The Koné Gold Project is located approximately 350 kilometres north-west of Yamoussoukro, the political capital of Côte d’Ivoire, and approximately 600 kilometres north-west of Abidjan, the commercial capital of the country.
It comprises the 300 km2 Morondo Exploration Permit and four exploration permit applications that have been submitted by Montage totaling 1,143 km2.
The Morondo Exploration Permit hosts the Koné deposit which currently comprises an Inferred Mineral Resource of 123Mt grading 0.80g/t for 3.16Moz (based on a 0.4g/t cut off).
The Project is ideally situated near existing infrastructure including grid power, transport and water resources.
Mineral Resource Statement
Koné Gold Project
|Mt||Au (g/t)||Au (Moz)|
- Inferred Mineral Resources are reported in accordance with NI 43-101 with an effective date of January 27, 2021, for the Koné deposit within the Koné Gold Project.
- The Inferred Mineral Resources are reported on a 100% basis and are constrained within an optimal pit shell generated at a gold price of US$1,500/ounce.
- The identified Mineral Resources are classified according to the “CIM” definitions of Inferred Mineral Resources.
- The Inferred Mineral Resource statement was prepared by Mr. Jonathon Abbott of MPR Geological Consultants of Perth, Australia who is a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101.
- The estimates at 0.4g/t cut-off grade represent the base case or preferred scenario.
- Mineral Resources that are not Mineral Reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.
- For additional disclosure regarding the Mineral Resource estimate, please refer to the NI 43-101 Technical Report titled "NI 43-101 Technical Report on the Morondo Gold Project, Côte d'Ivoire" dated January 27, 2021.
Over the last 12 years exploration on the Koné Gold Project (formally the Morondo Gold Project) has been run by the same Ivorian and geologists working for a number of different companies but throughout under the direction of Montage CEO, Hugh Stuart.
The application for the Morondo Exploration was made by Red Back Mining in 2008 with soil sampling and trenching leading to the first shallow drilling by Red Back in 2010 just prior to the company’s acquisition by Kinross.
In 2013, Sirocco Gold, run by the ex-Red Back Management optioned the permit from Kinross and completed follow up shallow RC drilling defining the extents of the Koné deposit.
In 2017, Orca Gold, again run by the same ex-Red Back management acquired the full permit package from Kinross for stock and the pace of exploration increased with the first deeper RC drilling, 528m of core drilling to provide samples for initial metallurgical test work and following positive results a 13,360m RC program leading to the Inferred Mineral Resource in October 2018.
Exploration since the formation of Montage in August 2019 has focussed on expanding the knowledge of the Koné deposit at depth and extending surface geochemistry across previously unsampled eastern part of the permit.
The table below summarises the various phases of exploration on the Koné Gold Project. Despite the long history of the project, with only ~40,000m of drilling to date, Koné represents one of the least drilled +3.0Moz gold deposits in Africa and demonstrates the potential upside present in the project.
|Ground magnetics (km2)||4.68||-||-||-|
|Induced Polarisation (km2)||-||-||104.7||-|
|Rock chip samples||61||2||6||-|
|Recon RC drilling (holes/metres)||-||-||-||187 / 7,339.0|
|RC drilling (holes/metres)||8 / 943||43 / 3,431||64 / 13,360||51 / 7,901.3|
|Diamond drilling (holes/metres)||-||-||2 / 527.8||48 / 16,604.7|
Geology & Mineralization
The Koné Gold Project lies over the southern part of the Birrimian aged Boundiali Basin and covers the extensions of the regional scale and highly prospective Tongon and Syama shear systems.
The Inferred Mineral Resource at Koné is hosted within a 150-200m wide complex quartz diorite package which dips 45-50° west and strikes north-south, and is interpreted as a series of intrusions rather than a single coherent intrusion. The diorite package is intruded into folded mafic volcaniclastic country rocks. Metamorphic grade in the area is upper greenschist to lower amphibolite facies. A foliation striking north-south and dipping 45-50° to the west is consistent throughout the area.
The hanging wall contact of the diorite package with the overlying volcaniclastic package is well defined by current drilling and is marked by thin dykes of diorite and a 10-20m thick, barren diorite body.
The footwall contact is poorly defined as the majority of the current drilling ends in the diorite and only the deeper core holes have intersected this contact. In the footwall, mafic volcaniclastic rocks dominate the geology and are also intruded by thin, foliation parallel diorite dykes which have weak gold values associated with their contacts. Folds observed in the volcaniclastic rocks typically plunge between 10-40° towards the south west.
The diorites are coarse to fine-grained, grey in colour and composed of domains of plagioclase ± quartz and domains of mafic minerals – dominantly biotite. Grain size variations are common and coarse grained and fine-grained variations are captured by the core logging and often have sharp, measurable contacts which suggest the diorite is a polyphase composite intrusive with multiple pulses of diorite (of the same composition and appearance) intruding into each other. However, the coarse and fine components of the package can also have soft gradational contacts and grade into one another progressively.
Mineralization at Koné is characterized by mineralized true widths of between 170 and 330m at average grades of between 0.5g/t and 1.2g/t
The diorite intrusion is consistently mineralized with gold associated with 1-3% fine, disseminated pyrite with elevated gold grades related to an increase in the frequency of 1-5mm quartz + calcite + pyrite veinlets which are oriented north-south and dipping 45-50° west, consistent with the foliation.
Hydrothermal alteration is weak and dominated by biotite. Silicification is rare.
Koné has only been subject to ~40,000m of drilling to date and there is still much to learn. For example, with the additional drilling an apparent plunge of both the diorite package and mineralization towards the south to south-west is emerging. At present this plunge is poorly resolved and further diamond drilling will target this in future drill programs.
The cross section below highlights results of infill drilling released on March 17, 2021 and demonstrates the remarkable continuity of mineralization as well the potential for improvement in the resource model when overlaying infill drill results across resource blocks from the January 2021 Inferred Mineral Resource.
Infrastructure & Metallurgy
In 2014, SGS Minerals Services UK Ltd, Cornwall performed bottle roll tests on three composite RC samples of fresh mineralization. The samples were ground to 90-microns and leached for 48 hours at 40% solids, 0.5 g/l and an average pH of 10.7.
|Head Assay g/t Au||1.11||0.82||2.71||1.55|
|Gold Recovery, %||96.4||97.6||96.7||96.9|
|Kgs/t CN Consumption||0.12||0.06||0.15||0.11|
|Kgs/t CaO Consumption||0.50||0.52||0.45||0.49|
In September 2018, ALS Global (ALS) in Perth Australia undertook a program of metallurgical testwork on three composite samples of diamond core from Koné, which were designated as the oxide, transition, fresh and FW fresh samples. The FW fresh composite represents an area of mafic volcaniclastics in the foot wall of the Koné Deposit.
|Direct Leach||% at P80 75µm||97.8||96.5||91.4||87.9|
Note: The BWi result for the oxide composite is likely to be significantly overstated, due to excessive fines in the feed material to this test. The BWi was determined at a closing screen size of 106µm
This test work indicates that the mineralization at Koné is amenable to processing via very simple tank leach process flowsheet comprising single stage crusher and a SAG and Ball mill combination with no requirements for flotation or fine grinding.
In October 2020 Montage shipped 2.4t of samples from Koné to SGS Lakefield in Canada for further optimization and variability metallurgical test work as part of the Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”). Summary results from that testing is shown below.
|Domain||# of Samples||Recovery (%)||Cyanide Consumption (kg/t)||Lime Consumption (kg/t)|
Based on the variability test results and the mine scheduling being undertaken as part of the PEA, the Company expects life-of-mine average recoveries to be approximately 90% for the MGP. Recoveries are expected to be higher (>90%) during the initial years of the mine life while processing at an elevated cut-off grade.
Cyanide consumption has been reported by SGS as very low across all domains and lime consumption as low. Reagents form a significant component of the process costs, which will result in low unit process cost.
Excellent Access and Infrastructure
The Koné Gold Project and the Koné deposit, in particular, is ideally situated for development with a major road, currently in the process of being asphalted, running within 1km of the drill site and the regional 225kva power line within 20km.
Potential for Open Pit development
Montage believes that Koné exhibits a number of characteristics that enhance its potential to form the basis for a large-scale open pit development project:
- Simple, wide, continuous style of mineralization ideally suited for large scale, low-cost open pit mining
- Simple metallurgy amenable to straight forward processing using a standard crush-grind-leach flowsheet
- Low rock hardness requiring less power consumption, translating to low operating costs
- With true widths up to 200m and a 45° dip to the west the project should benefit from a low strip ratio
- Competent rock as demonstrated by geotechnical study providing for 55° pit wall slopes, further reducing the strip ratio
- Location with good, year-round access and close to grid power that will lower unit processing costs and remove the need to self generate project power
- Strong community support and minimal habitation within the project footprint removing the need for resettlement
Exploration & Development Plan
Montage commenced combined RC and diamond drilling program in early October, mobilizing up to 7 drill rigs to site. The first 20,000m targeted the expansion of the inferred resources which successfully grew the Koné deposit to over 3.0Moz (see January 28, 2021 press release). Following the expansion drilling campaign Montage commenced a 35,000m infill program (and has since increased to 55,000m) designed to convert the Inferred Mineral Resource to the Indicated category, with that program expected to be completed in June 2021. Concurrent with the drilling Montage has been advancing towards a Preliminary Economic Assessment, which was released in May 2021.
The study was overseen by Lycopodium in Brisbane, Australia using the following international consultants:
|Metallurgical Test Work:||SGS Lakefield, Canada|
|Resource Estimation:||MPR Geological Consultants Pty Ltd, Perth, Australia|
|Geotechnical Study:||SRK, Cardiff, UK|
|Mining Studies:||Carci Consultants, UK|
|Hydrological Study:||GCS Consultants Ltd, RSA|
|Tailings and water storage:||Knight Piesold, Brisbane, Australia|
Following the completion of the PEA the company intends to continue upgrading the Mineral Resource to Measured and Indicated categories and progress directly to Feasibility Studies.
Establishing a Hub in a New District
Once a large scale standalone project is established at Koné, Montage believes it will become the centre of gravity in the district with the potential to exploit numerous small, higher grade satellite deposits the effect of which will be to further improve project economics.