Sunridge Gold Corp. (CVE:SGC)(OTCQX:SGCNF) said Thursday that it has started an exploration drilling program on several prospective targets at its Asmara project in Eritrea, sending shares up over nine percent.
One reverse circulation drill has started on gold exploration targets located on the Medrizien license, the company said, with one diamond drill expected to start drilling on the Adi Rassi target in the southern part of the Debarwa license within three weeks.
The drills are expected to complete roughly 12,000 metres of drilling over the next four to six weeks, Sunridge said.
The first planned drill targets are a series of four, sub-parallel gold mineralized shear zones, which can be followed over strike lengths of 1,000 metres to several kilometres in length, and 50 to 200 metres in width on the western part of the Medrizien exploration license.
The company said that many of these zones have been mined by Italian colonists by both open-pit and underground methods, including the Hara Hot zone which was the largest single open-pit seen on the Asmara project.
Sunridge mapped and sampled parts of the four zones ahead of the drilling program, with a total of 450 rock chip and grab samples taken. Of these, 72 returned gold assays greater than 1 gram per tonne (g/t), including 16 samples with over 5 g/t.
The best gold values were seen at 68 g/t gold in a grab sample, and 15.9 g/t gold over 2 metres in a rock chip sample.
Meanwhile, at the Debarwa license on the eastern side, a newly discovered gold mineralized shear zone, known as Adi Kubulo, will be drilled. The zone can be traced for several kilometres, with an average width of about 80 metres.
At the area, 102 rock chip and grab samples were taken so far, with assays pending, Sunridge said.
On the southern part of the Debarwa license, the Adi Rassi prospect will be the first target drilled by the diamond rig, with the target located just 10 kilometres southeast of the Debarwa deposit.
Adi Rassi is associated with a north trending shear zone about 600 metres long and averages 70 metres wide, mineralized with copper and gold.
"Management believes that Adi Rassi could be a potentially large new copper and gold discovery based on earlier drilling results such as AR-002D: 84 metres with an average grade of 1.32 g/t gold and 0.84% copper; AR-003D: 25 metres with an average grade of 0.75 g/t gold; and 0.54% copper and AR-004D: 78 metres with an average grade of 0.22 g/t gold and 1.0% copper," Sunridge said in a statment Thursday.
Results from the 12,000 metre drill program are expected within two months.
Sunridge is a mineral exploration and development company that aside from Asmara, also has exploration properties in Madagascar.
In January, the company said it expects a feasibility study for the Debarwa copper-zinc-gold-silver deposit at Asmara in the first quarter of this year, which will examine the potential for a stand-alone open-pit mine and process plant at the deposit over a seven year mine life.
The other deposits at Asmara, collectively referred to as the Asmara North project area, include the copper-zinc-gold-silver Emba Derho deposit, the zinc-gold-copper Adi Nefas deposit, and the Gupo gold deposit.
Updated resources estimates for each of these deposits are expected within the first two months of this year. A pre-feasibility study for Emba Derho is expected for the second quarter of 2012, with a full feasibility study to follow.
Shares of the company were up 9.3 percent to 59 cents as of 11:37am ET.