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Aurum Resources puts Tietto Minerals band back together for new African play

From left, Aurum Resources managing director Dr Caigen Wang, country manager Yao N’Kanza and exploration manager Yaya Ouattara. Credit: File

Aurum Resources (ASX: AUE) has reassembled part of the management team that helped establish Tietto Minerals’ (ASX: TIE) Abujar gold mine in West Africa to drive the development of its new Boundiali operation in Côte d’Ivoire.

The company has named Yao N’Kanza – affectionately known as “Fred” – as country manager, reuniting him with former Tietto workmates Caigen Wang (managing director) and Yaya Ouattara (exploration manager) in a bid to expedite Aurum’s project and business development initiatives.

The trio spent a combined 33 years with Tietto and its Abujar project that grew from a grassroots operation to a resource of 3.8 million gold ounces before going into production last year. That company, which has become a takeover target for Chinese giant Zhaojin Mining, now has a market cap of $762.68 million.

Based in Abidjan, the former capital of Côte d’Ivoire, N’Kanza has more than 15 years’ experience in gold exploration and project development in the West African nation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Côte d’Ivoire and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Helsinki in Finland.

In his previous role with Bamba & Fred Minerals, he helped secure that company’s first exploration licence in 2014, which was explored by Tietto. Aurum says N’Kanza’s decade-long service as country manager at Tietto has equipped him with a strong work ethic and significant industry experience.

His expertise will bring to the company experience in environmental study and approval, mining convention negotiation and conclusion, land acquisition for mine construction and all permitting tasks for gold production and exportation from Côte d’Ivoire.

Fred’s impressive track record in mineral exploration, project study and development, ESG program design and implementation, and gold mine construction in Côte d’Ivoire is invaluable. His arrival at Aurum, especially at this stage of rapid growth, bolsters our confidence in developing the Boundiali Gold Project swiftly and efficiently.
Aurum Resources managing director Dr Caigen Wang

Wang said the company had a strong financial platform to help it launch into more resource definition drilling at Boundiali following a recent $7 million capital raise, with plans to increase its drilling capacity to 4000m a month. Management recently committed to buying a third, more powerful diamond rig to bolster its drill fleet and he was confident it would soon help define new targets at the project’s BD and BM tenements.

Aurum has completed 82 diamond holes across its Boundiali tenements, covering 13,835m since drilling began back in October last year. More than 4000 core samples are at the laboratory, with assay results expected in the coming weeks.

Just last week, the company recorded high-grade gold hits up to 45 grams per tonne from scout drilling at just the second target to be tested at its Boundiali project. Diamond drilling designed to test a 1.7km-by-1km gold prospect revealed solid initial results, with a 6m section going 9.95g/t gold from 165m including 2m at 28.9g/t from 169m.

The appointment of N’Kanza to the country manager role is a sign of the continued growth of the promising gold operation as Aurum targets a maiden resource at Boundiali before the end of the year.

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