Fleurette Group (Fleurette) announces that Société Minière de Moku-Beverendi (SMB) has entered into a new joint venture agreement with Randgold Resources (Randgold) relating to the Moku-Beverendi licence areas which it has been exploring for mineral deposits since 2011.

Moku-Beverendi covers 1,270 square kilometres in the remote north eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and adjoins areas currently being developed as part of the Kibali Gold Project by Randgold and AngloGold Ashanti.

SMB is jointly owned by the Fleurette Group Company, Moku Goldmines and SOKIMO, the DRC state-owned mining company, who own 65% and 35% respectively and to date Moku has invested over $51 million in the project.

As previously announced, early phases of exploration identified several mineralised targets which have the potential for open pit and/or underground mining.

More recently, SMB and Moku have been looking for a world-class major gold-miner, with experience of operational activities in the DRC, and specifically with SOKIMO, to take over the exploration programme and increase the likelihood of discovering a viable project as soon as possible.

Moku and SMB are delighted to welcome Randgold as its new partner in this project, and look forward to the recommencement of the exploration activities in earnest.

Randgold already focuses on the discovery of world class orebodies within the major greenstone belts of West and Central Africa and will be starting an exploration programme on the Moku-Beverendi concession as soon as possible.

Under the terms of the agreement, Randgold will earn a 51% stake in the project following successful exploration and the completion of a pre-feasibility study, and will make certain pre-agreed "success" payments to SOKIMO at such time. If no such pre-feasibility study is undertaken then the ownership remains as it is today.

The implementation of the new joint venture terms will allow the parties to increase employment and expenditure in the area, a further expression of Fleurette’s commitment to contributing to the economic and social development of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Alongside its exploration investment, SMB has invested in a number of local community projects as part of Fleurette’s commitment to investing in social projects in the DRC and this programme of social investment will continue.

Dan Gertler, Senior Advisor to Fleurette said, "Since we acquired the licences in 2011, we have invested significant sums in exploring the concession and believe Moku-Beverendi has the potential to be a world-class asset.

"We are delighted to now be working alongside Randgold who will bring their unparalleled knowledge and expertise to this project and take it to the next stage of development. This commitment from both Fleurette and Randgold shows the potential of the DRC and successful exploration here will benefit the country in terms of employment and revenues for the Government."