Canadian gold exploration and development company Columbus Gold has reached an agreement with Iamgold to acquire 70% interest in the Maripa gold project, located in eastern French Guiana.
The deal will be carried out in two stages. In the initial stage, the company will acquire a 50% interest by incurring $5m in expenditures within five years of the effective date of the agreement.
Both companies will establish a 50:50 joint-venture (JV), with Columbus acting as the operator.
Columbus will have the chance to acquire the remaining 20% stake by completing a preliminary feasibility study (PFS) in three years if Iamgold elects not to participate in the 50:50 JV.
Following the completion of the PFS, Columbus will form a 70:30 JV with Iamgold.
Columbus Gold chairman Robert Giustra said: “With mine permitting well underway at the Montagne d’Or gold deposit, the timing was right for this deal on Maripa.
“This low-cost, high-potential acquisition solidifies Columbus Gold’s position as the leading gold exploration and development company in French Guiana.”
The Maripa project has five contiguous exploration permits (PER) covering approximately 120km2 of area.
The deal will enable Columbus to benefit from geological, geochemical and geophysical data received from previous exploration works conducted at Maripa and move the project to drill definition stage in 2019.
Bureau Minier Guyanais (BMG) began exploration at the Maripa project between 1958 and 1959 followed various companies including Iamgold from 2000 to 2006.
Exploration operations at the mine include ground and airborne geophysical surveying, geological mapping and rock sampling, soil and auger grid sampling, trenching and core drilling.
According to the company, the changement mine of the project has produced 40,000oz of gold from 1985 to 1996.
In addition, various operators performed drilling operations at the mine from 2002 to 2006 with near-surface drill intercepts such as 36m of 4.3 g/t gold, 10.5m of 12.4 g/t gold, 34.5m of 1.8 g/t gold, 25.5ms of 2.5 g/t gold and 21.5m of 2.2 g/t gold.
The project has seen 134 shallow core holes as part of drilling operations over its life span to date, of which, Iamgold has drilled 106 holes.
During its operations at the project, Iamgold focused on five large gold geochemical anomalies including Changement, Filon Dron, Maripa Sud‑Est, Rhyodacite and Filon Scieur.