Abzu holds a portfolio of 16 highly prospective concessions in five of Ghana’s world-class gold-bearing belts. These include six concessions 100% directly held by Abzu or in option agreement with underlying concession holders, and ten concessions which Abzu has optioned from Red Back Mining Ghana Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kinross Gold Corp. Each of these properties possess targets at various stages of definition ranging from robust untested soil anomalies to multi-meter, multi-gram gold intercepts in trenches and drill holes. Abzu currently has aggressive field programs active on four concessions; Nangodi, Asafo, Chia, and U and N.
This diverse portfolio provides Abzu with a strategic advantage because it enables the company to explore for gold in a number of proven mineralized locations throughout the world-class gold-bearing belts of Ghana.
Ghana’s Gold Belts
The prolific gold-bearing belts of Ghana are part of a larger geologic region known as the West African Craton that underlies Burkina Faso, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia Guinea, and Senegal. Throughout this region, gold occurs in some of the world’s largest deposits along shear zones that cut belts or form the margins of belts. Within Ghana, these belts are the most prolific gold producers of West Africa. Abzu has undertaken to obtain concessions that lie along key mineralized shear zones to optimize its exploration effort.
Each “Belt” is a fault-bounded fragment of a greenstone belt and consists mostly of volcanic rocks. Belts are separated by basins of contemporaneous sedimentary rocks, at least partially derived from the volcanic belts. These volcanic and sedimentary rocks are collectively known as Birimian rocks based on their age of approximately 2180 to 2130 million years. Portions of several of the Birimian belts are overlain by a distinctive assemblage of sedimentary rocks that include paleo-placer gravels with gold. These rocks are known as Tarkwaian sediments and were deposited on Birimian rocks between 2130 and 2100 million years ago.
All Birimian belts and basins along with Tarkwaian sedimentary rocks have been subjected to multiple tectonic events that have resulted in formation of complex folds, faults, and shear zones. Most of the gold deposits of West Africa were formed during or slightly after the main deformation event known as the Eburnean Orogeny which occurred between 2115 and 2080 million years.
Since that time, Birimian and Tarkwaian rocks have been buried beneath younger sedimentary rocks of various ages. Erosion of these overlying rocks has exposed the Birimian and Tarkwaian rocks making them available for current gold exploration and development of deposits.
The Bole-Nangodi Belt is a greenstone belt that extends from Cote d’Ivoire through north-central Ghana into Burkina Faso and into Niger. This Belt has been the focus of gold exploration and development in the 1930s. However, due to its relative remoteness from the coast, there has been comparably little subsequent exploration as compared to southern Ghana. Immediately across the border in Burkina Faso, this Belt hosts the Youga gold deposit operated by Endeavor Mining Corp.
The Kibi Belt is the eastern-most Birimian volcanic belt in Ghana, and the belt least explored by modern exploration techniques. It is similar to the Ashanti Belt in composition and architecture, including the presence of Tarkwaian sedimentary rocks. Gold occurs in veins along shear zones near the margins of the belt (e.g., historic Kibi Mine). Abzu's Asafo concession straddles the southwest margin of this belt and covers belt-bounding shear zones.
The Sefwi Belt is one of Ghana’s largest belts volcanic belts with prominent gold deposits on the northwest and southeast margins. The Belt consists of extensive mafic volcanic rocks and widespread Belt-type dioritic intrusive bodies, some of which host gold mineralization as at Newmont’s Ahafo Mine along the northwest margin of the belt. Here gold is being produced from 4 individual open pit operations. Along the southeast margin, the Chirano Mine (Red Back Mining Ghana Ltd./Kinross Gold Corporation) and Bibiani Miner (Noble Mineral Resources Ltd) occur along structures that form the sheared margin of the belt. Tarkwaian rocks occur along the margin of this belt near the Chirano Mine.
The Asankrangwa Belt is a 8-12 km wide swath of northeast-striking, steeply northwest dipping shear zones and minor intrusions that host gold-bearing quartz-carbonate vein systems. These shear zones are similar to the belt-margin shear zones that mark the contact between Birimian basin and volcanic rocks. Accordingly, these shear zones host gold mineralization in a manner similar to the gold deposits along the margins of the Ashanti and Sefwi Belts. Soil geochemical anomalies trend the same orientation as these shears. This is an emerging belt of mineralization, which is rapidly gaining recognition as more gold is found.
Mines of Ghana’s Ashanti Belt have been world-famous gold producers for over 100 years. The premier gold deposit among these is Obuasi, which began production in 1898. Since then, underground operations have mined vein material along ~7 km of strike length and to a depth of 2 km. This world class mine has total contained gold in excess of 70M oz consisting of past production and current resources. Similar vein deposits such as Prestea and Konongo have famed and robust production histories. In recent years, many new multi-million ounce deposits have been discovered along and adjacent to the Ashanti Belt, helping to keep alive the world-class status of this belt.
The Ashanti Belt, along with other Birimian volcanic belts of West Africa, is overlain by Tarkwaian sedimentary rocks. In the southern portion of the Ashanti Belt, these rocks host modified paleoplacer deposits similar to those of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Several multi-million ounce deposits have been mined or are currently being mined from these rocks. New discoveries have found that some Tarkwaian rocks also host vein mineralization as at Dunkwa, and as a result, exploration for gold deposits in Tarkwaian rocks has increased over the years.