Gold mining on the permits
A number of artisanal miners are exploiting gold in alluvial and small in situ workings on the three permits. In addition, historic records show a number of artisanal workings that are now defunct.
Sedimentary units underlying the permit areas include metaquartzite, sandstones, siltstones and sericite ± muscovite ± graphite ± chlorite ± biotite schists. The sediments are folded and faulted along the dominant north northwest - south southeast trend. The folds are open to locally tight and upright with the surface topography tending to follow the structural grain of the folded sediments, with more arenaceous units forming ridges. The bulk of the Byumba deposit is hosted within a monotonous sequence of finely bedded to laminated shale, siltstone and fine grained sandstone. Faults and shears tend to be sub parallel to the fold axes. The mineralized zone forming the Byumba deposit lies just to the north of a sinistral flexure in a large shear juxtaposing two synformal structures against one another. The structure appears to be sub-vertical and has a component of vertical displacement downthrown to the northeast.
Mineralization at Byumba is confined to steeply dipping 1m to 8m wide zones separated by 3m to 15m of poorly mineralized material. Mineralization is hosted by sandstone layers with quartz-sericite-pyrite (QSP) alteration mineral assemblage indicative of fluid movement through the more porous and permeable sandstone. The most intense alteration is observed in fold closures and on fold limbs close to fold closures. It would appear that QSP alteration and gold mineralization took place during the single phase of folding. Zones of higher grade gold mineralization are parallel or nearly parallel to bedding.
The exploration permits lie within the Central African Kibaran Orogen stretching from Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, into Uganda. The Kibaran hosts Banro's Twangiza Namoya, Lugushwa and Kamitunga deposits with a total resource of 10.5 million ounces of gold (“Au”). Most of Rwanda is considered to be part of the cassiterite (tin) domain but there are two gold domains, one in the north and another in the south-west of the country. Desert Gold has permits in both the gold domains. Desert Gold’s Byumba Project is the first significant gold resource discovered in the country.
Desert Gold’s Byumba property is located in the northern half of the Great Lakes sub-province of Africa, one of the world’s principal Precambrian orogenic-metallogenic provinces. Like Banro’s gold operations in the DRC, the Byumba gold deposit lies within the Kibaran Metallogenic Province. Banro’s deposits form the north-northeast/south-southwest striking Twangiza Namoya Gold Belt. Deposits in this belt include Twangiza/Kamituga with a 6.9Moz au resource, Lugushwa 2.7Moz au resource and Namoya with a 1.7Moz au resource. The Byumba deposit lies 200km north east of Twangiza along the same trend and like Twangiza, gold mineralization is associated with a fold structure.
The Byumba Project is 20km north of the capital of Kigali and is easily accessible by tarred and gravel roads all year round. The topography of the permit areas is characterised by rugged hills with flat ground in some of the valleys. Valley sides can be very steep, especially in the south-western permit area. The elevation ranges from 1 000m to 2 000m.
Size of the permits
Desert Gold has an exploration permit in Rwanda that covers approximately 100,000 ha. The permit area is referred to as Byumba.