Exploration games

Paul Boughton

Covering the latest stories from the exploration sector, Jon Lawson reports on who is mining what – and where

Perth, Australia-based ABM Resources has completed the latest stage of its exploration of the Buccaneer Porphyry Gold Project (part of the Twin Bonanza Gold Project) in Australia’s Northern Territory. From the drill core samples analysed, cyanide-leaching test work on oxide and transition samples suggested a 96.3% gold extraction based on 106µm grind in a 24-hour cyanide leach.

Darren Holden, ABM managing director says, “These preliminary metallurgical tests on core samples show some excellent extractions both for conventional milling with cyanide leaching as well as for bulk tonnage heap-leach tests. This work, along with recent drilling in the near surface, has reinvigorated efforts at Buccaneer and we look forward to more detailed scoping of the economics on this large scale gold project.”

The company, which is 100% owner of the Buccaneer Porphyry Gold Project, believes that metal is located from the surface to a depth of around 120m. Testing was undertaken from three composite HQ drill core samples representing oxide to oxide/fresh transition material.

At the time of going to press, ABM is considering selective mining of higher-grade zones, large scale conventional processing or large-scale heap-leach.

Nickel in range

Nickel seeker Apollo Minerals is continuing the exploration of its Fraser Range Project in Western Australia. Multiple areas across the site are of interest, but two, the Plato and Oceanus prospects, look especially appealing. At Plato, a drilling project last year found intersected magmatic nickel sulphides of up to 3m at 0.4% Ni and 0.1% Cu. Local rock conditions unfortunately are fairly resistive and dominated by meta-igneous rock types.

The Western Australia government is committing Aus$150,000 to the Oceanus site. Ground-based high-powered EM, RAB and RC/diamond core drilling to test bedrock geochemistry, lithology, weathering and depth to basement is to start immediately. The company hopes technology developed here will enhance future drill programmes looking to identify major nickel sulphide bedrock conductors to a depth of more than 500m below surface. Apollo says all other target areas are to be explored when time allows.

Berkeley hunts for uranium

Uranium exploration specialist Berkeley Energy has announced progress at its flagship Salamanca Project in central Spain. The project consists of several main sites, Retortillo, Alameda, Zona 7 and Gambuta, plus a small number of additional satellite sites. A proposal has been put forward to create a processing plant at Retortillo. 

A Definitive Feasibility Study ('DFS') is now underway, and resource drilling, metallurgical test work and hydrogeological studies are ongoing.

At the Zona 7 site, 39 test holes were drilled, and quality intersections were found from 7m, with thicknesses up to 40m. At 5m there was a recording of 1,800 ppm U3O8.

The company estimates there is 3.3 million pounds of U3O8 due for extraction over seven years of steady state operation.

Based on the results, the company Board has decided to proceed with the necessary permitting to incorporate this project into its wider plans.

Financial instrument

Atlantic Gold Corporation from Vancouver in British Columbia has lodged a National Instrument 43-101 Feasibility Study Technical Report with the Canadian Securities Administration (CSA).

The Report concerns the company’s Moose River Consolidated Gold Project (known as the MRC Project), located in Nova Scotia, where independent experts Ausenco Engineering Canada examined two of the firm’s four ventures, Touquoy and Beaver Dam.

Steven Dean, Atlantic’s Chairman and CEO comments, “Since the acquisition of the Nova Scotian gold properties in 2014, we have fast-tracked the development of the MRC project through to the financing stage with the delivery of a strong feasibility study. The study includes the design of a central processing facility at Touquoy, which was first designed in 2010, and now completed on a co-development basis of the Touquoy and Beaver Dam deposits. As such, the company believes the design is well optimised and is confident in its estimates to support the economic analysis within the study. The results of the feasibility study serve to reinforce the project’s viability in a mining friendly jurisdiction, with continued support from local stakeholders and government. These economics, together with the potential production upside from its wholly owned nearby deposits of Cochrane Hill and Fifteen Mile Stream make the MRC Project the premier gold mining project in the modern era of mining in the province.”

The company has estimated that there is total of 714,000 oz, which it intends to remove over a nine-year period.

Copper Altona

Altona Mining is claiming to have extended the potential life of its Little Eva mine in Queensland after completing an optimisation study on a newly discovered deposit.

Altona Managing Director Alistair Cowden comments, “This study demonstrates that mine life at Little Eva will easily exceed 11 years and that the mining and treatment of the copper oxide mineralisation through the proposed Little Eva plant, even at low recoveries, could add significant value to the project.”

Metallurgical testing has now been completed on sulphide mineralisation. Altona believes the project will likely develop into a joint venture with Sichuan Railway Investment Group.

Finally, Unity Mining’s Henty Gold Mine in Tasmania has results in from a new area.

Unity managing director Andrew McIlwain says, “These new and additional results provide us with significant encouragement as we see the mineralisation in this hanging wall position starting to build. This new intersection is 30m north of the mineralisation previously reported and the lens is open to the north and down-plunge to the south.

“Follow up drilling will be conducted shortly, in addition to targeting extensions to the Read Zone, the Tear-Away Zone, and the largely untested Collar Zone under the $5 million earn-in agreement with the PYBAR Group.”

Going for gold

Beadell Resources has new results from its Tucano gold mine in Brazil. The discovery, dubbed Neo Lode, remains completely open at depth and along strike with the northern most hole intersecting 12 m at 4.7 g/t gold.

Extra drill results have been received from a further four diamond holes that show good continuity over a strike length in excess of 500m.

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