The greater Odienné Project lies in the northwest Denguèlé Region of Côte d’Ivoire, close to the borders of Mali and Guinea. The project covers approximately 2,462 km2 in 7 permits – the granted ‘Odienné East’ and Sienso permits, and 5 permits under application (Figures 1 and 2, Table 1).
Since the discovery of high-grade gold at Empire Main and Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG) style mineralization at the Charger and Sceptre targets, the Odienné Project now forms a primary focus for the company.
Awalé is confident the geological setting of the Odienné district to be comparable to that of other significant Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG) provinces globally. IOCG deposits are significant contributors to global copper and gold inventories, and the Company considers the Odienné Project to contain significant potential for the discovery of the first major IOCG deposit in West Africa.
The Odienné project area was subject to previous first-pass exploration geochemistry in the mid-1990s through a joint venture between SODEMI and Randgold Resources. They completed shallow, broad-spaced soil sampling for gold and base metals over the greater portion of the project area and followed up with pitting and trenching. Significant anomalism was recognised across the sampled area which covered some 300 km2.
After that, infill geochemical sampling and mapping was completed over multiple targets. Despite returning significant gold and base metal anomalies, no follow-up drilling was completed.
In late 2017, Awalé initiated its involvement in the Odienné Project by acquiring an initial 2 permits from Aforo Resources – an Australian company – in partnership with their local associate – ANGET – who still retains a 10% interest.
Following this acquisition, Awalé embarked on a systematic exploration campaign that incorporated valuable legacy data from Randgold Resources. This initial prospection encompassed various activities, including permit-wide BLEG stream sediment sampling, and targeted mapping and geochemical sampling and analyses over Empire, Vakaba, and Lancer. This diligent exploration endeavour culminated in the commencement of drilling activities at the Empire and Vakaba targets, ultimately leading to the significant discovery of high-grade gold at the Empire Target.
Notably, during this phase of exploration, the drilling operations at Empire extended through 2021, resulting in the return of multiple high-grade intercepts exceeding +100 gram-meters, as elaborated in the Empire discussion below.
Additionally, at the Vakaba target, narrow intervals of visible gold were encountered within quartz tourmaline veins, further highlighting the project’s Mineralisation potential.
The district-scale approach adopted by Awalé, combined with the impressive high-grade results being returned from drilling immediately attracted interest from Newmont, the world’s largest gold producer.
In October 2021, Newmont conducted multiple site visits and commenced a due diligence process, meticulously analyzing the data. This culminated in the signing of an Earn-In Joint Venture over two permits (Odienné East & Odienné West) in July 2022 (see May 31, 2022 news release).
Under the agreement, Newmont has the opportunity to earn up to 65% ownership of the permits through exploration expenditure totaling $US15 million, along with an option to purchase 10% held by local partner ANGET.
Furthermore, later in 2022, Awalé signed an option agreement through share payments over a second granted permit held by Turaco Gold, an ASX-listed company operating in Cote d’Ivoire (See July 19 2022 news releases), where Awalé can earn 100% of the ‘Sienso’ permit.
Today, Newmont is not only a joint-venture partner of ours, they are a very hands-on shareholder of Awalé Resources, who visits the project on a regular basis (see Figure 3A). The shared vision between Awalé and Newmont underscores the potential for the discovery of a ‘Tier 1’ asset on the Odienné Project.
Awalé is confident the geological setting of the Odienné district to be comparable to that of other significant Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG) provinces globally.
IOCG deposits are significant contributors to global copper and gold inventories, and the Company considers the Odienné Project to contain significant potential for the discovery of the first major IOCG deposit in west Africa.
|Permit Type||Permit Number||Area — Square km||Status|
|Odienné Project JV||Granted Permit||PR — 419 “Odienné East”||399.2||Newmont JV|
|Application||PR — 904 “Odienné West”||399.5||Newmont JV|
|Turaco Option||Granted Permit||PR — 840 “Sienso”||326.4||Turaco Option 100% Awalé|
|100% Awalé Resources|
Table 1: List of Odienné Project permits and their status.
Current Exploration Focus
The granted Odienné East permits form a focus for the Company’s exploration efforts.
The project comprises multiple Iron Oxide Copper Gold (copper-gold) and gold targets – these targets are illustrated in Figure 3.
Currently, the company is focused on the Sceptre East and Charger Targets. Additionally, maiden drilling has now been completed on three pipeline targets: Sceptre Main, Lando, and BBM.
The high-grade gold Empire discovery along the 20km long Empire Structural corridor also remains open for expansion along strike and down dip.
Empire Gold Discovery
After discovering high-grade gold at Empire Main, the Charger target was also drilled with a similar mineralization model envisaged.
However, hematite breccias with copper and gold mineralization were intercepted, sparking the concept for potential Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG) style mineralization.
This significant development prompted a revisit to both Randgold legacy and company data which included base metal analysis. The result was a comprehensive reinterpretation leading to the adoption of an IOCG model as part of Awalé’s systematic exploration strategy for the project.
Additionally, and significantly, this work resulted in the recognition of the 20 km2 Sceptre target and marked a shift toward the Odienné Project as a primary focus for the company.
Awalé has recognised the significance of the crustal setting of the Odienné Project and the associated Cu-Au Mineralisation that characterises the district.
Consequently, a hybrid Orogenic/Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG) model has been adopted for further exploration.
Targets & Prospects
Current targets for this style of Mineralisation Include the Sceptre, Charger, Lando, and BBM Prospects (figure 3).
Sceptre is a significant 5-km-long high-tenor Cu-Au IOCG geochemical target which now boasts significant broad copper-gold, molybdenum, and silver intercepts in recent drilling (see Sceptre tab).
Charger and Empire are both high-grade gold targets with multiple intercepts exceeding 100 gram – meters in both RC and diamond drilling.
The Odienné project is situated on a significant Archean-Proterozoic age margin.
Awalé interprets this geological setting as comparable to that of other prominent Iron Oxide Copper Gold (IOCG) provinces globally.
IOCG deposits are significant contributors to global copper and gold inventories, and Awalé considers the Odienné project to contain significant potential for the discovery of the first major IOCG deposit in West Africa.
The similarities in Odienné crustal setting to the Major Olympic Dam and Carajás IOCG provinces in Australia and Brazil are compelling.
The Sceptre, Sceptre East, and Charger Prospects exhibit similar characteristics like late bimodal intrusions, coeval undeformed bimodal volcanic rocks, and hematite breccias within magnetite-altered diorite at the Charger Prospect.
These features, coupled with the Cu-Au and Silver Mineralisation and the polymetallic zonation containing pathfinder elements typically associated with IOCG systems (including bismuth, silver, molybdenum, and tungsten), provide strong evidence for comparison to major global IOCG provinces.
Precambrian IOCG Provinces
Globally renowned Precambrian IOCG provinces (such as Olympic Dam in the Gawler Craton, Australia, and Carajás in the Amazonian Craton, Brazil) are important sources of copper and gold.
Those provinces are often characterised by their association with iron oxides like hematite and magnetite.
These IOCG deposits formed during brief episodes of extension that postdated the accretion of Paleoproterozoic terranes onto an Archean craton nucleus. These periods of extension and Mineralisation in the Gawler craton were characterized by bimodal volcanism and plutonism characterized by the Gawler range volcanics and the Hiltaba Suite plutons.
Figures 4 and 5 depict the crustal setting of both provinces, with Figure 4 providing a comparison that includes the location of our Odienné project.
Notable deposits in the Olympic Dam province include Carapateena, Prominent Hill, and the colossal Olympic Dam deposit, which has been in operation since 1988 and is projected to have a mine life of approximately 40 years.
The Carajás IOCG province, situated on the northeastern margins of the Southern Amazonian Craton, shares similarities with the Gawler Craton, albeit being older. It also features accreted terranes, bimodal volcanism, plutonism, and a similar age to the Leo-Man Craton in West Africa.
The Carajás deposits have a combined estimated resource exceeding 8 billion tons with 0.9 wt.% Cu and 0.2 g/t Au.
Awalé has now embraced an IOCG model for the Odienné Projects, characterized by a suite of volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks of various compositions, synchronous or intruded by late plutons. The project area lies along the margins of an inferred deep-seated major crustal structure where Paleoproterozoic rocks have accreted onto an Archean nucleus (Man Craton) extending from Cote d’Ivoire westward into Guinea for over 200 kilometers.
Recent studies have indicated the presence of a substantial igneous intrusive province along this paleo suture zone, which extends through the Odienné project (Figure 6).
A High Grade Gold Discovery
Five kilometres to the south of the Sceptre and other Cu-Au Targets, the Empire Gold Discovery is a high-grade gold target located on the 20km long Empire structural corridor (Figures 3 and 8).
Empire stands out through its notable presence of visible gold (Figure 7), and selected significant intercepts for the Empire Main discovery include, but are not limited to the following (Figure 9):
- OEDD-1 18.15m at 4.9 g/t Au from 40 m downhole,
- including 10.4 m at 7.9 g/t Au from 40m downhole
- OEDD-2 27 m at 3.1 g/t Au from 43.2 m downhole
- including 9 m at 5.3 g/t Au from 43.2 m downhole.
- OEDD-24 15m at 13.1 g/t Au from 69m including
- 2m at 20g/t Au from 69m, and
- 7.6m at 20.1 g/t Au from 74.7m, and
- 1m at 129.8 g/t Au from 76m
Awalé’s exploration efforts have covered approximately only 5 kilometers of this 20-kilometer-long trend.
Mineralisation at Empire Main is considered open both down dip and plunge.
Furthermore, additional drilling has intercepted Mineralisation in offset and extension drilling from the Empire Main discovery, including the Gap, Anomaly 1, and Anomaly 2 targets. These prospects hold significant potential for further Mineralisation with additional drilling.
Geological Setting & Mineralization
High-grade Mineralisation is hosted in brittle/ductile quartz vein arrays that are oriented from east-west to northeast, featuring both shallow and steep plunges.
The host diorite is situated within a brittle/ductile shear zone named the ‘Empire Corridor,’ spanning over 20 kilometers in length and 1 to 2 kilometers in width.
Mineralisation at the Empire Main discovery remains open along both strike and down dip/plunge directions.
Beyond the Empire Main discovery, there exists significant potential for discovering similar or larger deposits along this fertile structural corridor.
The Empire Main discovery is a high-grade gold discovery characterized by multiphase deformation, alteration and veining hosted within a diorite intrusion.
Mineralisation is associated with early potassic (biotite) alteration+/- Au and pyrite, calc silicate alteration (rare garnet, clinopyroxene and pyrrhotite), and later carbonate and silica sericite alteration.
The abundant free gold is likely late and associated with the final silica-carbonate-sericite phase.
Empire was discovered through systematic exploration by Awalé, resulting in a coincident geology, gold/arsenic geochemistry, and ground geophysics (Induced Polarization, or “IP”) anomaly.
Exploration so far has highlighted the presence of high-grade gold-bearing fluids within the Empire corridor. Given that we have explored less than a quarter of this corridor, Awalé believes that there is potential for growth, on this fertile shear zone.
Another High-Grade Gold Discovery
Charger is a 600m-long auger soil gold anomaly.
Gold values in Auger geochemistry are consistently >90 parts per billion (peak value of 0.56 g/t Au).
Multiple phases of drilling have been completed at Charger resulting in numerous high-grade gold intercepts and revealing the NW/NE trending structurally-controlled mineralisation.
Interestingly, the NE trending structure, which was formerly viewed as a bounding structure to the Charger anomaly, is now interpreted to be an overthrown block that conceals geochemical anomalies (Figure 10). This reinterpretation suggests the possibility of deeper mineralisation extensions beneath the intrusive and volcanic rock package. Awalé plans to follow up on this target in 2024.
Maiden Drill Program
The maiden drill program, meant to test the original Charger anomaly, featured 160-meter-spaced reverse circulation (RC) drill lines targeting the central 300 m of the anomaly.
This drilling was successful, returning high-grade gold mineralisation with accessory silver and copper in hole OERC-89. The mineralisation is associated with strong hematite alteration and is hosted within a diorite body.
A follow-up diamond hole (OEDD-38) intercepted hematite-altered breccias with weaker mineralisation.
It is important to note that all drilling reported pertains to sulphide mineralisation, with the depth to fresh rock at Charger ranging from 10-20 meters.
The unexpected geological characteristics led the company to explore alternative Mineralisation drivers, including intrusive-related/Iron Oxide Copper-Gold (IOCG) models, as discussed in the previous section titled ‘Odienné – a New Iron Oxide Copper Gold (“IOCG”) District.’
A third drill campaign at Charger was conducted in August 2023 with partial results received and reported (see news release 21st August 2023).
This drilling has returned further, deeper intercepts in hole OEDD-45 as well as intercepting a second lode about 100m to the south of the discovery mineralisation in OEDD-44.
Diamond drilling from this program further confirmed the presence of visible gold and the expected geometry of Mineralisation at Charger, highlighting WNW and NE structurally-controled mineralisation Figure 11 & Figure 12).
Several other step-out exploratory holes were designed to test potential new mineralisation, while others drilled step-back extensions to the previously discovered high-grade gold and silver mineralisation.
Hole OEDD-53, for instance, was drilled as a step-back to OEDD-45 to intercept the discovery lode at an estimated 170 meters vertical depth, with mineralisation predicted approximately 50 meters down-dip from that reported in OEDD-45.
Some significant results from OEDD-45 include:
- OEDD-45 contains 3 high-grade intervals within a 65 m downhole width of mineralization which included:
- 12 m @ 4.9 g/t gold from 89m downhole,
- 13m at 1.3 g/t gold from 114m downhole and,
- 21m @ 1.3 g/t gold from 133m downhole.
OEDD-44 returned up to 4.35 m @ 2.1 g/t gold and was targeted at a parallel southern lode and intercepted fingers of the same brecciated polymetallic mineralisation observed in OEDD-45 and OERC-132 – plunging controls on mineralisation are envisaged with deeper higher-grade mineralisation similar to OER-C132 and OEDD-45.
OEDD-44 also returned noteworthy intercepts, reaching up to 4.35 meters at 2.1 g/t gold, targeting a parallel southern lode and intercepting features similar to the brecciated polymetallic mineralisation observed in OEDD-45 and OERC-132.
It is believed that plunging controls on mineralisation may be influencing deeper higher-grade mineralisation, similar to OERC-132 and OEDD-45.
The recent drill campaigns clearly indicate the potential for multiple lodes of plunging Mineralisation. These controls are expected to lead to the discovery of deeper high-grade mineralisation in multiple lodes. True widths of mineralisation in the discovery lode range from 25 to 50 meter (Figures 10 and 11).
Some notable results from the drilling at Charger include:
- OERC-89: 21m @ 2.7 g.t Au and 19.9 g/t Ag from 13m downhole.
Including 3m at 9 g/t Au, 89.6 g/t Ag, and 0.7% Cu from 31m downhole.
Subsequent to this first drill program, small artisanal mining pits were opened in the area and polymetallic gossan was collected around these workings (Figure 12A).
Further mapping was completed leading to holes OERC-131 and 132 being targeted at this mineralisation.
Hole OERC-132 returned a remarkable, greater-than 100 gram meter gold equivalent intercept.
- OERC-132: 32m @ 3.0 g/t Au , 0.17% Cu and 6.6 g/t Ag from 74m downhole.
Including 4m @ 12.4 g/t Au, 0.7% Cu and 30 g/t Ag from 78m downhole.
The diorite host displays variable iron oxide alteration (hematite, magnetite, +/- chlorite) and contains disseminated sulphide and sulphide veins.
Deeper drilling into the breccia areas reveals dominance by chlorite and clinopyroxene, with disseminated sulphides forming the matrix to the diorite breccia.
A Copper Discovery
Sceptre is a large, 20-km2 copper-gold anomaly, delineated with a combination of Randgold legacy soil geochemistry, infill and extension termitaria & soil sampling by Awalé.
The 5-kilometer-long anomaly is coincident with a major NW trending outcropping structure, the continuity of which has been confirmed from detailed airborne magnetics and ground IP surveys.
The anomaly is zoned with higher copper-molybdenum anomalism toward the east and higher tenor gold to the west. As such, the anomaly has been divided into 3 zones (Figure 13);
– Sceptre East,
– Sceptre Main,
– and Sceptre West
Sceptre East encompasses a vast 1.5-kilometer-long copper-gold-molybdenum-silver anomaly situated within porphyritic granodiorite.
It is bordered by shear structures to the north and south, as indicated in the ‘Intrusive Corridor’ in Figure 14.
The north-bounding structure exhibits extraordinarily high chargeability, suggesting significant sulphide development making it a prime target for future drilling. This structure extends northwest toward Sceptre Main and Sceptre West.
The south-sheared boundary runs adjacent to significant coincident Au-Cu anomalism.
Initial drilling efforts have been directed towards this zone.
It is worth noting that the Sceptre East 99th percentile copper anomaly covers the entire 1.5km strike of the Sceptre East anomaly (figure 13), highlighting the immense size of the Sceptre East target which constitutes only 1/3rd of the entire Sceptre system.
Most notably, the mineralisation at Sceptre East exhibits characteristics akin to porphyry-style deposits with molybdenite and chalcopyrite stringer veins accompanied by pyrite (Figure 15).
* Calculated using Following Prices Au-1737/Oz, Cu 3.6/lb, Ag 21/Oz and Mo 40,000/ tonne (average closing price since 2019)
Using the following formula – Cu+0.7Au+0.0087Ag+0.0006Mo
Table 2: Drill results from discovery drilling phase (reported 29th March 2023)
Discovery drilling commenced at Sceptre East in Q4 2022.
Seven holes for a total of 1,092.2m were drilled in broad (>500m) spaced lines along a 2km stretch of the 5-kilometer-long Sceptre mineralised system (see March 29, 2023 news).
This maiden program tested coincident anomalous gold-copper soil geochemistry and IP Conductivity/Resistivity zones yielding positive results (see November 1, 2022 news).
The drilling delineated an initial strike mineralized zone (>500m) that returned broad and open (>100 meter downhole) mineralised copper-gold-silver and molybdenum intercepts.
Follow-up drilling completed in Q2, 2023 consisted of nine reverse circulation (RC) and three diamond drill holes for a total of 1,730 meters. This drill campaign successfully extended the mineralisation envelope to over 700 m x 300 m. It also revealed broad and open mineralisation.
7 of the 11 holes drilled end in mineralisation (see full table with drill results below).
This phase of drilling included step-out and step-back holes from the initial discovery holes and intercepted chalcopyrite & molybdenite veining, and alteration similar to holes OERC-128, 129 and OERC-130 (see March 29, 2023 news) & (Figure 16).
Notably, this phase of drilling recognised prominent south-to-north orientated shears and chalcopyrite-molybdenite bearing vein sets, suggesting previous drilling may have been sub-optimal, and prompting the final deep drill hole (OEDD-43) (Figure 17) to be oriented from west to east.
OEDD-43, the deepest hole to date (365m) intercepted a higher density of chalcopyrite and molybdenite vein sets, with the hole ending in mineralisation with 358.5 m at 0.34% Cu Eq from 6.5 m downhole. Importantly this hole ends in mineralisation to a vertical depth of 275m.
The orientation of the mineralisation appears to be controlled by the WNW-oriented sheared contact between the porphyritic granodiorite and the southern volcanics, as well as NNW to NNE-oriented shears. These orientations will guide future drilling efforts.
Large Geochem Anomaly
Lando is located in the northern region of the Odienné East permit, approximately 17 km north of Sceptre, and 7 km west of the town of Odienné.
The target is positioned along an interpreted belt-basin margin, similar to the BBM target.
The significant anomalism is supported by rock chip samples collected from artisanal workings collected from the prospect, which have returned values up to 4.8 g/t Au.
These highly anomalous IP results in tandem with high-order Cu-Au geochemistry elevates Lando as a third significant IOCG Target to follow Sceptre and Charger.
Overall, the mineralisation is primarily aligned along an N-S trending foliation, interpreted to be a jog/step-over feature on the regional scale NW trending basin margin structure.
Polymetallic Cu-Au-Mo mineralisation is hosted within highly sheared and intensely folded mafic volcanics & intrusives, which have been cut by syn and post-tectonic quartz veining.
Gold mineralisation is believed to be closely associated with the intensity of quartz veining and sulphide Mineralisation, featuring chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite, pyrite, and molybdenite as the primary sulphides.
Chlorite, carbonate, and silica alteration seem to pervade the mineralized zone, with chlorite-epidote veining, and commonly associated with the sulphides.
The mineralized zone exhibits an apparent southwest-dipping orientation and appears to represent a syn-post-tectonic phase that exploits pre-existing hinge zones, shear zones, and veins while creating new fractures.
In Q2 2023, two scout drill holes, for a total of 249m, were drilled at the coincident IP/geochemistry anomaly. Results are still pending and expected in Q4, 2023. Figure 19 depicts selected core photos and mapping samples with sulphide mineralisation, while figure 20 provides an insight into the IP geophysics.
The Belt Basin Margin (BBM) target is located approximately 13 km northeast of the Sceptre target and has a significant size and tenor copper geochemical footprint akin to Sceptre and Lando.
This target is particularly enthralling for Awalé as it represents a ‘new geochemistry discovery’ within previously unexplored terrain, free from any historical work conducted by Randgold.
This discovery is the result of our evolving comprehension of the district and our ability to pinpoint the belt/basin margin effectively.
The Mineralisation is in close proximity to a high strain contact which our geologists interpret as a major domain boundary between volcanic and volcaniclastic ‘belt’ rocks to the east and deep-water sedimentary ‘basin’ rocks to the west, later sheared intrusive rocks are present in the hanging wall of the shear.
Belt basin margins are renowned for their high prospectivity in West Africa, with several large gold camps located along and close to these boundaries.
Geochemical Footprint & Exploration
Soil and termitaria sampling at the BBM Prospect (Figure 21) has delineated an open 4km long > 50ppm (80 th percentile) Cu anomaly with a 2km >50ppb Au/104ppm Cu core (98 th percentile).
The core of the anomaly has peak values of 1269 ppb Au and 884 ppm Cu.
The BBM anomaly is also associated with elevated values of both molybdenum and arsenic.
Maiden Scout Drill Program
A maiden scout drill program completed in July 2023 targeted the BBM anomaly with three drill localities 525 & 400 meters apart along the modelled contact.
Four holes for 644.68 meters were drilled, all drill holes traversed the contact with strong alteration, shearing, brecciation, veining, and associated sulphides (Figure 22). Results are pending for this drill program.
Expansion of the BBM Anomaly
Further to this, a 6km extension to the BBM anomaly is now held by the Company through the recently acquired Sienso permit from Turaco (see July 19, 2022 news).
The Sienso permit has broad-spaced – c.1km – soil sample lines covering the permit area which were completed by Resolute in 2020 and 2021.