Sunridge Gold (CVE:SGC) said Thursday that the initial drill program at its Besakoa copper-zinc-gold project in Madagascar has now begun.
The program, which will consist of 5,000 metres of diamond drilling, will focus on nine targets that were identified during exploration work last year.
The Vancouver-based base and precious metals explorer said that the geological environment at Besakoa has "strong similarities" to its Asmara project in Eritrea, where the company has been successful in defining large amounts of copper, zinc and gold in a series of volcanogenic-massive-sulphide (VMS) deposits.
As such, Sunridge believes that the Besakoa project may represent a new emerging VMS district. VMS deposits are a type of metal sulfide ore deposit created by volcanic-associated events in submarine environments, and are a significant source of the world's copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver ores.
"We are very happy that the initial drill program at Besakoa has started," said the company's exploration manager, David Daoud.
"We are eager to drill test the nine high-priority targets as they look very similar to VMS deposits on the company's Asmara Project and Nevsun's Bisha Project in Eritrea."
The Besakoa property covers over 60 square kilometers and is located in south central Madagascar, and can be accessed by road from the port city of Toliara.
Sunridge, which has about $18 million of cash in the bank, can earn a 100% interest in the project from the license holder Majescor Resources, in exchange for cash, exploration spending, and shares.