Desert Gold currently employs 39 people in Rwanda, including temporary staff. The country office is in Kigali with a site office and core yard close to the Byumba Project in the town of Byumba. The drill crew are lodged in a field camp on the Byumba Project site. Desert Gold also runs a sample preparation laboratory in Kigali.
While geological data is limited, gold occurrences were documented during regional surveys prior to independence and more recently by Bureau de Recherches Géologique et Minières (BRGM) and the United Nations.
Prior to TransAfrika’s exploration programme, no known modern exploration campaigns had targeted the permit areas for commercial gold deposits. What was known of the geology and mineral occurrences in Rwanda came from regional surveys conducted by governmental and non-governmental organisations such as the BRGM and the United Nations. The permit areas remain under-explored for in situ gold deposits.
Exploration by Desert Gold and TransAfrika
An airborne reconnaissance survey conducted by TransAfrika confirmed several large artisanal workings on the properties. Two initial targets were selected from the airborne survey for follow up.
During 2008, some 9,817 soil samples were collected by TransAfrika from six different areas within the Byumba Project. This survey yielded positive results in that two large, coherent gold in soil anomalies were discovered. The smaller of these anomalies (red pit anomaly) is some 440m long by 200m wide and trends northwest. The larger runs for 1,600m, attains a maximum width of some 350m, trends northwest and returned a maximum value of 5.4 g/t Au in the soil.
A second soil sampling program over newly generated targets on the different permits started in June 2011 and is continuing.
Coherent gold soil anomalies on the Byumba Project
During 2008 and 2009, TransAfrika drilled 33 diamond drill holes in the largest of the gold soil anomalies. A total of 5200m were drilled and a 265,000 oz gold resource was declared. In order to increase the resource, drilling along strike of the resource started during the last quarter of 2011 and drilling is ongoing with an initial 8500m of drilling planned. Drilling is planned to a maximum depth of 280m. The NQ size drill core is split and sampled at the core yard in Byumba, prepared at the laboratory in Kigali and shipped to ALS Chemex for analysis.
Man-portable drill rigs are used in order to minimize the environmental impact, strict environmental procedures are followed.
Drill rig on the Byumba project
In addition to the soil sampling and drilling campaigns, stream sediment sampling, IP surveys and trenching were carried out.
Satellite image of the Byumba Project showing the various drill phases completed and planned, the outline of the current declared resource and sites of artisinal mining.