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Siribaya Gold Project


Located in southwestern Mali, West Africa, the Siribaya Project consists of contiguous exploration permits covering 760 square kilometers. Merrex is the largest contiguous permit holder in Mali. The property has over 100 kilometres of gold anomalous structural lineaments, many which have not yet been explored. The project is located 50 kilometres south of the town of Kenieba, in the administrative region of Kayes, Mali. (click here for map of permit area)

West Africa has in recent years been the world's fastest growing area for discovery, development, and production of gold, with Mali at the forefront.

Merrex has established a permanent, well equipped exploration camp adjacent to the town of Berekegni, roughly 50 kilometres south of the town of Kenieba. During the dry season, the Berekegni camp is accessed via dirt road from Kenieba, where a government owned airstrip is serviced by regular flights from Bamako, as well as being available for chartered aircraft. Kenieba is also linked to Bamako by rail.

The properties are traversed by the Falémé River, which provides ample water for exploration activities and would be sufficient to support mining activities should the project advance to the exploitation phase.

The Siribaya Mega-structure has a NI43-101 indicated resource estimate of 4,055,000 tonnes grading 2.34 g/t Au (303,900 oz Au) and inferred resource of 4,316,000 tonnes grading 2.17 g/t Au (301,400 oz Au). The NI43-101 resource is open to the north, south and at depth. (click here for map of resource area)

NI43-101 Resource Estimate
Block Cut-off: 0.5 g/t
2012 SIRIBAYA deposit- total resource estimate figures*
  Material Zone Specific Gravity Tonnes (block cut-off 0.5 g/t)** Au (g/t) Gold Grams Gold Total Oz
INDICATED Zone IB 2.05 4,045,000 2.34 9,452,660 303,900
Total   4,045,000 2.34 9,452,660 303,900
INFERRED Zone IB 2.02 1,128,000 2.03 2,291,462 73,700
Zone IA 2.10 3,189,000 2.221 7,082,006 227,700
Total   4,316,000 2.17 9,373,468 301,400

Over $37 million has been spent in exploration at Siribaya since 2005. Additionally, previous operators spent more than $1 million in the project area during the mid 1990s.


In December 2008, Merrex closed an Option Agreement with IAMGOLD pursuant to which IAMGOLD may incur up to CDN$10.5 million in exploration expenditures over 4 years, to earn a 50% interest in the Siribaya Gold Project. At the end of 2011, IAMGOLD has satisfied its expenditure commitments and a 50-50 joint-venture was formed. IAMGOLD is the Project Operator. (click here for January 2012 News Release)


The joint-venture controls 100% of the Siribaya Project. The government of Mali will have an automatic free carried interest of 10% as well as the option to gain a 10% participating interest should the project advance to the exploitation phase.



A comprehensive termite mounds sampling program was undertaken on all the mining permits comprising the Siribaya project. All the permits are now surveyed on a 400 x 100 m grid. A score of gold anomalies have been identified on the project and many of them show features similar to the Siribaya Mega-structure. (click here for map)


In 2009, an airborne magnetic and radiometric survey covered the entire project. The survey revealed the presence of at least 5 structures similar to the Siribaya mega-structures.



An IP survey was conducted over the Siribaya mega-structure. A series of linear chargeability and resistivity zones parallel to geological strike were interpreted and the Siribaya 1B gold deposit is associated with one of them. Several other conductors remain to be investigated.


Since 2006, in excess of 150,000 m of exploration and definition drilling were drilled on the property. The Siribaya 1B gold deposit was identified and the 5 km long 1A gold structure is currently being investigated.


1996-1997 Emerging Africa Gold (EAG), through Russian contractor GeoConsult, conducted extensive prospecting, mapping, and geochemistry in the area covered by MXI's permits. This work identifies several large gold anomalous zones.
2005 Merrex entered into a strategic partnership with Touba Mining SARL (Touba), a Malian company, to acquire and explore favorable mineral permits in the West Mali Gold Belt
2005-2008 From 2005-2008, Merrex has completed airborne geophysics, data compilation, sub-regional and targeted prospecting, mapping, soil geochemical surveys, trenching, and pitting. Based on this work, an aggressive 622 (~31,000m) RAB drilling programme was conducted, and followed up by 86 diamond drill holes.

Geochem (2005-2006)

RAB Drilling (2007)

Diamond Drilling (2008)
2007-2008 Diamond drilling of priority targets on the Siribaya structure intersects significant intervals at ore grades, particularly at Zone 1B
2008 In 2008 an independent NI 43-101 resource estimate was completed for Zone 1B, which confirmed an indicated resource of 123,000 contained ounces Au and an additional inferred resource of 319,000 contained ounces Au (click here for NI 43-101 Resource Estimate document)
2008 Joint Venture agreement signed in December 2008 with IAMGOLD Corp. IMG may earn a 50% interest in Siribaya by spending $10,500,000 on exploration within three years. IMG also invested $1,500,000 in cash with MXI
2009 5,000 metres of diamond drilling tripled strike length of Zone 1B with many significant ore-grade intervals at Zone 1B. (see attached map)
2009 Airborne Magnetic Spectrometer Survey completed of approximately 22,785 line kilometers - significant structures identified. (see attached map)
2009 Termite Mound Geochemical Survey completed over the 10 kilometre Siribaya Structure as well as Babara, Kofia and Bambadinka. (see attached map)
2010 Updated NI 43-101 Resource Estimate completed. 4,015,000 tonnes grading 2.39 g/t Indicated (308,200 oz Au) and 946,000 tonnes grading 2.29 g/t Inferred (69,500 oz Au). The NI43-101 resource is open to the north, south and at depth. (click here for NI 43-101 Resource Estimate document)
2010 10,673 metres of RC drilling completed to August 2010 over the Siribaya Structure (six drill fences, 500 metre spacing, 100 metre depth). Final results from this phase of the drill program clearly establish that the gold mineralization in both Zone 1A and Zone 1B has continuity. The Zone 1A mineralization extends for at least two kilometres and Zone 1B for at least three kilometres. The gold mineralization in both Zones 1A and 1B remains open to both the north and south within the 10 kilometre long 1A and 1B substructures, and is also open to depth. Multiple new and significant gold mineralized zones with continuity are present within each of the 1A and 1B substructures. These new zones also are open north, south and at depth. (see attached map) IAMGOLD, operator of the Siribaya Gold Project, has accelerated its exploration expenditures at Siribaya by approximately CDN$750,000 through to December 31, 2010. Drilling has recommenced on the initial 4,000 metres of RC drilling within the Siribaya mega-structure which will complete the previously planned 14,500 metres 2010 drill program. An additional 4,000 metres of RC drilling will follow-up on excellent intersections encountered earlier this year. To further evaluate the Bambadinka trend, the ground geophysical survey (gradient array IP) will be extended to cover the remainder of the trend and the mechanized auger program will be extended by 3,200 metres.
2011 The 50/50 Merrex-IAMGOLD Corporation ("IAMGOLD") joint project management committee approved a minimum US$3,000,000 exploration program for the 2011 field season at the Siribaya Gold Project. The exploration objectives of the 2011 program aim at (1) developing the mineral potential of the Siribaya permits and (2) confirming the potential for a 2 to 4 million ounce deposit along the strike extent of the Siribaya trend.

More specifically, the 2011 program includes:
  • Up to 40,000 metres of RC drilling to: i) investigate the strike length of the 1A and 1B Siribaya substructures for approximately two kilometres to the north of Zone 1B and approximately one kilometre to the south of Zone 1A, and ii) selective infill drilling along 200 - 300 metre spaced fences to follow up on mineralization intersected during 2010 drilling. (see attached map)
  • Complete the regional 400 x 100 m termite mound geochemical sampling over the full concession areas.
  • Infill termite mound geochemical sampling (200 x 40 m) as a follow up on soil and termite mound geochemical anomalies as detected during previous geochemical sampling programs. The program will initially focus on the Babara anomalous trends and a geochem trend to the west of Siribaya.
  • Finalise mechanized auger drilling along the Bambadinka trend to the west of Siribaya.
  • Initiate mechanical auger drilling along the Babara trends and the western Siribaya trend.
In addition, the joint project management committee has approved a diamond drill program of up to 10,000 metres of infill drilling within the Zone 1B resource area, and extension drilling north and south of the Zone 1B resource area, including selected targets in the 1A substructure.

The program was planned in conjunction with ACA Howe International (UK) Limited in the objective is to increase the present NI43-101 resources estimate to up to one million ounces.

Geology & Exploration

The West Mali Gold Belt, a part of the Birimian greenstone belt, is a prolific gold producing region, with current annual production of more than 1.5 million ounces gold per year. Rock in the tropics generally weathers in place and the permit area is no exception. The deposit is generally overlain by laterite and hardpan, with up to 50 metres of saprolite, grading to hard rock below. (Saprolite is a chemically weathered rock. Rainwater percolates through the rock, gradually altering feldspars to clays and sulphides to oxides, leaving gold in a free state, rather than being encapsulated in base metal sulphides). There is evidence that grades increase with depth, roughly doubling below 100 metres depth. Merrex has identified a major gold bearing shear zone, termed the Siribaya Structure, which has been the primary focus for exploration work on the project to date. Gold mineralization associated with the Siribaya structure is present in tectonic and hydrothermal breccias, and in stockwork quartz vein systems associated with felsic dykes. Trenching, pitting, RAB & diamond drilling have identified structurally controlled anomalous and ore-grade gold mineralization over a strike length in the order of 10 kilometres. Based on positive results from initial soil sampling, pitting, and trenching, Merrex initiated an aggressive rotary air blast (RAB) drilling programme (622 holes, ~31,000m), which confirmed the continuity of gold mineralization throughout the interpreted structures on the Siribaya permit. To date, Merrex has focused its efforts on a 10km zone of gold anomalies which have been correlated with a regional magnetic anomaly in the northern portion of the license block, dubbed the Siribaya Structure. Drilling performed to date on the Siribaya Structure has yielded ore-grade intercepts along the entire length. Since 2005 over $13,000,000 has been spent on exploration at Siribaya. After completing a compilation of both historic and recent geochemical data, Merrex identified four priority targets with significant gold bearing mineralization coincident with the Siribaya Structure; Zones 1A, 1B, Timeta, and Bambadinka. (See attached map)

The majority of recent work has been concentrated on Zone 1B. On the basis of this work, Merrex produced a geological model and outlined a mineralized zone roughly three kilometres long, 7-12m average true width, at least 270m deep, with grades ranging from 2-5 g/t gold. This zone remains open along strike and at depth.

Zone 1A is interpreted to contain mineralized stockwork veins and stringers similar to what has been defined at Zone 1B. In late 2007, drilling at Zone 1A was put on hold when significant gold assays were received from Zone 1B. Merrex returned to this area in the 2010 RC drill program, to further define the mineralization at this anomaly.

Zone Timeta occupies the southern portion of the Siribaya structure. Timeta includes the site of historic artisanal gold workings (long inactive) some 30 metres deep, 100 metres long and up to 20 metres wide. The workings exploited an easterly striking quartz vein roughly 1.0-1.5 metres wide. Additional drilling is planned for this zone, in consideration of its position on the Siribaya Structure, as well as the size of the artisanal workings.

Zone Bambadinka lies to the west of the main Siribaya Structure. The zone is roughly five kilometres long by two kilometres wide. Numerous gold-in-soil anomalies have been identified within this zone. Pitting and trenching suggests that the gold is confined to the surface laterite cover, which could indicate a significant and easily worked near-surface deposit. 2,200 metres of mechanized auger drilling was completed in the summer of 2010 and a significant new gold trend is indicated. (Click here for map and results).

West Siribaya (the area between Zone Bamabadinka and the Siribaya Mega-Structure) appears to be a significant new gold trend. Recent soil and termite mound geochemical survey results indicate extensive new gold amonalies that will require follow-up drilling.

In addition to the anomalous target areas directly corresponding to the Siribaya Structure, the overall Siribaya Project area (comprising six contiguous permits) covers several other areas of interest. In particular, the Babara and Kofia permits cover an extensive zone of gold-in-soil anomalies, of larger extent than those encountered over the Siribaya Structure. The extensive anomalous zones coincide with distinct linear corridors observed in aeromagnetic data. Merrex carried out surface geochemical sampling over this area during the 2006-2007 seasons and again in 2009. Soil samples collected at Babara and Kofia, and initial termite mound sampling at Babara during the 2009 exploration season have been assayed and analysed. (Click here to see map showing the previous soil geochemical anomalies and selected high assays of termite mound sampling.)

The 2009 termite mound geochemistry program of approximately 2,000 samples within the central Babara region returned assays of up to seven grams per tonne with many termite mound samples being higher than the corresponding surface soils. Termite mound sampling is used in conjunction with surface soil geochemistry to identify gold-anomalous target areas with termite sampling being significant because termites will carry soil and rock particles to surface from as deep as the water table so the resulting samples represent samples from depth rather than a surface sample only. The very positive results from the 2009 surface soils and termite mound sampling and the coincident presence of the extensive significant structures identified by the 2009 airborne magnetic survey prompted this renewed interest in the Babara-Kofia Permits Area.

  • Click here to view soil sampling geochemistry results.

  • Click here to view termite mound geochemistry results.

  • The Babara field camp, originally constructed by Merrex as temporary accommodation during the 2008 field season, has been expanded and upgraded by IAMGOLD to accommodate the increased exploration program requirements at this new exploration area.

    Working in concert with IAMGOLD Corporation ("IAMGOLD"), Merrex has completed the initial phase of a 14,500 metres RC reconnaissance drill program (August 2010).

    The gold mineralization in both Zones 1A and Zone 1B has continuity. The Zone 1A mineralization extends for at least two kilometres and Zone 1B for at least three kilometres. The gold mineralization in both Zones 1A and 1B remains open to both the north and south within the 10 kilometre long 1A and 1B substructures, and is also open to depth. Additionally, multiple new and significant gold mineralized zones with continuity are present within each of the 1A and 1B substructures. These new zones also are open north, south and at depth.

    Although some of the RC drilling results could be used in a future resource estimate, this program was not intended to expand the NI43-101 resource estimate; rather it was designed to explore new areas of the Siribaya Mega-structure and begin defining the potential magnitude of the mineralised areas within the Siribaya Mega-structure. The RC results will also aid identification of future diamond drill target areas. Approximately 4.5 of the proposed six lines of RC drill holes were completed prior to the onset of the seasonal rains. The lines are 500 metres apart, consisting of drill holes oriented at 270° with a dip of -50° to approximately 100 metres target depth at 50 metre spacing, and have been placed east-west across the entire width of the 1A and 1B substructures. The first Line of drill holes, RC-L-1, is approximately 250 metres north of the Zone 1B NI 34-101 Resource area; the remaining five lines of drill holes are to the south of Zone 1B starting 40 metres south of the Zone 1B NI 43-101 Resource area and thereafter at approximately 500 metres step-outs. The southern-most line reached the old Berekegni artisanal underground gold workings on the 1B substructure and the major RAB anomaly at Zone 1A.


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