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Asanko Gold Inc
Symbol AKG
Shares Issued 201,829,207
Close 2017-02-23 C$ 4.00
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Asanko estimates Asanko P&P reserves at 4.82 Moz Au

2017-02-24 07:00 ET - News Release

Mr. Alex Buck reports

ASANKO GOLD UPDATED RESOURCE AND RESERVE STATEMENT

Asanko Gold Inc. has released an updated mineral resource and reserve estimate, as at Dec. 31, 2016, for the Asanko gold mine (AGM), located in Ghana, West Africa, as part of its annual filings. A technical presentation is also available on the Asanko website.

Highlights

  • Measured and indicated resources of 7.34 million ounces at 1.44 grams per tonne gold and inferred resources of 1.43 million ounces at 1.43 g/t Au, as at Dec. 31, 2016;
  • Mineral resource estimate includes updated constraining parameters, in line with best practice;
  • Proven and probable mineral reserves of 4.82 million ounces at 1.57 g/t Au, post-Nkran mining depletion of 270,471 ounces, representing no material change to the global reserve inventory;
  • Increased exploration program in highly prospective belt expected to add additional ounces in 2017.

The updated mineral resource and reserve estimates reflect depletion from the first two years of mining, the application of updated constraining parameters for resource modelling, and includes the three deposits discovered in 2016, Akwasiso, Nkran Extension and Adubiaso Extension, two additional pits at Esaase as well as an updated mineral resource estimate for the Nkran pit, which has been prepared by a second independent expert, CSA Global, a leading mineral consulting group.

            ASANKO GOLD MINE GLOBAL MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATE (MEASURED AND INDICATED)
 
                                                                Tonnes           Grade         Gold
                                                                   (Mt)        (g/t Au)        (Moz)

November, 2014, DPP resource (unconstrained pit shell)          144.26            1.71         7.94
Depleted December, 2016, DPP (with constraining parameters)     143.46            1.61         7.42
Updated December, 2016, MRE (with constraining parameters)      158.27            1.44         7.34

               ASANKO GOLD MINE GLOBAL MINERAL RESERVE ESTIMATE (PROVEN AND PROBABLE)
                  
                                                                Tonnes           Grade         Gold
                                                                   (Mt)        (g/t Au)        (Moz)

November, 2014, DPP reserve                                      97.10            1.68         5.24
December, 2016, DPP reserves based on depleted resources         91.48            1.68         4.94
December, 2016, reserves based on updated resources              95.41            1.57         4.82

Commenting on the announcement, Peter Breese, president and chief executive officer, said: "Our global gold reserves have remained largely unchanged at five million ounces, supported by the successful 2016 near-mine exploration program which added over 300,000 low-cost ounces to the mineral inventory, offsetting mining depletion. We are very excited by the exploration potential that the AGM complex holds and anticipate adding more ounces to our resource base during 2017 from a considerable list of near-mine high-priority targets.

"Our understanding of the complex Nkran mineralization continues to evolve as we mine deeper into the main ore zones. Although two respected independent experts have reached different conclusions regarding grades and tonnes of this complex orebody, the contained ounce profile remains very similar at a 0.5-gram-per-tonne cut-off. However, to be prudent, we have elected to use the more conservative CSA resource model for our corporate reporting, life of mine planning and future capital expenditure projects. As we start to develop and open up more pits, commencing with Dynamite Hill in second half 2017, the multipit nature of the AGM complex offers considerable flexibility and optionality through the life of the asset.

"We are advancing with the project 5M expansion, which will be funded from internal cash flows at current gold prices. Detailed engineering is progressing on schedule and all long lead items have been ordered. We expect to have the plant upgrade complete during second half 2017.

"The updated mineral resource and reserve estimate will now form the basis for a revised life of mine plan and multipit schedule, which is the final component of the expansion DFS. Due to the complexity in planning a schedule for 11 different pits and the detailed design process, we now anticipate publishing the expansion feasibility study in second quarter 2017. This will coincide with the completion of detailed engineering for the plant upgrade and the overland conveyor and an updated control budget estimate for all our growth projects."

CSA Global review

The new mineral resource estimate (MRE) for Nkran is the outcome of a third party external audit carried out by CSA, which was commissioned by the company in mid-2016. The scope of the review was for CSA to verify the modelling techniques applied by CJM Consulting to the original November, 2014, definitive project plan MRE (see press release dated Nov. 13, 2014) and to verify the company's grade control, mining, reconciliation methodology and the mine to metal accounting. The audit concluded that the MRE modelling methodology was appropriate for the style of mineralization at Nkran, and that the grade control, mining, reconciliation methodology and the mine to metal accounting that were implemented at the mine were excellent.

As part of the audit, CSA also reviewed the geological modelling of Nkran, given the complex nature of the structural controls associated with the Nkran mineralization. The Nkran pit gold mineralization is controlled by a combination of sandstone rock units enclosed by steep shear structures and a later crosscutting and shallow-dipping vein style of mineralization. The challenge for mineral resource estimation is the integration of the gold mineralization associated with both of these structures. CSA concurred with the company's geological interpretation and acknowledge the existence of the flat structures but downplay the contribution of gold from them into the block model.

CSA compiled the MRE for Nkran and Dynamite Hill, and reviewed the Esaase Main pit MRE and concurred with the CJM estimate. CJM compiled the MRE for all the other deposits.

Mineral resource estimate

The MRE has been updated as at Dec. 31, 2016, following two years of mining operations at the Nkran pit, infill drilling at the Dynamite Hill deposit, and the discovery and evaluation of the Akwasiso, Adubiaso Extension and Nkran Extension deposits.

In line with best practice, the AGM MRE has also been updated from previous mineral resources (using a 0.3 g/t Au waste determination and a 0.8 g/t Au cut-off) to mineral resources above a cut-off grade of 0.5 g/t Au within a $2,000-(U.S.)-per-ounce-gold pit shell. The resultant resource estimate is fully compliant with the intent of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum 2014 code (Canada) with respect to stating mineral resources that have a reasonable prospect of eventual economic extraction.

With regards to Nkran, the reserve has been depleted by 270,471 ounces during 2015 and 2016 due to mining operations through to the end of December, 2016. In addition, the application of the constraining parameters has resulted in a further 352,000-ounce reduction when compared with the original unconstrained November, 2014, DPP MRE. The MRE includes the grade control drilling data on a 10-metre by five m grid below the Dec. 31, 2016, pit floor.

Analysis was conducted using uniform conditioning, indicated kriging and ordinary kriging to align the mineral resource estimate methodology to reflect the reconciliation of production during 2016. The sensitivity of the indicated kriging method for ore zone delineation was analyzed in detail and the method confirmed to be appropriate for the Nkran style of mineralization.

During fourth quarter 2016, additional infill drilling was completed at Dynamite Hill, which increased the resource estimate from 110,000 ounces to 180,000 ounces.

The phase 1 drilling program at the Akwasiso deposit has provided the basis for an initial MRE. The company is currently completing a second phase of drilling (4,800 metres) which aims to upgrade the considerable inferred resource at this pit to an indicated classification. The results are expected in second half 2017.

There have been other incremental increases in the satellite pits due to an adjustment of Whittle input parameters such as an improved fuel price, mining and processing costs, process plant throughput, and gold recovery rates.

                    ASANKO MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATE 
                         (as at Dec. 31, 2016)       
  
Deposit              Measured           Indicated           Total (M&I)  
 
                 Mt  g/t Au   Moz     Mt  g/t Au  Moz     Mt  g/t Au  Moz

Esaase Main   26.64    1.37  1.17  65.50    1.37 2.89  92.14    1.37 4.06
Nkran          5.58    1.67  0.30  34.71    1.68 1.87  40.29    1.68 2.17
Abore          2.30    1.39  0.10   4.68    1.33 0.20   6.98    1.35 0.30
Dynamite Hill     -       -     -   3.80    1.45 0.18   3.80    1.45 0.18
Akwasiso          -       -     -   4.61    1.20 0.18   4.61    1.20 0.18
Adubiaso       0.83    2.35  0.06   1.57    1.89 0.10   2.40    2.05 0.16
Esaase D       0.97    1.09  0.03   1.35    1.39 0.06   2.33    1.26 0.09
Esaase B       0.87    0.99  0.03   2.21    0.76 0.05   3.08    0.82 0.08
Asuadai           -       -     -   1.97    1.21 0.08   1.97    1.21 0.08
Adubiaso Ext.  0.16    1.94  0.01   0.31    1.59 0.02   0.47    1.71 0.03
Nkran Ext.        -       -     -   0.20    2.61 0.02   0.20    2.61 0.02
Total         37.36    1.42 1.711  20.91    1.45 5.63 158.27    1.44 7.34

All pits are at a cut-off of 0.5 g/t Au within a 
$2,000-(U.S.)-per-ounce-gold pit shell. 
Nkran includes depletion of 5.08 million tonnes at 1.66 g/t Au for 
270,471 ounces. 
All figures are rounded to reflect appropriate levels of confidence. 
Apparent differences may occur due to rounding.                               
CSA Global undertook the MRE for Nkran and Dynamite Hill and reviewed 
the Esaase Main pit.                                                         
CJM undertook and completed updates to the MRE on Abore, Asuadai, 
Esaase B and D zones, Akwasiso, Adubiaso, Adubiaso Extension, and 
Nkran Extension.

        ASANKO MINERAL RESOURCE ESTIMATE
               (as at Dec. 31, 2016)

Deposit                             Inferred

                                 Mt  g/t Au  Moz

Esaase Main                    0.95    1.37 0.04
Nkran                          1.69    1.77 0.10
Abore                          5.37    1.44 0.25
Dynamite Hill                  1.19    1.43 0.05
Akwasiso                       3.85    1.56 0.19
Adubiaso                       0.30    1.98 0.02
Esaase D                       1.17    1.24 0.05
Esaase B                       2.46    0.84 0.07
Asuadai                        0.92    1.61 0.05
Adubiaso Ext.                  0.24    2.55 0.02
Nkran Ext.                     0.02    1.12 0.00
Total                         18.17    1.43 0.83

All pits are at a cut-off of 0.5 g/t Au within a
$2,000-(U.S.)-per-ounce-gold pit shell.
Nkran includes depletion of 5.08 million tonnes
at 1.66 g/t Au for 270,471 ounces.
All figures are rounded to reflect appropriate
levels of confidence.
Apparent differences may occur due to rounding.
CSA Global undertook the MRE for Nkran and
Dynamite Hill and reviewed the Esaase Main pit.
CJM undertook and completed updates to the MRE
on Abore, Asuadai, Esaase B and D zones,
Akwasiso, Adubiaso, Adubiaso Extension, and
Nkran Extension.

Mineral reserve estimate

The mineral reserve estimate (MRev) update process commenced with the depletion of the November, 2014, DPP MRev to the Nkran pit bottom, as at Dec. 31, 2016. Since the recommencement of mining operations at the Nkran pit in 2015, 5.08 million tonnes (Mt) of ore have been mined at a grade average of 1.66 g/t Au for a total of 270,471 ounces of gold.

The mining depletion of the 2014 November DPP MRev reduced the reserve ounces in Nkran from 2.2 million ounces to 1.9 million ounces over the last two years, resulting in a 14-per-cent reduction in the Nkran reserve base, although this translated to only a 6-per-cent reduction in global DPP reserves.

The reserves for Nkran have been updated based on the more conservative CSA resource model, which has impacted the size and strip ratio of the final Nkran pit. This updated MRev reduced the Nkran ounces from 1.9 million ounces to 1.47 million ounces, a reduction of 23 per cent. However, with the addition of new reserves for Akwasiso, Adubiaso Extension and Nkran Extension, as well as the reserves for Dynamite Hill, Abore and Asuadai, the global mineral reserves for the AGM complex have only been reduced by 2 per cent.

           ASANKO GOLD MINE GLOBAL MINERAL RESERVE ESTIMATE
                          (as at Dec. 31, 2016)

Deposit              Proven            Probable            Total

                Mt  g/t Au  Moz    Mt  g/t Au  Moz    Mt  g/t Au  Moz

Esaase Main   22.8    1.40 1.03  36.5    1.38 1.62 59.39    1.39 2.65
Nkran         3.96    1.98 0.25 18.57    2.04 1.22 22.53    2.03 1.47
Abore         1.35    1.62 0.07  1.77    1.70 0.01  3.12    1.66 0.17
Adubiaso      0.96    2.19 0.07  1.23    1.92 0.08  2.19    2.04 0.14
Dynamite Hill 0.00    0.00 0.00  2.62    1.60 0.13  2.62    1.60 0.13
Akwasiso      0.00    0.00 0.00  3.03    1.38 0.13  3.03    1.38 0.13
Asuadai       0.00    0.00 0.00  1.08    1.23 0.04  1.08    1.23 0.04
Nkran Ext.    0.24    1.98 0.02  0.26    1.79 0.01  0.50    1.88 0.03
Esaase D      0.20    1.05 0.01  0.40    1.70 0.02  0.62    1.50 0.03
Adubiaso Ext. 0.11    2.26 0.01  0.10    1.68 0.01  0.22    1.98 0.01
Esaase B      0.10    0.83 0.00  0.00    0.92 0.00  0.13    0.85 0.00
Total         29.8    1.52 1.45  65.6    1.60 3.37 95.41    1.57 4.82

Nkran includes depletion since February, 2015, of 5.08 Mt at 1.66 g/t
Au for 270,471 ounces.
Reserves exclude the run of mine stockpile of 1.52 Mt at 1.36 g/t Au
for 66,669 ounces and the marginal stockpile of 430,000 t at 0.67 g/t
Au for 9,121 ounces.
All pits are at a cut-off of 0.8 g/t Au, except Esaase Main, Esaase B
and D zones, which are at a cut-off of 0.6 g/t Au.
Reserves estimated at a $1,300-(U.S.)-per-ounce gold price.
All figures are rounded to reflect appropriate levels of confidence.
Apparent differences may occur due to rounding.
Only measured and indicated mineral resources were converted to
mineral reserves.

Expansion DFS update

The updated mineral resource and reserve estimate will now form the basis for a revised life of mine plan and multipit schedule, which is the final component of the expansion definitive feasibility study (DFS). The detailed designs on all the AGM pits are being updated using current actual mining costs, improved diesel prices and improved gold recovery rates. Integral to the redesign and multipit schedule is a cut-off grade optimization that is also being run to confirm the best NPV outcomes for each pit.

Due to the complexity in planning and scheduling 11 different pits and the associated optimization processes, the company now expects to publish the expansion DFS in Q2 2017.

Front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the plant upgrade and the overland conveyor from Esaase is progressing well and on schedule for completion in Q2 2017. Orders have been placed on all long-lead items and the plant upgrade to increase throughput to five million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) is anticipated to be installed and completed in second half 2017. The company is well positioned to finance project 5M from internal cash flow at a $1,250-(U.S.)-per-ounce gold price.

Qualified person statements

Malcolm Titley (CSA global principal geologist; AIG) is the qualified person for the sign-off of the Nkran and Dynamite Hill MRE. Charles J. Muller (BSc, geology (honours), PrSciNat, MGSSA, a director of CJM Consulting of Johannesburg, South Africa, is the qualified person for the sign-off of the Esaase Main, Esaase B and D zones, Abore, Adubiaso, Adubiaso Extension, Asuadai, Akwasiso, and Nkran Extension MRE. The MREv is reported in accordance with Canadian National Instrument 43-101 and the South African Code of Reporting of Exploration Results (SAMREC), which are consistent with the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum estimation best practice guidelines in Canada. Mr. Titley and Mr. Muller have reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release. Phil Bentley, Asanko executive, geology and resources (PrSciNat), is the Asanko qualified person under NI 43-101 guidelines who assumes technical responsibility for mineral resource contents of this news release.

The reserve statements were all prepared by Thomas Obiri-Yeboah, BSc, mining engineering (honours), PrEng, a senior mining engineer of DRA Mining of Johannesburg, South Africa. The reserve is reported in accordance with Canadian National Instrument 43-101 requirements, which is consistent with the CIM estimation best practice guidelines in Canada. Frederik Fourie, Asanko senior mine engineer (PrEng) is the Asanko qualified person under NI 43-101 who assumes responsibility for the mineral reserve contents of this news release. Mr. Obiri-Yeboah has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release.

About Asanko Gold Inc.

Asanko's vision is to become a mid-tier gold mining company that maximizes value for all its stakeholders. The company's flagship project is the multimillion-ounce Asanko gold mine located in Ghana, West Africa.

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