White Cliff Minerals has recently engaged mining consultants Optiro to complete a new JORC-compliant resource estimate for the Aucu Gold Project in the Kyrgyz Republic. The company expects the new estimate will be completed during March and will add to the existing resource of 1.2 million tonnes @ 4.2 g/t for 156,000 ounces of gold.
The existing resource starts at surface and has superb metallurgical characteristics with 88.6% of the gold reporting to the gravity concentrate and total recoverable gold of 99% via cyanide extraction. The current resource is also amenable to open pit mining.
The new resource estimate will incorporate the high grade gold mineralisation identified at the Quartz Zone in 2016.
Mineralisation starts at surface, extends over 300 metres long and down to 120 metres depth. The Quartz Zone contains substantial visible gold, both in outcrop at surface and in drill holes at depth.
Gold Mineralisation is still open in both directions and at depth and the company expects further drilling in 2017 to substantially expand the Quartz Zone.
White Cliff has submitted all mineralised intervals from the 2016 drilling program to the Bureau Veritas Perth laboratory for gold, copper and base metal assays. This analysis forms part of the standard quality assurance protocols associated with conducting JORC-compliant resource estimations.
In addition, the company has received bulk density results from drill hole ore samples (core and RC chips) that confirm the density used in the initial resource estimate. The density results are essential to enable inferred resources to be upgraded to the indicated category in future resource estimates.
In conjunction with the resource estimate the company is also conducting a substantial gold and copper metallurgical test work program to better outline potential processing options for the deposit. Provided the metallurgical test work produces the high gravity gold recoveries encountered in previous studies the company believes that a low cost simple gravity plant could allow the project to provide substantial cash flow within a short time frame.
Experienced mining consultant Dr Evan Kirby has been retained to oversee the compilation of mining study parameters for the upcoming mining optimisation study. Initially he will assist with establishing the appropriate process scale based on the upcoming metallurgical costs followed by detailed costing for plant, infrastructure and operations.
Following the resource estimate a preliminary open pit mining optimisation study using these mining parameters will be conducted to establish the baseline economics of the project, to form part of an application for a mining licence and to assist with optimising future drill programs.
Exploration planning for 2017 is well advanced with the bulk of planned drilling focusing on extensions to the existing mineralisation. The company also plans several new tracks that will cut across the Lower Gold Zone (LGZ) south of the Quartz Zone where several outcropping quartz reefs have mineralised rock chip assay results.