B2Gold exercises option on Aurion’s Finland project

Solar panels at the Otjikoto Solar Power Plant in Namibia. Photo courtesy B2Gold Corp.

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Aurion Resources Ltd. [AU-TSXV; AIRRF-OTC] on Thursday August 22 reported the discovery of multiple new gold zones over a distance of greater than 5.0 kilometres at its 100%-owned Launi East Project in northern Finland.

The company said these gold zones are located within a north-south distance of 5.5 kilometres within a 1.0-kilometre wide corridor where there is no documented history of mineral exploration.

The announcement came less than 24 hours after Aurion said B2Gold Corp. [BTO-TSX; BTG-NYSE American; B2G-Namibia] has exercised an option to acquire a 51% interest in a 25,000-hectare project area in Finland that includes Aurion’s Kutuvuoma and Ahvenjarvi gold projects.

Since the inception of the agreement, dated January 13, 2016, B2Gold spent over $5 million on exploration, paid Aurion $50,000 in cash and issued 550,000 B2Gold shares over a 4-year period.

B2Gold has an option to acquire an additional 19% interest by spending a further $10 million over two years, and if exercised, an additional 5% interest by completing a feasibility study, for a total of 75%.

Aurion shares responded by jumping to a high of $1.99 on Thursday before slipping back to $1.88 for a gain of 5.03% or $0.09. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of 75 cents and $2.35.

Aurion is focused on gold exploration in the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt (CLGB) of northern Finland, where its land holdings cover 70,000 hectares. Aurion’s initial acquisition was the Kutuvuoma and Silasselka projects from Dragon Mining Oy in May, 2014. It has subsequently acquired additional mineral tenements throughout the CLGB.

Aurion recently said reconnaissance prospecting on the 4,250-hectare Launi East Project resulted in the discovery of several zones of gold mineralization comprising angular quartz boulders and outcrop over an area of approximately 2.0 kilometres. In a February 12, 2019 press release, the company said a total of 399 rock samples assayed from nil to 379.0 g/t gold and averaged 2.47 g/t gold.

The Launi East property lies approximately 8.0 to 10 kilometres south of Aurion’s 100%-owned Risti Project, where the company recently intersected a wide zone of gold mineralization at the Aamurusko Northwest prospect, which is located on Risti.

The Risti Project, which covers approximately 14,000 hectares, is located to the southeast and is contiguous with Aurion’s Kutuvuoma gold project, which in turn is located 35 kilometres southeast of Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd.’s [AEM-TSX, NYSE] Kittila gold deposit.

Kutuvuoma hosts a high-grade, shear zone-hosted gold deposit that was discovered in the mid-1990s by Outokumpu Oy, while that company was exploring for base metals.

Aurion said the geological setting of the Risti Project has many similarities to prolific gold-rich orogenic gold belts globally, including the Timmins camp of the Abitibi province of Northern Ontario.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Aurion said highlights from exploration at Launi East include assays as high as 313 g/t gold from 248 rock sample assays received to date. The average was 18.9 g/t.

Other highlights include the discovery of multiple new mineralized zones over a 1.0 kilometre by 5.5- kilometre area, with 10 new visible gold occurrences. Assays from 650 rock samples are still pending.

The company said sampling to date is preliminary in nature and consists primarily of grab samples of sub-outcrop, outcrop and quartz boulders in glacial till. Insufficient work has been carried out to date in order to determine the source of many of the mineralized borders.

Still, Aurion President and CEO Mike Basha remains upbeat about recent results.

“The discovery of extensive new gold mineralization in another project area with no history of mineral exploration again demonstrates how underexplored the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt and Sirkka Shear Zone are,” said Basha.

“Moreover, the high rate and number of surface discoveries we are making at both Launi and Risti suggests large scale hydrothermal systems at play, demonstrating the huge unrealized potential of the CLGB,” he said.

Two years ago, Kinross Gold Corp. [K-TSX; KGC-NYSE] participated in a private placement of 6.85 million Aurion shares, priced at $2.32 per share. The private placement raised $15.9 million, leaving Kinross with a 9.98% stake in Aurion.

At the time, Aurion said this significant investment by Kinross validated the junior’s exploration model in the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt, and provided the necessary capital to rapidly advance Aurion’s exploration plans, with the primary focus being on the Aamurusko prospect.


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