Ghana holds a particularly special place in recent African history, being as it was the first sub-Saharan Africa nation to gain independence from European colonialism in 1957. In the near five decades since the country has gone on to become one of the fastest growing economies in the world with one of the highest GDP per capita in all of Africa.
One of the primary reasons for this growth is the country’s diverse and rich resource base. The mining industry of Ghana today accounts for five percent of its GDP, with minerals making up 37 percent of its total exports, of which gold contributes over 90 percent. Bearing these figures in mind it becomes immediately clear why the main focus of Ghana’s mining and minerals development remains firmly fixed on gold.
Nobel Mineral Resources is an ASX-listed company, exploring for and developing large-scale gold deposits in Ghana’s goldfields. Incorporated in April 2007, Nobel has brought together an experienced management team that possesses the technical expertise capable of identifying and developing high quality mineral prospects.
In March 2012, production commenced at the company’s flagship Bibiani Gold Project with the first gold pour. This achievement ramped by Nobel’s stable production rate and subsequently propelled it into the ranks of West Africa’s mid-tier gold producers.
Located in the West of the country, 250 kilometres North-West of Accra, the Bibiani open-pit gold mine was commissioned in 1998. Situated within the Sefwi-Bibiani belt, it plays host to over 17 million ounces of gold. The concession area of approximately 49 square kilometres is located near the town of Bibiani, approximately 80 kilometres South West of the Ashanti capital, Kumasi. The principal and most practicable access to the area is from the east along the Kumasi road. It is here that an aggressive exploration programme is currently underway in order to add substantially to the existing resource base, with recent drilling returning high-grade results from near mine targets.
In addition to the Bibiani Project, Noble holds the Cape Three Points, Brotet and Tumentu Gold Projects located within the southern extension of the Ashanti Gold Belt. The Cape Three Points concession covers a total area of more than 79 square kilometres of prospective ground within the structurally complex Birimian metavolcanics and metasediments. At least twenty historic gold workings and prospects are recorded by previous workers, in addition to ten historic gold working prospects located within the Cape Three Points Forrest Reserve.
On completion of a successful IPO, and satisfaction of the terms of an option agreement, Noble will hold AXMIN Limited’s existing rights over the joint venture agreement between AXMIN and Consolidated Minerals Limited (Ghana) and will earn a 55 percent interest in the Cape Three Points Concession. Noble will have the right to earn the additional ten percent interest by expenditure of a further $1 million and/or an 80 percent interest by producing a Bankable Feasibility Study on any prospect within the Concession.
Sharing a common border with the Cape Three Points license is the Brotet exploration prospect. The acquisition of this concession saw Noble gain the rights to a minimum of 85 percent ownership of the prospect, with the company taking responsibility for all renewals and exploration expenditure. The acquisition of this tenure adds an additional 33 square kilometres of total area and approximately eight kilometres of known strike length north east of the current drilling programme on the Morrison Prospect.
Previous anomalous grade soil geochemistry results derived from the due-diligence programme on the Brotet Licence indicate the continuation of the Morrison trend for some kilometres with further soil geochemistry analysis required which will form an integral part of further exploration on this concession. The exploration of this tenure will be carried out in conjunction with the Cape Three Points programme.
The Tumentu Concession, meanwhile, is located in the western region of the country, approximately 221 kilometres from Accra. The concession itself is 8.74 square kilometres in size and is positioned immediately between the Prestea Gold Mine and the Salman-Anwia project area, currently being explored by Adamus Resources, where a total resource of 1.6 million ounces has recently been reported.
On completion of a successful IPO and satisfaction of the terms of an option agreement, Noble acquired the existing rights over the joint venture agreement with Obotan Minerals Company Limited to earn a 78 percent interest in the Tumentu Concession by spending $170,000 on the concession in October 2008. Obotan retain a ten percent interest in the joint venture up to a decision to mine, which was negotiated within the parameters of the joint venture agreement. Additionally, The Republic of Ghana retains ten percent interest in the project.
Noble’s aims and strategy for the future revolve fundamentally around the development of its assets. This includes establishing the Bibiani Gold Project as a 150,000 ounce per annum gold producer, unveiling the possibilities for its under-explored Assuonta and Bibiani North projects and demonstrating the exploration potential of Cape Three Points, Brotet and Tumentu. Further to this, the company looks forward to exploring and developing new mineral deposits with the goal being to significantly enhance the value of its current undertakings.
Written by Will Daynes, research by Jeff Abbott