The Zani-Kodo site, in the Ituri region of Orientale province, is part of a 3 239-square-kilometre area explored by a joint venture between Mwana Africa, which has 80% stake in the exploration rights, and Office des Mines d'Or de Kilomoto.
'We are focusing our drilling in this area because there was an old Belgian mine there, and it seems to have high potential for deposits of good quality. We know there is an orebody, but it has been mined and depleted to some extent,' says Mwana Africa vice-president for exploration Charl du Plessis.
The Zani-Kodo operation, which was abandoned in 1964 owing to a civil war in the former Belgian colony, reached total production of 572 000 t. At the time of abandonment, the sulphide reserve was reported to be 352 000 t at 8,15 g/t.
Du Plessis says, 'We started the exploration at Zani-Kodo in June 2006 by mobilising one drill rig in the area.' The drilling exploration of Zani-Kodo is located over a strike length of 700 m, and the company has received assays for 16 out of 34 holes to date.
Exploration of the area has found that the Greenstone Belt of Kibalian age (three-billion years), comprising some of the oldest rocks on the planet has high gold potential.
'The portions of the belt we are exploring are the same age as the Moto deposit to the north and the Geita deposit, in Tanzania. Both of these deposits contain about 20-million-ounce resources,' adds Du Plessis.
He says that exploration at Zani-Kodo will continue, as other explorers have found huge deposits elsewhere on similar Central African Greenstone Belts. 'We are exploring Zani-Kodo because there are other large deposits hosted in the same Greenstone Belt. We hope to find similar-sized gold deposits, but this still needs to be established,' adds Du Plessis.
Mwana Africa is focusing its drilling on a mineralised shear that occurs along the contact between a footwall sandstone and graphitic schist-banded iron formation sequence.
The company says that the drilling aims to define an openpittable resource.
Du Plessis says that Mwana Africa has completed an airborne magnetic and radiometric survey of the area, which measures the magnetism of the rocks and retrieves information on whether radioactive minerals are present in the area.
Drilling is expected to continue for the next year and a half, and, if justified, an infill drilling programme will be conducted to define a potential resource.