Reconnaissance exploration in north-eastern Turkey for large porphyry Cu-Au and related deposits identified significant potential in the Artvin Province (near Georgia) and resulted in the acquisition of the Ardala Project by the Company in 2007. This project, in addition to several other licences, is now being advanced through a Joint Venture agreement with Eldorado Gold Corporation (TSX:ELD, NYSE: EGO), which is focused exclusively on exploration in the Artvin Province.
A Joint Venture exploration company, 49% owned by Ariana Resources and named Pontid Madencilik San. ve Tic. Ltd., was established in 2008. The Joint Venture includes a free-carry for Ariana to Bankable Feasibility at 20% or 10%, for initial projects or new projects, respectively. Funding of development costs thereafter is undertaken on a pro-rata basis and if Ariana is diluted to <5% during this period of joint funding then Ariana will adopt a 1.5% NSR.
Eldorado Gold has already funded approximately US$5 million to the exploration of the Joint Venture properties. A maiden resource of 1.09 million oz inferred and indicated resources were identified at the project in 2013.
Ardala and Salinbaş
The Ardala Project is located in the Pontide Metallogenic Province of Turkey and lies approximately 80km southeast of the coastal city of Hopa and 20km east of Artvin. The property was acquired in 2007 according to a royalty agreement for which a 1.5% NSR will be payable in the event that the project enters production.
The property 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. Exposed parts of the porphyry have dimensions of 600m by 700m and interpretation of ground magnetic data suggests further lateral continuity beneath limestone units. Thirteen drill holes were undertaken on part of the mineralised system in the early 1990s for which an outline (non-JORC) resource of 20Mt at an average grade of 0.25% Cu, 0.45 g/t Au and 65 ppm Mo was established. A phased programme of drilling on extensions of this porphyry system has been underway since 2009. The results at the Ardala Project indicate continuity of porphyry mineralisation beneath limestone cover.
A major soil anomaly, named the Salinbaş prospect, was discovered on the property, to the south-west of the area drilled by previous operators. The Salinbaş prospect is just over 1km from the area drilled in the 1990s and has a strike of about 1km and width of 0.5km. An additional licence was secured in this area to cover the Salinbaş prospect and trenching identified multiple zones of high-grade mineralisation over significant widths.
The Salinbaş prospect has the potential to contribute towards the resource base and indicates considerable exploration upside for the Eastern Pontide region of Turkey. A series of exploration trenches were excavated in 2009 and further followed-up through 2010. They defined mineralisation over a total strike length of about 300 metres, open towards the east in the direction of the Ardala porphyry (Table 1). Follow-up drilling was completed in 2010 and 2011.
Table 1: Trench results in bedrock on the Salibas prospect. Results reported for intercepts >1g/t Au using a 0.5 g/t Au lower cut, no upper cut and up to 10 metres of waste material allowed.
Grade Au (g/t)
Grade Ag (g/t)
To date a total of 6,951m for 60 diamond drill holes has been completed on the Salinbaş Prospect. These holes were modelled in Gemcom and have demonstrated a zone of mineralisation, which is 750m x 500m in areal extent. The mineralisation appears to occupy one dominant fault plane, possibly a thrust, which dips gently to the southeast away from an outcropping breccia zone. Several subsidiary mineralised zones occupy the footwall of the dominant fault plane and have been penetrated by some previous holes. Highlights of the most significant intercepts from these programmes are shown in Table 2.
Table 2: 2010 drilling results for the Salinbaş prospect. Results reported for intercepts >1g/t Au using a 0.5 g/t Au lower cut, no upper cut, a 2m minimum composite width and up to 10 metres of waste material allowed.
Grade Au (g/t)
Following a 4,000m diamond drilling programme which commenced on the Salinbaş Prospect and its extensions towards the Ardala porphyry Ariana released its maiden resource statement for the Artvin project.
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