Over the last 12 years exploration on the Koné Gold Project (formally the Morondo Gold Project) has been run by the same local team working for a number of different companies but throughout under the direction of Montage President, Hugh Stuart.
The application for the Koné Exploration Permit was made by Red Back Mining in 2008 with soil sampling and trenching leading to the first shallow drilling by Red Back in 2010 just prior to the company’s acquisition by Kinross.
In 2013, Sirocco Gold, run by the ex-Red Back Management optioned the permit from Kinross and completed follow up shallow RC drilling defining the extents of the Koné deposit.
In 2017, Orca Gold, again run by the same ex-Red Back management acquired the complete permit package once owned by Red Back from Kinross and the pace of exploration increased with the first deeper RC drilling, 528m of core drilling to provide samples for initial metallurgical test work and following positive results a 13,360m RC program leading to the Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate in October 2018.
Exploration completed by Montage from its formation in August 2019 up to the point of its initial public offering (“IPO”) in October 2020 focussed on expanding the knowledge of the Koné deposit at depth and extending surface geochemistry across previously unsampled eastern part of the permit.
Upon completion of the Company’s IPO, Montage first conducted a 20,000m expansion drill program during Q4 2020, targeting resource expansion below the depth extent of the October 2018 MRE. This drilling was successful in delineating a 4.00Moz Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate in January 2021 (the “January 2021 MRE”) which formed the basis of a Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) published in May 2021
From January 2021 through July 2021, Montage completed approximately 60,000m of infill drilling to convert the Inferred Mineral Resource to the Indicated category. The outcome of the infill program was the initial Indicated Mineral Resource reported in the August 2021 MRE. The drilling was not only successful in converting effectively 100% of the January 2021 Inferred Mineral Resource, but also resulted in overall growth of the Koné deposit.
On the basis of the Indicated Resource, Montage completed a Definitive Feasibility Study which was published in February 2022 demonstrating that the KGP had the potential to become a large, low cost gold operation producing over 200koz/pa for a period of 15 years (see DFS section).
In June 2022, Montage signed an agreement with Barrick Gold Corp and Endeavour Mining to acquire the Mankono JV project, contiguous to the North of the Koné Exploration permit.
This game-changing acquisition expanded the project footprint and significantly increased the upside potential of the project.
The acquisition of the Mankono-Sissédougou JV closed in November 2022 and since that time Montage has completed reconnaissance drilling, soil sampling, IP and other activities across a broad range of targets within the expanded land package. All of these targets are within trucking distance of the planned mill for the KGP and have the potential to increase production, improve economics and extend the overall life of the project as a whole. Notably, the Company was successful in upgrading and expanding the mineral resources at the Gbongogo Main satellite deposit (see August 2023 Gbongogo Main MRE), which positions the company to complete an updated definitive feasibility study which is expected to be completed by December 2023.