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Acacia Mining has announced an expected gold resource of at least 1.31m ounces in West Kenya, which the company said marked a “first step” in the delineation of a multi-million ounce high-grade corridor.

The compliant-inferred gold resource, at 12.1 grams per tonne, was found in the Liranda corridor of Acacia’s West Kenya project.

The Africa-focused miner, which is listed in London and Tanzania, said it hopes to increase the size of the resource to 2m ounces after spending a further $12m on drilling this year in the Liranda corridor and nearby sites with known mineralisation deposits.

The resource announcement is larger than the estimates the company gave in its annual results last week and comes after four years of exploration. Production is still several years away, according to the company, whose biggest shareholder is Barrick Gold.

Kenya is one of east Africa’s least explored countries by miners, with only one commercial operation – Base Resources’ titanium mine in the south-east of the country. But it is thought to have several commercially viable deposits, based on initial surveys.

Brad Gordon, Acacia’s chief executive, said:

“This is one of the highest grade projects in Africa today, and we believe that this initial resource is a first step in the delineation of a multi-million ounce high-grade corridor.

In addition to the Acacia prospect, which hosts all of this maiden resource, we have known mineralisation on the Bushiangala prospect, one kilometre away to the west, with a further three prospective lodes in early stage testing.”

Dan Kazungu, Kenya’s mining minister added:

“Kenya is undoubtedly a geologically rich country, and we are taking significant steps, such as the ratification of the 2016 Mining Act, to establish a robust legislative framework to support our developing mining industry. We are excited about the potential of Acacia’s West Kenya Project, as it could ultimately lead to the creation of a gold mining industry.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

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