ONE OFF THE WOOD: Canyon Resources managing director Phillip Gallagher is a busy man with his company currently working up five greenfields projects in the gold boom African country Burkina Faso.
As busy as he is he was still able to take a few minutes to tell us what progress Canyon is making.
You have a number of project areas in Burkina Faso, but which is your main focus at this stage?
The Tao project, which is a stand-alone permit located up near the Niger border, in the northeast of Burkina Faso.
What was it about the Tao project that propelled it to the top of your to-do list?
When we acquired the project, a little over 12 months ago, we were aware of a 700 metre long artisanal operation on the permit, and there had been a very small amount of historical drilling carried out by a Canadian company.
We utilised that knowledge to conduct a small soils program and immediately kicked off into an RC drilling program.
Even though Burkina Faso is one of the hottest neighbourhoods in the mining address book at the moment you were still able to find some, virtually unscathed exploration ground?
It probably does seem that every second ASX-listed company is in Burkina Faso, but, it is an entire nation basically possessing geology very similar to that of the Goldfields region of Western Australia.
It is also, still, an extraordinarily under-explored place with plenty of opportunities for companies to make greenfields discoveries.
Canyon Resources project areas over Burkina Faso regional interpreted geology map. Source: Company
What have you been able to accomplish at Tao since picking it up?
We have taken from having no exploration to completing around 12,000 metres of RC drilling.
We have identified a structure on the permit we believe runs to around 20 kilometres in length.
Within that we have tested some three kilometres of strike and have hit mineralisation. The opportunity for us now is to test the remainder of those 20 kilometres.
When is that due to happen?
It’s ongoing as we speak. We have drill rigs there at the moment and will be drilling for the rest of this year.
Drill rig availability is often the lament of the junior exploration play. How have you managed engage drillers in such a populate space?
There is access to rigs. At the moment the bottle neck is occurring in the laboratories processing assays.
As far as drilling goes, the company conducting our drilling is a locally-based concern, which actually took a significant investment in Canyon late last year, which we feel is great vote of confidence.
That certainly makes access to rigs, and the flexibility of those rigs, a lot easier than what it would be otherwise.
What sort of progress are your other projects making?
Our second most advanced project is our Taparko North project, which is just north of the multi-million ounce Taparko gold mine.
Taparko North, like most of Burkina Faso had absolutely no prior exploration done on it.
We have carried out about 50,000 metres of auger soil geochemical surveys during the last field season and identified some fairly significant soil anomalies.
One is a ten kilometre long gold anomaly we are calling our CS prospect, as well as two polymetallic anomalies, both extending around the four kilometre mark on the Karga prospect.
This a landholding of just over 1100 square kilometres, situated approximately 100 kilometres along strike from a multi-million ounce operating gold mine, and we are conducting absolute, first pass exploration drilling.
We are the first to put a drill hole in that area; that’s the opportunity West Africa offers.
Not only are you the first ones there but it also seems like you’re identifying some substantial targets?
Absolutey; particularly on the Tao and Taparko North projects.
Thankfully the first projects we acquired have turned out to be very interesting.
Since then we have added another three project areas giving us a total of 4,000 square kilometres, where we have targeted specific belts, in specific locations.
Can you be a bit more specific about that?
Our recently-acquired Wilier project is located on the Fada N’Gourma Greenstone Belt, which is a bit of a hotspot in Burkina Faso at the moment.
The Pinarello project is on the Hounde Gold Belt. Other companies have been getting some very exciting results along there.
That region is somewhere we spent a lot of time targeting and we managed to get results we were hoping for.
The Derosa project is on the same structure that hosts the Batte deposit of Ampella Mining.
It was a large holding there in excess of 1000 square kilometres that, to us, looked as though it was unpegged.
Unfortunately, someone had beaten us to the punch and already had an application in. We tracked them down and did a deal.
Have you deliberately targeted landholdings in key strategic areas around the country?
Yes. Currently they’re all very early stage, but they are also in the parts of Burkina Faso that we feel are the best parts to be exploring.
All our permits on the Wilier, Pinarello, and Derosa projects are newly granted permits, so they have a nine year life ahead of them.
Is all your current exploration focus dedicated to the Tao project?
We’re not focusing on just one project; we are actually exploring four of our five project areas at once.
The Tao project is our most advanced, simply because it came with a little bit of historic exploration data we were able to follow up quickly.
That, thankfully, came up with some pretty good numbers and has continued to do so.
We are quite excited by the anomalies we have identified on the Taparko North area and we are now awaiting assays from the lab with a RAB drill rig currently in action there.
At Wilier we have completed an auger geochemical program, exactly what we did at Taparko North.
That auger rig has now been moved down to the Pinarello project.
How are you funding all this exploration activity?
We raised funds late last year and currently have around $5 million in the bank.
We are actively exploring, we have two RAB rigs and two auger rigs operating full time, and we are planning a follow up RC program on Tao and potentially another on Taparko before the current exploration seasons ends.
What would you like to be able to tell us in six months’ time?
I hope that we have advanced our projects. That’s the simple answer.
We’re still at such an early stage that whilst we are confident, we really don’t know how good these projects could turn out to be.
The Tao project is a great start with a three kilometre zone of mineralisation. That’s something we believe will extend, and extend quite significantly.
On Taparko North, I hope we will have drilled both the gold and polymetallic zones and have identified new targets and have developed the project further.