CENTRAL Asia Metals (CAM) is acquiring an 80% interest in the subsoil use contract for the Shuak copper exploration property in northern Kazakhstan from local company GRK-Aksu. CAM intends to invest US$2 million in exploration activities.

Shuak, which is in Akmola Oblast, about 300km north of the capital Astana and 40km northeast of the regional centre Stepnogorsk, has a Pre-GKZ (State Commission on Mineral Reserves) resource of 327,000 tonnes of contained copper at a grade of 0.66%. The licence area is 197sqkm and contains three target areas that warrant immediate and detailed exploration for copper and gold.

The property was explored between 1973 and 1991, with historic work including geochemistry, geophysics, trenching and drilling. During this time, more than 45,000 metres of diamond holes were drilled and resource estimation to historic Soviet standards was undertaken, which demonstrated a pre-GKZ resource at Mongol V, CAM’s priority copper oxide exploration target area.

In quarter two CAM intends to commence field-based exploration work, predominantly at Mongol V. During the 2017 exploration season, the company plans to design an 1800 metre trenching program and to undertake approximately 8000 metres of drilling at Mongol V and other priority areas. The 2017 exploration budget for Shuak is approximately US$1 million.

CAM business development director Gavin Ferrar said: “We are delighted to have agreed terms to acquire a majority stake in Shuak, which we have identified as an attractive opportunity given its location and economic prospects. We believe the project can be rapidly appraised to ascertain its copper oxide resource potential.

“Given our success to date at Kounrad, our initial target would be to develop another similar SX-EW operation at Shuak. Longer term, we also plan to explore the primary copper porphyry target at depth.”

During the 2016 September quarter CAM achieved record copper cathode production of 4102 tonnes from Kounrad, up from 2966 tonnes in the third quarter of 2015. This included record monthly production of 1503 tonnes during August. Production for the nine months ending September 30 was 11,010 tonnes, up by 31% on the 2015 period.

CAM says the Stage 2 Expansion was due to be completed in October, about 25% below budget. Leaching of copper from the Western Dumps will begin in the 2017 second quarter.

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