Friday, January 12, 2007

China to map Sierra Leone; Cluff results `upside`

The Sierra Leone mines minister said that Chinese geologists are to help map the West African mineral-rich state to help maximise its mining income as it recovers from a bloody civil war.

The survey, which will start in February, was agreed as part of a memorandum of understanding, signed by President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in November during a China-Africa summit in Beijing.

"The survey will be based on a search of mineral resources available in the entire country and findings should be bankable," Sierra Leone`s mines minister Mohamed Deen told Reuters.

The mapping will include previously unexplored areas of the country and "will also help the government renew the policies for prospecting and exploration".

China made 2006 the `Year of Africa` to cement fast-growing ties with the continent in which it continues to swap aid for raw materials.

In other news, Cluff Gold plc, one of the leading explorers in Sierra Leone, has reported the first set of results from its drilling programme at the Baomahun gold mine in which it has a 60% stake.

The current JORC resource stands at 880,000 oz of gold, but the results clearly indicate upside potential because drilling so far has only covered less than 25% of the 12 km mineralised corridor.

Cluff said that it has planned a programme for a total of 30,000 m of core drilling during 2007 and a second diamond-drill rig is expected at site in February.

Douglas Chikohora, Cluff`s technical director at Baomahun, said that it is "well placed to take Baomahun to the pre-feasibility stage during the second half of this year".

Link to Mining Journal Online