Drilling by Fortuna Silver Mines (TSX: FVI; NYSE: FSM) at its Séguéla gold project in Côte d’Ivoire continues to reveal more exploration upside, with the company announcing on Monday an updated resource for the Sunbird deposit as well as the discovery of two regional prospects.
Following the release of an initial resource for Sunbird earlier this year, exploration drilling has since resulted in an upgraded resource estimate, including Sunbird’s first indicated resource totalling 3.2 million tonnes grading 2.74 grams gold per tonne for 279,000 ounces, and inferred resources of 4.2 million tonnes grading 3.74 grams gold for 506,000 contained ounces.
The new resource estimation is in addition to Séguéla’s current probable reserves of 12.1 milllion tonnes averaging 2.8 grams gold for 1.1 million ounces.
The upgraded resource incorporates an additional 41 diamond and reverse-circulation drill holes totalling 14,520 metres that were completed since Fortuna released its initial inferred resource for Sunbird in March.
As detailed in a news release dated Sept. 12, drilling further down-dip and along strike at Sunbird has continued to intersect high-grade mineralization beyond the previously reported intersections, extending the drill-defined mineralization associated with the central high-grade core a further 150 metres down to around 400 metres below surface.
Recent drilling has also shown that the two main high-grade ore shoots, which previously were modelled as separate, are part of a continuous lode with a strike length of at least 700 metres, further reinforcing the potential for underground mining at Sunbird.
In a release, Paul Weedon, senior VP of exploration at Fortuna, noted that drilling continues to expand Sunbird’s mineralized footprint, extending the southern high-grade shoot a further 75 metres along strike, with hole SGDD109 returning 9.1 metres (true width) of 10.2 grams gold per tonne and hole SGDD110 cutting 7 metres of 10.2 grams gold.
Drilling has also confirmed the continuity of mineralization between the central and southern high-grade shoots, he said, with intersections such as hole SGDD106 returning 15.4 metres (true width) of 6.5 grams gold.
Drilling will continue throughout the current quarter to test the projected extensions at depth, with infill drilling to reduce drill hole spacing to further improve resource confidence planned for the first quarter of 2023.
Fortuna also announced the discovery of two new prospects at Barana and Badior, in addition to the high-grade results from Kestrel, through reconnaissance RC drilling near the Séguéla processing plant. Given the encouraging intersections, it plans follow-up drilling in these areas beginning in early 2023.
The Séguéla gold project currently consists of the resource-defined, near-surface Antenna, Koula, Agouti, Boulder and Ancien orogenic lode-style deposits. Within a total land package of 620 sqkm, there are an additional 22 highly prospective targets identified.
In September 2021, Fortuna made the decision to proceed with the construction of an open-pit gold mine at Séguéla. Long lead items have been procured and the development teams are commencing work on the ground.
Once completed, Séguéla will become the company’s fifth mine, with the first gold pour projected by mid-2023. The initial six years are expected to report 133,000 ounces of gold production annually.