Columbus Prepares for Drill Program on Filon Dron Target Maripa Gold Project, French Guiana

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Sept. 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- is pleased to report on activities at the Maripa gold project (“Maripa”) located in French Guiana.  Columbus entered into an agreement in July 2018 with IAMGOLD Corporation (“IAMGOLD”) to acquire up to a 70% interest in Maripa.  Maripa adjoins to the south the Boulanger project being developed by the Barrick Gold / Reunion Gold joint-venture, where a high-grade gold discovery was recently announced.

The promising Filon Dron prospect, one of the five partially drill-defined gold zones at Maripa, was prioritised for valuation and drill program planning and scheduling:

The Filon Dron prospect, located in the central part of the Maripa property, is centred over a 2,800‑metre by 800‑ to 1,100‑metre gold-in-soil anomaly, straddling the contact between volcanic assemblages of the Paramaca Formation and younger pull-apart basin coarse detrital sediments of the Upper Detrital Unit (UDU or Rosebel Formation).  The geological setting is similar IAMGOLD’s world-class Rosebel gold mine (15.2 Moz gold) in neighboring Suriname. 

The initial discovery drill program at Filon Dron, consisting of 7 shallow core holes carried-out by IAMGOLD in 2006, was limited to a 400-metre by 200-metre area of the extensive gold-in-soil anomaly.  Two (2) of the 7 cores holes returned important gold mineralised intersections within the surface weathered saprolite layer of , including 3.17 g/t gold over 13.5 metres (MAR‑06‑007), and , including 7.17 g/t gold over 18.0 metres (MAR‑06‑008), defining a wide gold mineralised zone striking north-northwest, parallel to the local stratigraphic and structural trend.  Several other subparallel gold mineralised zones untested by drilling are interpreted from historical surface geochemical data, defining a 1,000-metre wide north-northwest trending gold mineralised corridor.  Past drilling indicates that the surface weathering and oxidation of bedrock is deep over the Filon Dron sector with a 40- to 60-metre thick saprolite cover, which increases the potential for defining oxide ore.

The Columbus field crew completed the relogging of the Filon Dron historical drill core and prospecting and sampling was carried-out during the months of July and August.  The field work identified numerous mine shafts, adits and trenches excavated by unauthorised artisanal miners over a 400‑metre by 300‑meter area.  Two (2) shafts and an adit were excavated over the Filon Dron discovery zone, and another 5 shafts and 3 trenches were excavated over a subparallel gold zone located 150 metres to the west.

Thirty (30) samples collected from the mine dumps, including quartz-tourmaline vein material, were assayed for gold.  Seven (7) of the samples returned assay values between 1.49 to 86.80 g/t gold, whereas another nine samples returned anomalous gold values between 0.19 and 0.99 g/t gold.  The samples collected from the mine dumps located along the mineralised structure to the west of the Filon Dron discovery zone returned a best gold assay of 86.80 g/t gold.

A work declaration for a core drilling program of 32 holes, for 5,130 metres, is in preparation and will be submitted to the French authorities in October.  Drilling operations will commence on the approval of the work declaration by the French authorities, which is granted two months following the submittal of the file, while contingent on additional information that may be requested by the State services.

The program is subdivided into a first ‘Priority 1’ phase (16 holes 2,440 m) and a subsequent ‘Priority 2’ phase (16 holes, 2690 m), the latter being contingent on the results of the Priority 1 phase.  Three targets will be investigated by the drilling program:

Maripa is located in eastern French Guiana along a paved national road, approximately 50 kilometres south of the capital city of Cayenne.  The project is comprised of up to five (5) contiguous exploration permits that cover an area of 120 square kilometres.  Columbus entered into an agreement in July 2018 with IAMGOLD to acquire up to a 70% interest the Maripa. 

Maripa is situated along the southern border of a regional deformation zone known as the Northern Guiana Trough (NGT), which can be traced across northern French Guiana into neighboring Suriname.  The NGT is recognised as a highly favorable geological setting for gold mineralisation. The geological setting at Maripa is similar IAMGOLD’s world-class Rosebel gold mine (15.2 Moz gold) in Suriname, highlighted by a faulted contact between volcanic assemblages of the Paramaca Formation and younger pull-apart basin coarse detrital sediments of the Upper Detrital Unit (UDU or Rosebel Formation).  The presence of thick sections of UDU sediments in the Maripa area attest to an extensional structural regime favorable to hydrothermal activity and associated gold mineralisation.

Past exploration at Maripa includes 134 core holes, for a total of 9,000 metres, which partially defined five (5) broad gold zones, namely Changement, Filon Dron, Maripa Sud-Est, Rhyodacite and Filon Scieur.  Drilling was limited to shallow depths within the oxidized saprolite layer with all five prospects returning drill intersections of economic interest with demonstrated potential for expansion and mineral resource delineation including: 4.3 g/t gold over 36 metres; 12.4 g/t gold over 10.5 metres; 1.8 g/t gold over 34.5 metres, 2.5 g/t gold over 25.5 metres and 2.2 g/t gold over 21.5 metres.  Additionally, several gold-in-soil geochemical anomalies remain untested by drilling.

A total of 30 select rock samples of mine working dump samples were collected by Columbus geologists during prospecting.  Individual samples were sealed in heavy duty cellophane plastic bags and placed by batch in sealed polypropylene bags and delivered by Columbus personnel to the Filab-Amsud depot in Cayenne for trucking to the Filab-Amsud laboratory in Paramaribo, Suriname, an accredited laboratory for quality procedures according to ISO 9001(2008) and ISO/IEC 17025.  Samples were assayed for gold by the fire-assay method using an atomic absorption finish on a 50-gram pulp split.  A quality assurance and quality control program (QA/QC) was implemented by Columbus and Filab-Amsud to ensure the accuracy and reproducibility of the analytical method and results.

The prospecting was conducted under the supervision of Rock Lefrançois, President & Chief Executive Officer of Columbus and Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101, who has reviewed this news release and is responsible for the technical information reported herein, including verification of the data disclosed.

Columbus is French Guiana’s leading gold exploration and development company.  Columbus holds a major interest in the world-class Montagne d’Or gold deposit.  A feasibility study for Montagne d’Or was filed in May 2017, and the mine permitting process is currently underway.  In addition, Columbus has entered into an agreement to acquire a 100% interest in the Rhea gold exploration property and is also earning into the Maripa gold exploration project, where past drilling has returned excellent near surface results, including 36 metres of 4.3 g/t gold.  Columbus’ objective is to assemble a portfolio of high-quality gold exploration projects in the highly prospective and underexplored Guiana Shield.


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Globe Newswire: 13:00 GMT Thursday 26th September 2019

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