A $1.6 million first stage exploration program at the Normanby property is under way as a joint business venture between Silver Ridge Resources and NMC Mining Corporation. Normanby is about 325km east of Port Moresby and 65km northeast of Alotau in the Milne Bay Province.

The project is in the central part of Normanby Island, taking in the volcanic belt known as the ‘Rim of Fire’, which hosts a number of world-class gold deposits. The site’s major mineral zone is the Imwauna vein system.

Initial exploration work by the joint venture has stepped up in recent months. The exploration licence covering the site has had a number of owners in the past 20 years. Historic sampling and geological surveys from as far back as the 1970s show trenching results in the soil anomaly included 156 metres @ 2.43 grams/tonne gold and 72 metres @ 2.34 grams/tonne gold.

A small crew was taken to Normanby Island last December to refurbish the camp and equipment at the site. Most of the infrastructure and equipment required extensive maintenance before it could be put back into service. An office and workshop have been leased in Alotau on the mainland. The camp was upgraded and expanded to accommodate up to 60 staff, and maintenance facilities were also constructed for company and contractor equipment.

Diamond drilling by two rigs in April and May saw 11 holes totalling 1150 metres on the Imwauna deposit. This first phase of drilling is adding to the existing drill information and extending the depth of known mineralization below 100 metres vertically. It will also allow the collection of samples for metallurgical testing.

An extensive trenching program along the surface projection of the Imwauna deposit has been carried out concurrently with the drilling. There were 78 trenches excavated, or in some cases, re-opened. The mineralized veins were mapped and identified for sampling. Asia Pacific Surveys will carry out the survey control.

NMC’s chief operating officer Colin McKenzie says, “The filing statement for the proposed business combination between us and Silver Ridge has been finalized but is subject to a number of conditions. The completion of due diligence and the majority approval of shareholders are required before the proposed acquisition can be finalized. A new management team has been named for the combined company which will be known as PNG Gold Corporation.”

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