Fleurette's SMB Completes First Phase of Moku-Beverendi Gold Exploration in North Eastern DRC

Dec 04, 2013, 03:00 ET from Fleurette Group

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, December 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Key Points:

  • SMB has concluded the first phase of exploration of a major gold prospect Moku-Beverendi.
  • Analysis of first phase exploration is on-going.
  • Investment of more than $34.5 million in the project by SMB to date.
  • Phase 2 to begin in January, with the objective of achieving a JORC and 43-101 compliant inferred resource by the end of 2014.

Fleurette Group (Fleurette) announces that Société Minière de Moku-Beverendi (SMB) Sprl has completed the first phase of its exploration activities of the Moku-Beverendi licence areas. The Moku-Beverendi areas together cover 1,270 square kilometres in the remote north eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and adjoin areas currently being developed as part of the Kibali Gold Project by Randgold and AngloGold Ashanti.

SMB is a joint venture between Moku Goldmines AG ("Moku" - 97% owned by Fleurette) and SOKIMO, the DRC state-owned mining company. Moku Goldmines owns 65% of SMB, and SOKIMO 35%. Moku announced it had set up SMB with SOKIMO on April, 16th, 2011 and on April 28th the contract transferring the mining licenses from SOKIMO to SMB was signed.

To date SMB has invested over $34.5 million in the project, including $14 million on Phase 1 exploration activities. Exploratory drilling has been conducted by Geosearch-SENEX Group.

The first phase of exploration has identified several mineralised targets which have the potential for open pit and/or underground mining. Initial analysis shows Moku-Beverendi has the potential to contain a world class deposit just as the Kibali Gold Project does - the analysis shows the potential for almost 5 million ounces of gold at a range of average grades up to 6.25 grams per tonne.

The second phase of exploration is due to begin in January 2014. This will involve intensifying drilling with Diamond drilling core in the target areas, further analysis and ultimately aiming to achieve a Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects by Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) and National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101) compliant inferred resource by the end of 2014. Phase 2 exploration expenditure is estimated to be $16.5 million, bringing the total project costs by the end of 2014 to $51 million.

SMB's permanent on site workforce is currently 50, including geologists, technicians and operational management. The total workforce on the project is c. 100.

SMB has also invested in a number of local community projects as part of Fleurette's commitment to investing in social projects in the DRC. These include investing in a local radio station, donations towards seeds for local farmers and the rehabilitation of the road from Watsa to Moku-Beverendi project, the main transport artery to Kisangani. SMB has also set up a local commission which meets regularly with local community representatives to update them on the project, but also to look at other areas in which SMB can provide investment.

Karim Robo, CEO of SMB said:

"When we acquired the licences in 2011, it was clear the licence areas had been underinvested and underexplored. We have worked quickly to identify our target areas and complete the first phase of our exploratory drilling programme. This is an extremely challenging and exciting project; however we remain very optimistic about the opportunity that exists in the region and our exploration activities are well on track."

About Fleurette Group

The Fleurette Group is an entrepreneurial business with significant investment in diverse sectors, including natural resources, agriculture, and technology. Fleurette has a proven track record of co-operation with other businesses, including the state-run mining company Gecamines. Fleurette specializes in successful industrial projects in high-risk environments. It is an active, full-scale planner in each venture, providing everything from managerial expertise to engineering consulting to financial planning, and ensuring the on-time and on-budget completion of each project.

A Leading Employer, Investor and Taxpayer

As one of the largest private companies in the country, the Fleurette Group has invested over $1.5 billion dollars in the acquisition and development of mining and other assets in the DRC. Through its ongoing commitment to the country's economy, Fleurette has helped to bring billions in related investments into the DRC.

By bringing billions of dollars in private investment to the country, the Fleurette Group's subsidiaries and partnerships support some 20,000 jobs in the DRC, making the company one of the nation's leading employers. Moreover, the Fleurette Group's partnerships and joint ventures are amongst the DRC's leading taxpayers, contributing significant revenues to the States in 2012. These tax payments help to support basic public services, such as schools, roads, and health clinics.

A Long-Term Commitment to the DRC

Dan Gertler, Senior Advisor to the Fleurette Group, began investing in the DRC's diamond sector in 1997, at a time when few other international companies were willing to risk doing business in the war-torn nation.

Over the past decade, the Fleurette Group has expanded from iron ore, copper and cobalt to agriculture, oil and gas. A citizen and resident of Israel and the DRC, Gertler is committed to developing the natural resources of the country, while investing in the Congolese people and their communities.

The Largest Charitable Organization in the DRC

Through the Gertler Family Foundation and its own infrastructure and social welfare projects, the Fleurette Group has contributed millions of dollars to the betterment of the DRC and its people. These charitable ventures focus on core areas that include health, education, infrastructure, emergency assistance, food security, and cultural development.

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SOURCE Fleurette Group