The Antino Gold Project is a resource definition stage gold exploration project located in southeastern Suriname, within the Guiana Shield Gold Belt (Figure 1). The project is approximately 275 km from the capital city of Paramaribo and is accessible by air to the Antino Camp airstrip or by barge along the Maroni/Lawa River bordering French Guiana. The 238 square kilometer property holds Rights to the Exploitation of Gold (Suriname mining titles), and all necessary permits for exploration, drilling, and mining have been obtained.
Figure 1- Map of the Guiana Shield showing the location of major gold deposits and occurrences
The Project covers a significant area of alluvial and small-scale saprolite open pit gold mining with ~500,000 oz of reported gold production to date1. Alluvial gold was first discovered in the Antino area in 1891, with small-scale open pit mining operations commencing in 1999. The current and historical mining is mainly in two areas known as the Upper Antino and Buese camps, where open pit operations are limited to the weathered saprolite layer. The ongoing permitted mining activity in the area provides significant infrastructure and support for exploration and drilling programs. Local operators can provide already on-site accommodations, communications, exploration equipment, heavy machinery, and personnel resulting in very cost effective future exploration work by Founders Metals.
Figure 2- map of the Antino Gold Property, showing areas of known gold mineralization
Past exploration on the property was conducted by Canadian junior exploration companies from 1993-97 and 2006-08, with over 32,000 meters of combined drilling. Initial exploration work completed by the vendors of the option agreement to Founders includes, a complete GIS compilation of historical exploration and drilling data, an airborne high-resolution LiDAR topographic and orthophoto survey, reprocessing the 1994 airborne geophysical survey data, and geological/structural mapping of the gold mineralized zones exposed in open pits and core re-logging. This recent data compilation and exploration work has provided Founders with a comprehensive dataset for planning future drilling focused on expanding the known gold mineralization and testing other highly prospective targets on the property. The acquisition of the Antino gold project by Founders represents rare turn-key exploration project with significant upside potential in one of the most prospective gold jurisdictions in the world.
The Antino Gold Project is in southeast Suriname, in the heart of the Guiana Shield. This underexplored region is home to numerous world-class gold deposits with combined gold resources of over 110 million ounces. Regionally extensive greenstone belts (Figure 1) consisting of metamorphosed volcanic and sedimentary rocks variably intruded by granitic bodies, host most of the Guiana Shield’s gold deposits. In Suriname, the gold-rich greenstones extend throughout much of northeast and east portions of the country. The Marowijne Group volcano-sedimentary stratigraphy that underlies the Antino Project is a well-known host of major gold deposits in the region including, Suriname’s Rosebel mine (22.1 M oz1), and the Yaou gold deposit (1.63 M oz2) located less than 10 km from Antino across the Suriname-French Guyana boarder.
The Marowijne Group rocks at Antino consist of an arcuate package of amphibolite, andesite, chlorite-sericite schist, metagraywacke, siltstone, and tonalitic intrusions crosscut by several regional-scale shear zones3. These shears make ideal fluid pathways for transporting gold-laden fluids from depth and are an important control on mineralization at Antino. These shear structures commonly contain high-grade, gold-bearing quartz and quartz-carbonate vein systems and local quartz breccias surrounded by lower grade halos. Where they cut intermediate intrusive rocks, mineralization is more widespread making these bodies excellent moderate to high-grade bulk-tonnage targets.
The property’s most prominent structural feature is the kilometer scale Antino Shear Zone (Figure 3) that transects the Upper Antino and Buese gold camps. Gold mineralization along this structure is commonly linked to abundant higher-order faults or splays off the main structure providing substantial opportunity for new discoveries along strike. The Antino Shear Zone has been the focus of artisanal mining operations for over 100 years, yet it has seen only limited systematic historical exploration. Founders 2023 exploration plans include, abundant boots-on-the-ground exploration work, a high-resolution magnetics survey to better define the known mineralization and to support targeting for subsequent drilling.
Figure 3- Plan map of regional scale strucutral corridor and near surface mineralization as idenitified by auger sampling grid
Under the Letter Agreement, Orea agreed to assign (the "Assignment") and the Company agreed to accept the assignment of all of Orea's rights and obligations under the Option Agreement, subject to approval of the Exchange, in consideration for payment of $1,000,000 (the "Purchase Price") to Orea to be satisfied by:
(a) payment of $250,000 in cash upon signing of the Letter Agreement;
(b) on the earlier of January 31, 2023 or upon completion of the Assignment (the "Closing"), payment of $500,000 by issuance of common shares of FDR ("FDR Shares") at a price of $0.50 per FDR Share, which shall be subject to a four-month statutory hold period in accordance with the policies of the Exchange and applicable securities laws; and
(b) payment of $250,000 in cash on the earlier of Closing or December 31, 2022.
The Closing and issuance of FDR Shares in satisfaction of payment of the Purchase Price (the "Consideration Shares") shall be subject to the policies of the Exchange and applicable securities laws, and such Consideration Shares shall be subject to a four-month statutory hold in accordance with applicable securities laws. There are no finder’s fees in respect of the proposed Option acquisition or related transactions, and the Company is arm's length to each of Orea, Nana and Lawa. The Closing of the Assignment shall occur on the date following receipt of Exchange approval for the Assignment on or before March 31, 2023.
The Option to acquire up to 75% ownership of the Project and become operator of the Project under the Letter Agreement and Option Agreement is completed in three stages:
First Option Stage – 51% Ownership Interest
Option to acquire an initial 51% interest in the Project within three years of the Commencement Date by:
- making cash payments totaling US$1,650,000, of which only US$350,000 is payable within the first year;
- issuing common shares of the Company having a value of CAD$323,000 (of which CAD$95,000 may be settled in cash);
- incurring a minimum of US$6,000,000 in exploration expenses; and
- completing a geological technical report prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101—Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"), containing a minimum of 500,000 oz Au in any category.
Second Option Stage – Additional 19% for a 70% Total Interest
Option to acquire an additional 19% interest in the Project, for a total of 70% within two years of completion of the First Option Stage by:
- making cash payments totaling US$1,500,000;
- issuing common shares of the Company having a value of CAD$19,000;
- incurring a minimum of US$10,000,000 in exploration expenses; and
- completing a preliminary economic assessment technical report prepared in accordance with NI 43-101.
In the event that the Company does not proceed with the completion of the Second Option Stage, the Company will transfer its interest in the Project back to the optionor.
Third Option Stage – Additional 5% for a 75% Total Interest
Option to acquire an additional 5% in the Project, for a total of 75%, within three years of completion of the Second Option Stage by:
- incurring a minimum of US$10,000,000 in exploration expenses; and
- completing a bankable feasibility study technical report prepared in accordance with NI 43-101.
Upon successful earn-in of the Project, the Company and the optionor, Nana, will form a joint venture with the objective of accelerating the project into commercial production.
Michael Dufresne, M.Sc., P.Geol., P.Geo., is a qualified person under National Instrument 43-101—Standards for Disclosure of Mineral Projects, and has reviewed, approved, and verified the scientific and technical information contained herein
1) IAMGOLD Press release Feb 23, 2022 https://www.iamgold.com/English/investors/news-releases/news-releases-details/2022/IAMGOLD-Reports-2021-Attributable-Reserves-of-12.4-Million-Ounces-and-Attributable-MI-Resources-of-22.1-Million-Ounces/default.aspx
2) Combes, V., Eglinger, A., André-Mayer, A. S., Teitler, Y., Heuret, A., Gibert, P., & Béziat, D. (2022). Polyphase gold mineralization at the Yaou deposit, French Guiana. Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 516(1), SP516-2020. New Sleeper Gold Technical report, Antino Gold Project
3) Fleming, A. (2006). (tech.). Technical Report Antino Gold Project Suriname, South America (pp. 12–13).