Project of the Week: Sanankoro Project, Mali

November 4, 2020


Featured Image: Cora's experienced field team at work in Mali. (Photo: Cora Gold)

Cora Gold (AIM:CORA) are a West African-focussed precious metals exploration company currently operating in more than 1,100km2 of exploration permits in the world class gold regions of Senegal and Mali. Their primary focus is their fast-moving Sanankoro gold project located in southern Mali, which has a maiden Resource Estimate, Scoping Study, and a 1-2Moz exploration target (SRK Consulting). I spoke to Bert Monro (CEO & Director) to find out about Cora’s aggressive exploration to development strategy for Q4 2020 and 2021.

Located in the Yanfolila Gold Belt of southern Mali, Sanankoro is actually comprised of 5 contiguous permits covering a total area of 399km2 (Figure 1). The maiden Mineral Resource Estimate[1] (2019, SRK) states inferred resources of 233,000 oz (4.5Mt) of gold oxide at 1.6 g/t Au and 32,000 oz of sulphide-contained gold at 1.8 g/t Au. Cora are focussing on gold oxide, which is present to depths of 110m and is easily extractable with high recovery. The Scoping Study[2] estimates an NPV of US$41.5m[1], a 107% IRR and annual production of just over 45,000oz Au.

Figure 1. Map of the location of Sanankoro.
Figure 1. Map of the location of Sanankoro.

So, let’s talk Geology for a moment. Gold oxide mineralisation is hosted in quartz veins within a structurally controlled package of clastic sediments and intercalated volcanic and volancaniclastic lithologies, consistent with observations of other nearby prospective gold systems. A change in dominant structural trend from NNE-SSW to NNW-SSE as you move northwards through the area s interpreted as dextral movement that opened a dilational zone. This is a critical geological characteristic of orogenic gold deposits that facilitates deposition of gold from hydrothermal fluids and implies Sanankoro is a highly prospective area, but we will get onto upside potential in a minute.

Early exploration by Cora (acquired in 2017) included geological mapping, termite mound sampling, a review of previous exploration data and shallow reconnaissance AC and RC drilling to a combined strike length of ~8km across recognised major structures. A subsequent drill campaign in 2019 of nearly 3,000m of AC and RC drilling as well as all previous exploration was used to develop the model they have today consisting of 4 primary zones of interest located on major structures and the ~5km Sanankoro gold trend (Figure 2). The four zones have since been delineated as open pit resource areas.

Figure 2. A map of Cora Gold’s Sanankoro Permit area where zones have been delineated as open pit resource areas. Recent drill highlights have been added.
Figure 2. A map of Cora Gold’s Sanankoro Permit area where zones have been delineated as open pit resource areas. Recent drill highlights have been added.

Cora’s recent first-pass shallow reconnaissance drilling discovered two new 1.5km gold zones[3][4], one south of the Zone A resources and one south of the Selin resources, which fits very nicely with their plans to upgrade Sanankoro’s mineral resource by Q2 2021. From now until early next year Cora plan to intensively drill the property to increase data density and further delineate the extent and location of mineralised zone, in line with their primary aim of delivering a growth in resources and confidence.

On top of an updated Mineral Resource Estimate, 2021 will bring an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Feasibility Study for Sanankoro meaning it could be poised for development as early as 2022. The upside potential of the project is not just exampled by SRK’s 1-2Moz exploration target assessment, but by the fact that of the >30km prospective strike, only several kilometers have been drilled.

Cora are in the fortunate position of having US$5m in the bank, a well experienced exploration team, and a US$21m Term Sheet agreement that given a positive DFS by the end of 2021 will finance mine development[5]. Work will continue following development to expand known resources.

Cora Gold aren’t just intent on developing Mali’s next gold mine, but the socio-economic standing of the areas in which they operate. They are engaged in several ESG programs that focus on alternative livelihoods, healthcare, and education as well as installing hybrid power generation facilities in their field camps.


[1] 8% discount rate, gold price of US$1,500

All information contained in the above article is taken from the Cora Gold website (below) and materials within as well as communications with Bert Monro (CEO & Director).

Further Information

Cora Gold:

Sanankoro Project Summary (Dated Aug 2019):

[1] - Mineral Resource Estimate:

[2] - Scoping Study:

[3]/[4] - Discovery NR:  //

[5] - Term Sheet NR:

Drilling NR:

Posted in Project of the Week

Esme Whitehouse View posts by Esme Whitehouse

BSc Geology at the University of Brighton and MSc Exploration Geology at Camborne School of Mines. Now working as a junior geologist alongside in West Africa with Origin Exploration.