2018/03/11 – Mauritania-based mining and exploration company Suricate Minerals is capitalising on the unexplored territories and the investor-friendly climate of the country to pioneer the development of gold deposits in north Mauritania, Suricate Minerals executive director Ahmed Hertani tells Mining Weekly.
Mauritania is the ideal location in Africa for gold exploration, as it contains many unexplored territories that are known to contain large gold deposits, he emphasises.
Hertani highlights that there are 20 exploration companies active in northern Mauritania. He adds that this strong exploration presence is an indicator that Mauritania is “open for business”, as evidenced by the increasing number of foreign investors and operators exploring, and developing operations.
Some of these companies are at the preproduction stage for minerals, such as iron-ore, uranium, gold, black sands and quartz. Hertani cites a gold explorer and developer’s acquisition of a production permit for its gold deposit in Tijirit, in north-western Mauritania, and a senior gold producer announcing in September 2017 that it will proceed with the Phase 2 expansion of its Tasiast gold mine as examples in this regard.
Hertani says Mauritania has sufficient skills and infrastructure to support gold mining companies operating in the country, and is constantly developing this to further serve the industry.
Government is also developing infrastructure projects to provide potable water emanating from the sea to the north of the country, and is continuously building new roads, which extend up to the Algerian border, in the north-east.
This interest in development, coupled with the support of other industries, such as mining, will aid the greater development of the Mauritanian economy, adds Hertani.
Hertani notes that Mauritanians are reputable for their “hospitality and respect” towards foreigners, which fosters a safe, secure and open environment that extends to the mining industry. He attributes this to Mauritania being a moderate Islamic, Sufi country characterised by its tolerance for secular practices.
Mining in Mauritania
Suricate Minerals currently has two permits located on an alkaline intrusion with large mafic and ultramafic rocks, which Hertani says are indicative of metals, such as gold, copper, wolframite, molybdenum and tin. Notably, these permits are located in the Archaean Reguibat shield, which is recognised by geologists worldwide to be highly prospective for gold and base metals exploration, with similar geological formations to those of the gold-rich Birimian greenstone belt across Mali, Ghana and Burkina Faso, he elaborates.
Further, the area is about 300 km from the Zouerate International Airport, and about 40 km from a small city with power and water infrastructure, as well as roads, and railway lines that can support the transport of equipment, workers and materials.
The company is pursuing early-stage development of these permits, on two separate areas, for gold and copper. These intrusions are inside the shear zone, located on the level of formation- contact areas.
Hertani outlines that the first target is located on mafic-ultramafic-alkaline rocks with copper indices, in a circular area 7 km in diameter. The target has geophysical and geochemical signatures suggesting the possibility of porphyry gold/copper deposits. The second target area also contains a series of magmatic alkaline intrusions, whose magnetic signal and high values in geochemistry could possibly indicate a high-grade, gold-rich epithermal deposit.
“Over the past three years, research undertaken by our highly skilled team of geologists has enabled us to accumulate a wealth of knowledge and know-how. This makes us a reliable partner for any gold mining company and industrial metals miner,” Hertani says.
He enthuses that the company has received positive feedback, with interest from investors and project partners for these prospects. “We are open to all credible, technical and financial partners, and continue to evaluate all proposals and look forward to more engagement with interested parties that want to work with us in developing our permits into operating mining projects.”
Mauritanian Emerging Miner
Suricate Minerals is a Mauritanian- owned group specialising in natural resources exploration and development. The group’s tenements cover a broad range of strategic mineral commodities, including gold, iron-ore, barite, copper and high-purity quartz.
The group was established to explore critical minerals in some of the most underexplored regions of Mauritania. The group’s directors have been involved in the consolidation and exploration of key projects for several years, which provides them with an understanding of the potential of these important mineral endowed tenements and the requirements for future exploration.
Source: Mining Weekly