Big finds up for grabs in Africa

To capitalise on near-record gold prices, many Australian explorers are looking overseas to discover big finds.

The announcement this week from Perth-based Gryphon Minerals that it had had discovered an inferred resource of more than one million ounces of gold at its Banfora Gold Project in West Africa is indicative of the current gold market.

Ever since it recently broke through the US$1000 mark, gold has been trading at near-record levels, sparking a rise in exploration across the world.

Indeed, at the time of writing, gold prices had risen by US$10.60 overnight to $1015.50 per ounce.

To capitalise on this, many Australian-listed gold exploration companies are looking overseas in the hope of discovering large deposits.

Gryphon has shifted nearly all of its focus to finding gold in West Africa.

The company’s director Steve Parsons told MINING DAILY that West Africa has had relatively little exploration in the past, meaning the success rate for finding large gold deposits is quite high.

“Everyone is rushing to West Africa. It is, without a doubt, at the forefront of places to explore for gold at the moment,” he said.

“The chance of finding one million ounces around the world is quite rare, but we have just found one in that region.

“There has been a lot of activity from other companies in the past weeks, including a number of capital raisings and there is definitely a lot more drilling being carried out at the moment.”

Figures from the World Gold Council confirm there have rarely been more than two or three discoveries of one million ounces a year since the turn of the century.

According to Parsons, the infrastructure challenges that are inherent in many other parts of Africa are not as big an issue in the West.

“West Africa has some history of gold mining and there are numerous deposits scattered around,” he said.

“So the infrastructure that is already there is actually quite good.

“Besides, it is not like building a coal or iron ore mine where you need huge railway lines. Gold mines can be up and running in the middle of nowhere if necessary.”

Parsons said while the company stills retains several multi-commodity projects in Australia, its planned to concentrate more of its efforts on overseas gold.

“It is always nice to have that connection with Australia, we do have a few other nickel and copper projects,” he said.

“But these Australian operations are all in the very early stages of exploration, so all of our focus is on our Banfora project at the moment.

“Eventually, we will shift more and more away from Australia.”

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.