United States, North America
International Goldfields Limited (ASX: IGS) (“IGS” or “the Company”) and US-based Santa Fe Gold Corporation (OTCBB: SFEG) (“Santa Fe””) have completed the execution of a binding Definitive Merger Agreement (“Merger Agreement”), whereby the entities will merge and Santa Fe will become a wholly owned subsidiary of IGS.
The proposed merged entity will be a diversified, well-funded and low cost gold-silver explorer, developer and miner, listed on the ASX and also traded on a major US exchange or on the OTC, with projects located in key projects located in New Mexico (USA), Arizona (USA) and Brazil.
IGS obtained shareholder approval for the proposed merger, together with an associated capital raising ($5-$15M) in November 2012. Santa Fe shareholder approval, which is the last approval required under the transaction, obtained in conjunction with a Form F-4 Registration Statement to be lodged with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Key assets of the Santa Fe merger include the Ortiz Gold Project in northern New Mexico State. A stand-alone operation with 1Moz Au measured and indicated resource currently undergoing environmental permitting process for targeted production in 2016.
An additional key strategic asset for Santa Fe is the 100% owned and operated Lordsburg Mill located in southwest New Mexico, a 272,000 tpa (300,000 stpa) floatation mill currently processing a targeted 120,000 stpa of production from the Summit Au-Ag Mine. With production ramp-up announced in early 2013, Santa Fe is accelerating development towards the Main Ore Zone at depth in the Summit Mine. The main ore zone has significantly higher grades in resource modelling compared to the currently active upper mining areas. Mining from the main zone is scheduled to begin in mid-2013 and is anticipated to result in a significant production. Current production of approximately 17,000 gold equivalent oz per annum with significant uplift scheduled throughout 2013 to achieve 28,000 – 30,000 ozs per annum for the next four years as the main high grade ore body (8 g/t average gold equivalent head grade) is accessed in Q3 2013.
Santa Fe and IGS is targeting further growth in the near-term for the company by locating additional ore material for the spare processing capacity of the Lordsburg Mill, with priority on achieving additional tonnage from the Summit Mine, and advancement of potential development of known historical resources located at the Mogollon Project, recently optioned by Santa Fe.
Brazil, South America
International Goldfields Limited (“IGS”) has 93% ownership in Brazilian gold exploration private company Latin Gold Limited (“Latin”). On 7 February 2013 the Company announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Latin Gold Ltd and Brazil domiciled Biogold Investment Fund, whereby each entity will contribute their respective land holdings in the south eastern extent of the Juruena Belt in Brazil into the private entity Ouro Paz and expose IGS to exploration upside of the highly prospective Union Project located adjacent to IGS gold discovery at the Ana Prospect. The Company will hold a 35% interest in the joint venture company.
Ouro Paz will hold a major gold project extending over approximately a 2,700km2 area located in the highly mineralised and under-explored Alta Floresta Mineral Province located within the Juruena Belt in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. The Latin Gold Project is host to multiple gold prospects across the vast land position. Including the recent discovery of high-grade gold mineralised veins associated with gold-copper mineralised structures at the Ana Prospect, now expanded with significant upside potential through the addition of the Uniao Prospect in the JV to from the Union Project area. Regional exploration programs will continue to advance additional anomalous gold targets at the Pe Quente prospect Au-Cu mineralisation, and initial drill intercepts into copper porphyry style mineralisation at the Jaca Prospect.
This portion of the Juruena Belt is particularly under-explored with modern-day exploration commencing only in the last ten years. The discovery of gold mineralisation by Vale in 1999 in a roadside cutting on the edge of a major highway (BR 163) highlights the potential of this area. Alluvial mining activities by the Garimpeiros remain significant with new areas continually being opened and small underground workings scattered throughout the Alta Floresta Mineral province. Gold production is estimated at over 5Moz gold recovered by the Garampeiro activities during the period 1980 to 1999 within the limits of the Alta Floresta Mineral province.
About Brazil and Mato Grosso
Brazil is a politically stable country and has been a member of the World Trade Organisation since 1995. The state of Mato Grosso is located in the far south west of Brazil and until as recently as the 1970 – 1980’s was considered one of Brazil’s remote frontiers. The region has a history of gold mining dating back to 1718 when alluvial gold was discovered in Cuiaba by Bandeirantes (Portuguese colonisers).”
In the late 1970’s, the Brazilian government encouraged a program of infrastructure investment to promote the settlement of much of the western Amazon basin and to promote the economic development of the region. Access to these areas for the first time attracted Garimpeiros (artisanal miners) whose activities quickly led to the discovery of major alluvial gold deposits in the north of the state in the Alta Floresta region with the intense gold prospecting highlighting a rare example of a true “gold rush” in the 20th century.
Mineral tenements in Brazil are granted subject to various conditions prescribed by the Mining Code, including the payment of rent and reporting requirements, and each tenement is granted subject to standard conditions that regulate the holder’s activities or are designed to protect the environment.
In general licences comprise Prospecting Licences, Exploration Licences and Mining Licences with the holder of a granted licence not required to spend a set annual amount per hectare in each tenement on exploration or mining activities. Therefore there is no statutory or other minimum expenditure requirement, however, annual rental payments are made to the Department de Producao Mineral (DNPM).
Mali, West Africa
International Goldfields Limited (ASX: IGS) (“IGS” or “the Company”) holds 100% ownership on over 1,000km2 of prospective Birimian greenstone geology in southern Mali, West Africa. The Company has defined new zones of extensive mineralisation on multiple projects in southern Mali in the 2011-12 exploration seasons.
The tenor of the newly defined gold anomalies, in these favourable structural and geologic settings indicate high prospectivety for gold endowment, with potential to discover multi-million ounce gold deposits with additional exploration of the sub-surface.
Mali is the 3rd largest gold producer in Africa and host to several major gold deposits, including the Syama Mine (7.9Moz Au) and the Morila Mine (7Moz Au) in Southern Mali discovered just over a decade ago. Modern exploration is still in its early days in Mali with vast areas of the Birimian gold belts underexplored. The recent increase in exploration activity in southern Mali has seen it host to a majority of the discoveries and newly reported resources in West Africa over the last 5 years, including the +1Moz resources recently developed at Komana, and the 600,000oz resources at Tiekoumala, adjacent to IGS’s Tanala project. The ongoing trend of exploration success in Southern Mali demonstrates this prospective is likely to host several more major deposits.
Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa
International Goldfields Limited (IGS) holds 100% ownership over applications for up to 1,600km2 of exploration licences strategically located within Birimian greenstone belts that fulfil key targeting criteria of regional structural zones, geological setting known to host major gold deposits and the presence of artisanal workings. The projects are located in the vastly under-explored northern, central and eastern regions of Cote d’Ivoire, and IGS is highly encouraged that the systematic exploration of the projects will deliver rapid and low-cost exploration success.
Ivory Coast provides very good infrastructure in several locations and is one of Africa’s best developed countries thanks to a strong agricultural industry. However, Ivory Coast has indicated its intention to diversify its economy and provide an exploration friendly environment for foreign investment. The government is positioned to provide a stable political climate for uninterrupted exploration and development that can allow major increases in gold reserves.
Ivory Coast has the largest proportion of the Birimian aged greenstone belts that hosts deposits in Burkina Faso and Mali. IGS is well positioned across several of the country’s underexplored greenstone belts to implement its technical expertise for potential discovery of major gold deposits.
International Goldfields Limited (“IGS”) is the 100% owner of the exciting Plumridge Project located in the Albany-Fraser mobile zone on the eastern margin of the Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia.
IGS has entered into a binding term sheet with AAQ Holdings Limited (ASX: AAQ) (AAQ) to sell its wholly owned subsidiary Plumridge Gold Pty Ltd, the holder of the Plumridge Gold Project, located 260km north east of Kalgoorlie, in conjunction with AAQ’s acquisition of the Buraminya project located south east of Norseman (AAQ Transaction). The monetisation of the Plumridge assets will allow IGS to focus both technical staff and exploration expenditure on its development and production assets associated with the Santa Fe merger, and follow-up on successful exploration programs located in the Juruena Belt of Brazil, and the Birimian greenstone terrains of West Africa.
The Company will retain an equity interest in the Plumridge Gold Project and gains an interest in the Buraminya Project that allows IGS further exposure to potential upside from continued exploration efforts in the highly prospective Albany-Fraser belt of Western Australia.