The greenstone belts of the northeast DRC and Tanzania have been mined commercially for gold, since 1909 and 1905 respectively. However, after colonial rule ended in the 1960s, annual gold production for both countries fell to insignificant levels.
In the late 1990s, favourable economic policies led to foreign mining companies reinvesting in the exploration and development of gold resources in Tanzania, leading to the opening of a number of new world class mines, including, but not limited to: Golden Pride (1999); Geita (2000); Bulyanhulu (2001); North Mara (2002); and Buzwagi (2009).
For the DRC however, ongoing civil wars and internal and regional politics, see “History of the DRC”, meant that the DRC was starved of foreign direct investment (FDI), right through to 2006 and 2007. Since this time however, the DRC has seen significant growth in FDI and we as a company, believe that the economic, legal and political enablers are now in place for this to continue, see “FDI Graph” (ANAPI) and “GDP Growth Graph” (Economy Watch).
Given the aforementioned political changes, the northeast DRC has seen a resurgence of gold and iron ore exploration activity with two exploration targets being converted into operating mines namely: Banro Corporation’s Twangiza mine (2011) and Randgold Resources Kibali mine (2013). In addition to our exploration activities within this area, other companies with delineated resources include: AngloGold Ashanti, Loncor Resources and Mwana Africa.
The following figure illustrates gold exploration and development activities within this region.
Gold was first found in the Kilo-Moto region in the northeast DRC in 1903, with the establishment of the Kilo and Moto mines in 1905 and 1911 respectively. Since 1903 to Independence (1960) over 11 Moz of gold has been mined from this region. Of this 11 Moz, 3 Moz was removed by the Belgian Charter companies between 1950 and 1960 (Mine Web, 2011).
Our controlling equity in following DRC companies: KGL-Somituri SPRL (71.25%); KGL-ERW SPRL (75%); and KWR Iron SPRL (75%) endow us with the rights to explore for, or mine gold and other commodities over an area of 2782 km² of land associated with the Ngayu and Isiro greenstone belts, both of which are subsets of what is defined as the “Kilo-Moto” region, a semi-continuous Archaean Kabalian greenstone belt in the northeast DRC.
Properties where Kilo has either exploration or exploitation rights for, are shown in the figure following.
Our current exploration and project development focus is on the properties associated with KGL-Somituri SPRL, collectively referred to as the “Somituri Project”.
For the Somituri Project, our short-term strategy is to develop as soon as the resource base, project schedule and the techno-economics allow; a multi-pit resource of a sufficient grade and size that will support a mine of regional significance on the Imbo Licence.
The “Imbo Licence” forms part of the greater “Somituri Project” which in turn, incorporates all eight exploitation Licences (606 km2) held by KGL-Somituri SPRL. The Imbo Licence, covers an area of 122 km2 and incorporates, a number of historic Belgian mines, whose production between 1920 and 1959, amounted to some 0.3 Moz of gold.
As part of the strategy for the Imbo Licence, we have delineated the 1.67 Moz @ 2.5 g/t, NI 43-101 inferred gold resource estimate for the Adumbi prospect and our strategy now is to; explore for strike and depth extensions and incorporate other highly prospective exploration targets into a much larger inferred resource estimate.
Additionally we will:
- undertake a focussed exploration programme on all eight properties held by KGL-Somituri SPRL, with the ultimate long-term objective being to delineate sufficient resources to support one or more mines on the other eight licences;
- unlock the value of the potential gold resources contained within the 12 exploration licences held by KWR Iron SPRL. These exploration Licences cover an area of some 2058 km2 of under explored Archean Isiro and Ngayu Greenstones. These Greenstone belts have characteristics analogous to other Archaean Greenstone Belts that host gold deposits, such as the Abitibi Greenstone Belt in Ontario and Quebec, Canada and the Lake Victoria Greenstone Belt in Tanzania; and
- delineate drill targets within the exploration Licences held by KGL-ERW SPRL.
Our long term objective is to become a major gold producer in the northeast DRC.