Loncor Resources Inc. (TSX: “LN”; OTCQB: “LONCF”) has entered investment and joint venture relationships with two leading gold exploration and mining companies operating throughout Africa.
In June 2018, agreements were concluded with Resolute Mining Limited (ASX: RSG) whereby Resolute became Loncor’s second largest shareholder (currently holding 26% of Loncor’s outstanding shares).
In January 2016, Loncor entered into a joint venture agreement with Barrick Gold Congo SARL (formerly Randgold Resources Congo SARL) (“Barrick”) (NASDAQ:GOLD), Barrick beginning a program of diamond drilling in June 2020 over numerous potential Tier 1 targets. This agreement provides for a joint venture (the "Joint Venture") between Loncor and Barrick covering 12 exploration permit areas held by Loncor in the Ngayu greenstone belt. Under the agreement certain parcels of land surrounding and including the Makapela and Yindi projects have been retained by Loncor and do not form part of the Joint Venture, with Barrick having certain pre-emptive rights over these two areas. Barrick manages and funds all exploration of the Joint Venture permit areas until the completion of a pre-feasibility study on any gold discovery meeting the investment criteria of Barrick. Once the Joint Venture has determined to move ahead with a full feasibility study, a special purpose vehicle ("SPV") would be created to hold the specific discovery area. Subject to the DRC’s free carried interest requirements, Barrick would retain 65% of the SPV with Loncor holding the balance of 35%. Loncor would then be required, from that point forward, to fund its pro-rata share of the SPV in order to maintain its 35% interest or be diluted.
In June 2020, it was announced that Loncors 76.29% subsidiary, Adumbi Mining SARL (Adumbi Mining) had entered into a similar JV arrangement (the "New Barrick JV") as above with Barrick for two exploitation permits held by Adumbi Mining. The ground being contiguous to the Imva area within the Ngayu gold belt.
In January 2017, Loncor announced preliminary results of the geophysical airborne survey undertaken by Barrick as part of its initial Joint Venture with Loncor. A 10,013 line-kilometre helicopter-borne electromagnetic ‘VTEM’ survey (the “JV Survey”) was completed over the Ngayu belt. The JV Survey was performed by Geotech Airborne Limited over a span of approximately five months. This airborne geophysical survey provided a valuable additional layer of geological information through mapping the conductivity nature of the belt. The new data has assisted with resolving the lithological nature of the belt as well as assisting in identifying major structures and areas of structural complexity.
The belt scale exploration strategy of Barrick is to focus on the discovery of large high-quality gold deposits by rapidly identifying and progressing targets that show the potential to meet these filters. Gold mineral resources have already been identified within the Ngayu greenstone belt at Loncor’s Makapela and Adumbi deposits (which are not part of the Joint Venture), and the objective is to further unlock the potential of the Ngayu greenstone belt for a world-class discovery using cutting edge geophysics, geochemistry, structural interpretation and driven by an experienced and proven exploration team on the ground.
In May 2017, Loncor announced that exploration groundwork had commenced on priority targets resulting from the additional data sets provided by the VTEM survey. Processed data and final products from the survey were combined with all other geological layers to complete an updated integrated geological map of the belt and to refine and prioritize areas of interest (“AOIs”). Four preliminary AOIs were generated using pre-existing data sets and the VTEM data. The four preliminary AOIs had several kilometre-long mineralised strike potential and focused on the extension of known mineralized trends as well as areas of geochemical anomalies and structural complexity. The four priority AOIs identified are summarized below:
- Priority 30-kilometre long Imva Fold structure
Extensive geochemical anomalies and several gold occurrences along major structures and complex deformation around intrusions.
20-kilometre long northwest extension of the Yindi/Anguluku mineralised trend with high soil and BLEG geochemical anomalies in the Yindi and Anguluku prospect areas. Younger Lindian cover may be obscuring any geochemical signature further along strike to the northwest. Structural complexity favourable for gold mineralised emplacement where the Banded Ironstone Formations (“BIFs”) wrap around the western side of a regional intrusive complex.
20 kilometre mineralised northwest extension of the Adumbi trend with moderate BLEG anomalism along the entire AOI, in places associated with similar lithological setting as the Adumbi deposit.
8-kilometre structural trend located in an area of complex folding of BIFs and carbonaceous shale, a localized area of high BLEG anomalism associated with a northwest-trending fold axis, the setting and geochemical anomalism indicate the potential for fold plunging style mineralization.
The follow-up work program had a two-pronged approach: a geological review of all existing targets; and ground follow-up of remotely and conceptually generated AOIs to generate additional new targets.
Exploration by Barrick during 2018 focused on the Anguluku prospect area where drill targets were defined and also along the 30-kilometre strike Imva fold area in the west of the Ngayu belt, where a new base camp and a nearby airstrip was established at Mambati. A number of prospects were assessed along the Imva fold structure including Mambati, Elshadai, Angundali, Mondarabe, Bavadilli, Bakpan, Itali and Bikira.
By November 2019, at Bavadili, further trenching was undertaken to test the concept of a mineralized northwest-trending shear corridor parallel to the interpreted F2 axial plane. Results were encouraging and included 24 metres @ 0.94 g/t Au and confirmed the mineralized corridor with mineralization associated with brecciated cherty “BIF” (Banded Ironstone Formation) with disseminated limonite, weak hematite alteration along with sugary quartz veins and fine cubic boxworks (~ 5% pyrite). The mineralization occurs along a strongly foliated northwest-southeast structure between dolerite to the south and basalt to the north. Results supported and confirmed the model of a +1.5 kilometre potential mineralized structure from Bavadili Hill to Bavanidi. At Bavadili Hill, additional trenching undertaken to test the continuity of the folded, mineralized cherty BIF, 250 metres southwest from the mineralized cherty BIF intersected in trench BVTR0114A, gave results of 24 metres @ 0.94 g/t Au.
At Lybie, encouraging results from trenching confirmed a continuous mineralized corridor of +1 kilometre hosted within volcanoclastic and brecciated cherty BIF within an interpreted fold limb. The trench revealed at least two continuous mineralized structures – the northwestern most of the two structures from colonial trenching returned 20 metres @ 0.58g/t Au, whereas another trench 20 metres @ 0.54g/t Au.
At Salisa, results from rock sampling assayed up to 3.75 g/t Au in volcaniclastics and 3.05 g/t Au hosted in BIF and coincided with the soil anomalies trending northeast-southwest.
At Medere, trenching on the +800 metre long 80ppb soil anomaly along the northeast-trending hill, focused on establishing the controls on mineralization (structure and alteration) and trends of mineralization along strike between the zones exposed in previous trenches and artisanal pits. Significant gold results from the first trench across quartz stockwork style mineralization were received a trench intersection of 48 metres @ 0.51g/t Au and was still open to the southeast.
By the end of 2019, Barrick had identified a number of priority drill targets which were to be drilled during the upcoming dry season in 2020.
In June 2020, Barrick Gold (Congo) SARL commenced its core drilling program on several priority gold targets within the Ngayu greenstone belt in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (“DRC”). The beginning of the drilling campaign signals a significant step in the sequence of events necessary to assess numerous areas of potential. Since entering the JV agreement with Loncor in January 2016, Barrick has conducted various exploratory programs to define drill targets, targets that offer the early potential of attaining “Tier 1” status.
The drilling on the Anguluku prospect is targeting a folded and thrust sequence of mineralised banded ironstone formation (“BIF”). Further drilling is planned to be undertaken by Barrick at the other priority targets of Medere, Makasi, Lybie, Salisa and Bakpau NE in the Imva area in the west of the Ngayu belt (see Figure 1 below).
Figure 1 Ngayu Belt. Developing Prospectivity, Work Programs and Drill Targets for 2020
(From Barrick Q1 2020 joint venture report)
Peter N. Cowley, who is President of Loncor and a "qualified person" as such term is defined in National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed and approved the above technical information.