Artisanal miners

Artisanal miners prospect for gold in Rosterman in Kakamega County. Mining firm Shanta Gold has announced the presence of visible deposits.

| Tom Otieno | Nation Media Group

Western gold billions beckon as more viable deposits found

The prospect of reaping billions of shillings from gold in western Kenya inched closer to fruition after a mining firm announced it had found a fourth hole with commercially viable deposits of the prized mineral. 

Shanta Gold Limited said it found the fourth hole at Bushangala in Kakamega in its second phase of drilling this year.

The drilling and infill exercise that returned the positive results were undertaken in the months of June and July and went up to 3,205 metres.

The drilling exercise is scheduled to be completed in December and the latest find has further raised hopes on a project that is expected to boost the region’s economy.

The gold prospecting project has been on and off over the past 25 years, during which time it was passed on from one firm to the next.

According to Shanta Gold, which took over the project last year from Acacia East Africa Company, the latest finding revealed a new intersection of 3.9 metres of gold that covers between 60 and 70 metres near an undisclosed hole.

The first three holes with viable gold deposits were established within the Lihranda corridor, which covers Isulu and Bushangala, in the first phase of exploration and infill drilling that was undertaken early this year.

Lihranda corridor is believed to have 1.03 million ounces of NI43-101 inferred gold estimated at Sh164 billion.

Shanta Gold Limited is seeking to establish whether there is a mine before actual mining starts.

Once a mine is established, it is believed the deposits can be mined for at least 10 years.

Shanta Gold Chief Executive Officer Eric Zurin said they were almost halfway through the infill drilling programme planned for Western Kenya in 2021.

He exuded confidence they would release a source update with good results later this month.

Mr Zurin added that the Lihranda corridor represents significant potential for the business venture.

The East Africa-focused gold-mining firm explained that the latest results were from drilling that was undertaken across 11 holes at Isulu and Bushangala in June and July, with the undisclosed hole returning the viable results.

Said Mr Zurin: “We are delighted with our second set of results from phase two of drilling in Western Kenya. While the intersections across the board have been very strong, we are particularly pleased with a new intersection of 3.9m at 63.80 g/t Au, which is 60 metres in proximity to the undisclosed hole announced last month, which intersected 4.0m at 706.3 g/t."

He added: "We are almost halfway through our total planned infill drilling programme in Western Kenya for 2021 with a resource update due to be released later this month. We believe Western Kenya represents significant upside potential for our business and we are excited to replicate our success in Tanzania across the wider East Africa region.”

The ongoing drilling campaign targets 200 to 450 metres below the surface.

Shanta Gold Limited says it plans to complete 45 per cent of the total planned infill drilling for 2021, having completed 17 per cent over three phases.

The ambitious project covers 1,162 square kilometres  of the highly prospective but under-explored greenstone archaean Busia-Kakamega Gold Belt in western Kenya.

The explorer said the ongoing second phase of drilling is aimed at upgrading ounces from the project’s NI43-101 compliant Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate into the Indicated Resource category, down to a depth of 600 metres across three drilling phases.

According to Shanta Gold, at least US$65 million has been invested in the Kenya gold project over the past 10 years.