Loncor Resources (TSX-V: LN) is a Toronto, Ontario-based company that holds exclusive rights to two historically gold producing areas in the northeast section of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), near the borders of Uganda and Sudan. Loncor was founded in November of 2008 by Arnold Kondrat, Loncor’s current Vice President.
At Loncor, CEO Peter Cowley directs his second company that was founded by Loncor V.P. Arnold Kondrat. The pair were previously matched at Banro Corporation between 2004 and 2008 where they identified properties with 17 million ounces of gold in Tanzania and 12 million ounces in Loncor’s area of focus of the DRC. Cowley joined Cluff Resources in 1989 as Technical Director. During this period he was a key player in the establishment of the Ayanfuri mine in Ghana and the Geita mine in Tanzania. Upon Cluff’s acquisition by Ashanti in 1996, Cowley was appointed Managing Director of Ashanti Exploration, a role that had him prominently placed in all Ashanti’s African operations. Mr. Cowley held that role until he moved to Banro in 2004. Cowley also serves as a Director of Loncor and of Cluff Resources.
Arnold Kondrat is Loncor’s Executive Vice President and a Director of the company. The Banco and Loncor founder has more than two decades of experience in corporate finance. He also serves as President and Managing Director of Sterling Portfolio Securities Inc., a private venture capital firm situated in Toronto.
Exploration Manager Howard Fall is a professional geologist who knows Africa well, given his three plus decades of work across the continent. Fall also worked with Cowley and Kondrat at Banro and served in similar roles with Anglogold Ashanti and Gencor.
Loncor’s primary focus is Ngayu, a site covering 2, 087 square kilometres of Orientale Province , which is 270 kilometres north of Kisangani. Ngayu contains parts of the Ngayu greenstone belt, which has already revealed several significant gold deposits. The top two areas are Makapela and Yindi, with Itali and Anguluku also worth noting.
The region containing Loncor’s properties has seen surprising little exploration over the last 60 years. Given that the area has a past production record, Loncor hopes to generate significant yields through a combination of old-fashioned elbow grease and by using modern technology. Armed with analyses showing many geological similarities between Ngayu and the Geita belt in Tanzania that was barely a quarter of Ngayu’s size but which yielded more tha 20 million ounces of gold, (which Cowley also oversaw) Loncor started out with gridding, pitting, trenching, mapping, core drilling and sampling.
The next step was to utilize BLEG, a proprietary technology developed by a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corporation, a company with a 17% equity stake in Loncor. Standing for Bulk Leach Extractable Gold, BLEG involves sampling stream sediment to generate rapid and highly accurate results. It has generated solid results at Ngayu and Loncor credits it with allowing an acceleration of the project timetable.
Loncor also used airborne geophysical and remote sensing techniques. These tools were credited with allowing Loncor to drop is option size from an initial 4,550 square kilometres to the current 2,087 square kilometres they are concentrating on.
The much larger of Loncor’s two properties is North Kivu, a series of 55 permits Loncor either controls or owns outright. Located in North Kivu Province, the permits collectively cover 17,760 square kilometres and are located between the Twangiza-Namoya and Kilo Moto gold belts-. Like Ngayu, North Kivu, which is located west of the city of Butembo, has a history of production, with a past alluvial total of more than 300,000 ounces. Loncor is confident that the combination of methods that proved so successful at Ngayu will yield similar results at the much larger North Kivu site. To date initial efforts have already identified several locations with primary gold mineralization. In addition to gold, exploration at North Kivu has also revealed deposits of alluvial platinum, niobium, tungsten, and rare earth elements.
Loncor has 100% of the gold rights with the DRC government claiming a 5% free carry and a 2.5% sales royalty at the production stage, as per the 2003 Mining Code.
Analysts should pay close attention to news coming from Loncor, as they have yet to reveal all results from an assertive 2012 drilling campaign of 20,000 metres. These results will play a big role in whatever growth Loncor sees in the near future.