This award recognizes an individual or a team of explorationists credited with a recent significant mineral discovery anywhere in the world.
For the 2014 discovery of the Namdini gold deposit in northeastern Ghana
Despite some previous indications of gold mineralization, the Nangodi greenstone belt in northeastern Ghana was largely unexplored when Cardinal Resources, led by Archie Koimtsidis, decided to have a look. The Perth-based company optioned the Namdini project within the belt in mid-2014 and immediately launched a small reverse circulation (RC) drilling program. The first holes intersected gold mineralization over respectable widths. Today, Namdini is considered one of the most significant gold discoveries in West Africa so far this century.
After Cardinal’s first successful exploration pass, encouraging results from subsequent RC holes gave the junior confidence to step out 600 metres along strike of the mineralized trend with its first diamond drill hole in 2015. The step-out intersected 87 metres grading 1.08 grams per tonne gold. On the strength of this, and other consistently positive results, Cardinal was able to raise AUD$5 million to further investigate the project in a tough financing environment for juniors. Soon after, several high profile investors, including New York-based VanEck, South Africa’s Gold Fields, and the Royal Bank of Canada, took positions in the junior and in mid-2017, Cardinal began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) to add to its ASX listing.
In the four years since drilling commenced, Cardinal has outlined one of the largest gold deposits discovered in West Africa since 2000. A 2018 preliminary feasibility study (PFS) indicates probable reserves of 4.76 million ounces of gold in 130 million tonnes grading 1.14 grams per tonne gold, plus another 6.5 million ounces of indicated resources. The deposit would support an open pit operation producing 361,000 ounces per year for 14 years at an all-in sustaining cost of US$769 per ounce. Namdini boasts an NPV of US$586 million and IRR of 38%, both after tax.
The location and characteristics of the Namdini deposit make it unique. Although Ghana is one of the Top 10 gold producing nations in the world, gold was never expected to be found in significant quantities in its northeastern regions where rocks are commonly concealed by the Volta River embayment. Secondly, unlike other deposits in West Africa’s Birmian gold province, which often resemble small pearls on a string, Namdini is a large, shallow standalone deposit.
The proposed mine development is expected to be a major source of new employment in northeastern Ghana—where there is limited commercial activity—and pave the way for geological interest in this previously underexplored region. By the third quarter of 2019, Cardinal expects to complete an already fully funded feasibility study that will form the basis for mine development.