The area of the Tien Shan gold belt in southern Kyrgyzstan that includes the Shambesai project.
The area of the Tien Shan gold belt in southern Kyrgyzstan that includes the Shambesai project.

THE environmental and social impact process (OVOS) for Manas Resources’ Shambesai Gold Project has been approved by the Kyrgyz State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry. The OVOS is the main environmental approval required for Shambesai to proceed through to production.

“Award of the OVOS further demonstrates the company’s capacity to deliver on its commitments and shows it is possible for us to work successfully with the regulatory authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic,” says Manas’ managing director Stephen Ross.

“This is the first new major gold mine to complete the OVOS process for some time and achieving this result is a credit to our in‐country team who have put in a significant effort to achieve this result. We look forward to maintaining this momentum in regards to remaining permitting, project financing and ultimately gold production.”

Manas is now working on approval of final permits to commence construction, including the Sanitary Protection Zone (SPZ), a buffer zone required under local legislation for all industrial facilities with approval anticipated to be completed by late July.

The other ongoing permitting activity relates to the technical designs of the mine and process plant facilities, and technical and safety reviews for the mine and plant which are required before a construction permit is issued. Work is well advanced on completion of these activities and all are expected to be completed in the third quarter to allow construction to start this year.

Manas also advises that discussions regarding financing the capital requirements for the low‐cost, high-margin Shambesai project have progressed to an advanced stage with a number of banks and institutions. The issue of the OVOS permit is another major milestone in the financing process.

A bankable feasibility study was released for Shambesai in May 2013 which confirmed the original concept of the April 2012 definitive feasibility study. The latter demonstrated Shambesai as a low-cost, high-margin, technically simple gold project which can be commissioned in a relatively short time frame for a low capital cost.

The area that hosts Shambesai and Obdilla was geologically mapped in the Soviet era and explored using heavy concentrate sampling. The nearby historic Chauvei mercury-antimony deposit was in production from 1939 until the early 1990s.

In 2005 Perseus Mining Kyrgyzstan, which would be listed as Manas Resources in 2008, first drilled at Chauvei but soon focused on gold 3.5km away at Obdilla prospect. Obdilla’s resource is estimated at 9.2 million tonnes @ 1.6 grams/tonne for 485,000 ounces. In late 2007 a gold stream sediment anomaly 7km south of Obdilla at Shambesai led to a successful soil, trench and drill program. The last Shambesai JORC resource estimate resulted in 8.066 million tonnes @ 2.69 grams/tonne for 697,000 ounces.

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