Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Dan Gertler’s Moku-Beverendi gold project in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo may contain as much as 5 million ounces of the metal, his Fleurette Group said.
Moku-Beverendi, which borders Randgold Resources Ltd. and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.’s Kibali Gold project, is a joint venture between Fleurette’s Basel, Switzerland-based Moku Goldmines AG and Sokimo, a state-owned gold miner. Kibali may eventually produce 550,000 ounces annually, according to Randgold’s website. The $1.73 billion project has 11 million ounces of reserves and 21 million in resources, the Jersey-based company says.
“Moku-Beverendi has the potential to contain a world-class deposit just as the Kibali Gold project does,” Fleurette said in an e-mailed statement today. “The analysis shows the potential for almost 5 million ounces of gold at a range of average grades up to 6.25 grams” per metric ton.
Congo officially exported 78,351 ounces of gold last year, according to Mines Ministry statistics. Production is set to rise this year after Kibali Gold began output in September and with Toronto-based Banro Corp.’s Twangiza project targeting more than 100,000 ounces.
Congo plans to industrialize its gold industry to increase revenue, improve control and end smuggling. Illicit trading in gold has helped fuel years of conflict in eastern Congo.
Geosearch-SENEX Group, based in Johannesburg, performed the first exploration phase for Moku, and the second phase will begin in January, Fleurette said.
The company, based in the Netherlands and held for the benefit of Gertler’s family trust, acquired Moku Goldmines in 2011 through a subsidiary and now holds a 97 percent stake, according to the statement. Moku delisted from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in December 2012, a spokesman for Fleurette said by e-mail.
Moku Gold holds 65 percent of the Moku-Beverendi project and may invest a total of $51 million by the end of 2014, when it expects to have a certifiable inferred resource figure, according to Fleurette.
Gertler, an Israeli, began trading Congolese diamonds in 1997, and has since expanded his investments to include copper, cobalt, and oil. He is partners with Glencore Xstrata Plc in their Katanga Mining and Mutanda copper projects in Congo and is currently worth $3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires index.
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