser with blank and multi-element standards routinely analysed every 100 readings. The results highlighted twenty significantly anomalous areas for further follow-up. Six areas display geochemical signatures which are anomalous in arsenic (As), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), sulphur (S) and zinc (Zn). These are elements typically associated with porphyry-type mineralisation. The remaining areas are anomalous in antimony (Sb), arsenic (As), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), silver (Ag) and zinc, which are elements commonly associated with epithermal mineralisation.
A target previously identified in the area north of the main Ardala Porphyry (now referred to as Ardala North), was followed-up during this programme and returned with 16 significantly anomalous results elevated in Ag, As, Cu, Pb, S and Zn. Due to the magnitude of the anomalism and its coherence over an area of 1.5 x 0.5km, this target has now been classified as highly significant and prioritised for immediate further work. Early results have shown that the anomalism relates to several zones of contact mineralisation occurring between the Ardala Porphyry and overlying limestone units. Several intensely manganese-rich brecciated limestone units have also been mapped, which likely relate to higher-grade gold zones occurring in the Ardala Carapace.
Results over the Hizarliyayla prospect define a 2km2 area highly anomalous in As, Cu, S and Zn. Historic rock-chip assay results in this area also demonstrated consistent gold mineralisation ranging from 1.36 g/t Au to 0.20 g/t Au for 47 samples. A 0.25km2 high-temperature kaolinite and alunite alteration zone is evident from a recent ASTER remote-sensing study. Significantly the main alteration zone identified by ASTER at Hizarliyayla has not been tested with drilling and many of the historic samples relate to pyritic mineralisation in the upper part and periphery of the system. Also the soil and rock-chip geochemistry of Hizarliyayla compares well to that occurring at Hot Maden (7.5km to the south). Such observations make the Hizarliyayla prospect one of the most significant exploration targets in the region.
Other anomalies within the licences include Agillar, Derinkoy North and Hizarliyayla Far East. The Agillar target is located 4km south of the Salinbas deposit and displays a dominant Cu and Zn association. The Derinkoy North target is located 2.5km north of the gold-silver epithermal mineralisation documented at the Derinkoy prospect. Derinkoy North is associated with a sulphur-rich kaolinite-illite alteration zone and contains pXRF copper anomalies. The Hizarliyayla Far East target is primarily anomalous in copper with sporadic mercury.
Following this pXRF sampling programme, the exploration team is preparing to follow-up all anomalies while completing detailed geological mapping across the project area. This mapping will cover 100km2 and will merge all 1:1,500 prospect-scale geological mapping across the tenements with 1:10,000 district-scale mapping in order to compile a single coherent geological dataset. This dataset will be used along with geochemical and available geophysical data to define new drilling targets.
Phase Two pXRF Programme
Phase Two pXRF follow-up soil samples are currently being collected from a gridded area around the Ardala Porphyry. This area is significant due to the high grades, up to 7.02 g/t Au, encountered within parts of the alteration zone surrounding the porphyry. Improving the understanding of the area is also important to fully establish the distribution of mineralisation within the structural corridor that links Ardala to Salinbas. Further work is also being conducted on the south-eastern periphery of the porphyry which will add confidence to a cluster of six significant and coherent soil assay samples that range up to 2.1g/t Au, an important target which remains untested by drilling. Further gridded pXRF soil sampling will be undertaken across other target areas as appropriate.
New geological mapping at 1:1,500 scale is also underway across the project area. This work is leading towards a new understanding of the structural controls on mineralisation, the ore body position at Salinbas and its relationship to underlying porphyry intrusions. Several new targets have already been generated from this detailed mapping, which will extend south from the Ardala/Salinbas areas and encompass all other prospects including Hizarliyayla. The exploration team will be continuing to map and sample throughout the Hot Gold Corridor for at least the next month.
SEE LINK BELOW FOR: Map of the Salinbas Project area, showing some of the key geochemical target areas identified by pXRF across the Hot Gold Corridor, with ASTER remote-sensing data and topography forming the map base. The coincidence of areas of known mineralisation and alteration is significant, although several alteration targets are obscured by forestation.
The Salinbas Project is located in the Pontide Metallogenic Province in northeastern Turkey and lies approximately 80km southeast of the coastal city of Hopa and 20km east of Artvin. The project comprises three notable prospects: Salinbas, Ardala and Hizarliyayla (Figure 1). The project comprises three licences which are owned 100% by Ariana through the operating subsidiary, Pontid Madencilik San. ve Tic. Ltd. Two of the licences are in process at the General Directorate of Mining Affairs for conversion to operational status by early 2018.
Salinbas is the most notable of the prospect areas, having been identified in 2009 following rock-chip sampling and trenching, which included 33m at 9.6 g/t Au and 46m at 8.3 g/t Au. Follow-up drilling identified a gently dipping mineralised body emplaced along a thrust zone to the east of a series of breccia pipes and the main body of the Ardala Cu-Au-Mo porphyry. The best intercepts in initial shallow drilling included 9.5m @ 6.48 g/t Au + 39.4 g/t Ag, 11.3m @ 4.98 g/t Au + 42.8 g/t Ag and 25m @ 3.34 g/t Au + 7.9 g/t Ag. Best intercepts from further drilling included 31.10m @ 1.38g/t Au, 17.90m @ 2.09 g/t Au and 9.20m @ 2.25 g/t Au, with most mineralised intercepts obtained from less than 70m below surface. A total of 11,709m drilling for 86 drill holes has been completed on Salinbas to date and has defined a tabular resource (Table 2) which dips towards the east at 25 degrees. Substantial vertical relief exists between the top of the mineralisation at Salinbas Peak (1,320m above sea level) to the lower limits of the current resource (780m above sea level) in the vicinity of the Ardala porphyry.
Table 2: Classified JORC 2012 Mineral Resource estimate for Salinbas (dated 1 April 2015). The resource was modelled on the basis of geology and a lower cut-off of 0.5 g/t Au. Numbers may not sum due to rounding.
Grade Au (g/t)
Grade Ag (g/t)
Limited exploration drilling between Salinbas and the Ardala porphyry to the east has also been conducted. Highly encouraging results from these holes confirmed the need for further exploration in this area and suggest the continuity of mineralisation from the Ardala porphyry in the valley floor to the Salinbas system on the ridge, representing a vertical distance of 675m and a horizontal distance of close to 2km. The best recent intercepts from drilling in the area connecting the Salinbas system to the Ardala system include 81.5m @ 1.28 g/t Au + 10.5 g/t Ag, 34.5m @ 2.21 g/t Au + 10.7 g/t Ag and 18.2m @ 2.20 g/t Au + 25.6 g/t Ag. Further establishing the links between these two areas will be an important objective for future drilling programmes.
A scoping study focused on Salinbas and completed in 2015 (see announcement on 1 April 2015), demonstrated potential for the project to yield strong financial returns, with NPV (8%) at US$108M, pre-tax IRR of 28%, and payback secured within approximately 3.3 years over the Life of Mine ("LoM") at a gold price of US$1,250/oz. This demonstrates that a potentially viable resource development opportunity already exists at Salinbas and that future exploration work will probably reinforce this view.
The nearby Ardala area hosts a porphyry copper-gold (plus molybdenum) mineralised system associated with a series of nested quartz-diorite intrusions of Eocene age within an Upper Cretaceous volcano-sedimentary sequence. Geological mapping, soil, rock-chip and drill sample data, and a ground magnetic survey outlined the mineralised porphyry and in 2013 a JORC Mineral Resource was established (Table 3). Exposed parts of the porphyry have dimensions of 600 x 700m and interpretation of magnetic data suggests further lateral continuity beneath limestone units over an area of 1,000m x 1,000m in extent. Previous exploration also focused specifically on the mineralised intrusions, while surrounding gold-bearing skarns (peak grade 5.16 g/t Au and 0.2% Cu in rock-chips) and related disseminated mineralisation in the host-rocks remain largely untested. The best intercepts from recent drilling in the Ardala area include 119.5m @ 0.71g/t Au + 0.21% Cu + 0.01% Mo, 236.3m @ 0.34 g/t Au + 0.06% Cu and 122.9m @ 0.58 g/t Au + 0.05% Cu, which tested an area of mineralised porphyry and immediately adjacent limestone. Deeper (>150m) high-grade intercepts outside of the porphyry at Ardala include 4.2m @ 6.74 g/t Au, 2.8m @ 3.34 g/t Au + 38.96 g/t Ag + 2.56% Zn, 2.0m @ 5.29 g/t Au + 13.5 g/t Ag, indicating the potential for other styles of higher grade mineralisation sitting adjacent to the porphyry.
Table 3: Classified JORC 2004 Mineral Resource estimate for Ardala (dated 13 April 2013). Separate resource domains were established for the Au, Cu and Mo components of the Ardala porphyry. There is a 95% coincidence of the Au and Cu domains, and a 40-50% coincidence of the Au and Mo domains.
Ariana Resources plc
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7407 3616
Michael de Villiers, Chairman
Kerim Sener, Managing Director
Beaumont Cornish Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7628 3396
Roland Cornish / Felicity Geidt
Beaufort Securities Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7382 8300
Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7886 2500
Adam James / Tom Salvesen
Dr Kerim Sener, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, is the Managing Director of Ariana Resources plc. A graduate of the University of Southampton in Geology, he also holds a Master's degree from the Royal School of Mines (Imperial College, London) in Mineral Exploration and a doctorate from the University of Western Australia. He is a Fellow of The Geological Society of London and has worked in geological research and mineral consultancy in Africa, Australia and Europe. He has read and approved the technical disclosure in this regulatory announcement.
About Ariana Resources
Ariana is an exploration and development company focused on epithermal gold-silver and porphyry copper-gold deposits in Turkey. The Company is developing a portfolio of prospective licences originally selected on the basis of its in-house geological and remote-sensing database.
The Company's flagship assets are its Kiziltepe and Tavsan gold projects which form the Red Rabbit Gold Project. Both contain a series of prospects, within two prolific mineralised districts in the Western Anatolian Volcanic and Extensional (WAVE) Province in western Turkey. This Province hosts the largest operating gold mines in Turkey and remains highly prospective for new porphyry and epithermal deposits. These core projects, which are separated by a distance of 75km, form part of a 50:50 Joint Venture with Proccea Construction Co. The Kiziltepe Sector of the Red Rabbit Project is fully-permitted and is currently in production. The total resource inventory at the Red Rabbit Project and wider project area stands at c. 605,000 ounces of gold equivalent. At Kiziltepe a Net Smelter Return ("NSR") royalty of up to 2.5% on production is payable to Franco-Nevada Corporation. At Tavsan an NSR royalty of up to 2% on future production is payable to Sandstorm Gold.
In north-eastern Turkey, Ariana owns 100% of the Salinbas Gold Project, comprising the Salinbas gold-silver deposit and the Ardala copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry among other prospects. The total resource inventory of the Salinbas project area is c. 1 million ounces of gold equivalent. A NSR royalty of up to 2% on future production is payable to Eldorado Gold Corporation.
Beaufort Securities Limited and Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited are joint brokers to the Company and Beaumont Cornish Limited is the Company's Nominated Adviser.
For further information on Ariana you are invited to visit the Company's website at www.arianaresources.com.
Glossary of Technical Terms:
"Ag" the chemical symbol for silver;
"Au" the chemical symbol for gold;
"g/t" grams per tonne;
"Indicated resource" a part of a mineral resource for which tonnage, densities, shape, physical characteristics, grade and mineral content can be estimated with a reasonable level of confidence. It is based on exploration, sampling and testing information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes. The locations are too widely or inappropriately spaced to confirm geological and/or grade continuity but are spaced closely enough for continuity to be assumed;
"Inferred resource" a part of a mineral resource for which tonnage, grade and mineral content can be estimated with a low level of confidence. It is inferred from geological evidence and has assumed, but not verified, geological and/or grade continuity. It is based on information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that may be limited or of uncertain quality and reliability;
"JORC" the Joint Ore Reserves Committee;
"pXRF" portable X-ray Fluorescence handheld device that uses X-rays to excite matter at the atomic level. A built in CPU and display on the back of the unit provide live geochemical results within seconds for elements ranging from magnesium through to the heaviest metals such as uranium. A three filter 50 second sample scan is typical. Taking multiple readings across a sample grid allows the user to very rapidly build up a geochemical map, outlining potential pathfinder elements associated with mineralisation, lithological boundaries and intensity or zoning of mineralised areas;