White Cliff Minerals has received a new JORC-compliant inferred resource estimate for the Aucu Gold Project in the Kyrgyz Republic. The resource has increased by 93% and now stands at 1.8 million tonnes grading 5.2 g/t gold for 302,000 ounces of gold.

As well as the increased resource, which was calculated using a lower cut-off grade of 1 g/t, there has been a 23% increase in average grade over the previous resource reported in April 2015.

The new resource contains a very high grade zone, the Quartz Zone, of 244,000 tonnes at 9.5 g/t gold containing 75,000 ounces of gold, which starts at surface. Surface extensions of the high grade Quartz Zone have been identified and will be drilled in the coming field season.

This latest estimate also identified a new inferred copper resource, using a lower cut of grade of 0.25% copper, of 608,000 tonnes at 0.64% copper, containing 3,870 tonnes of copper.

The new resources start at surface, have only been drilled to 100 metres vertical depth and remain open along strike and at depth.

The reported gold resources represent less than 5% of mineralised faults identified by rock-chip sampling to date. Approximately 95% of the mineralised faults identified by rock chip sampling are still to be drilled. The gold bearing mineralised structures extend beyond the current resource estimate area over a length greater than 3000 metres and occur as multiple lodes.

Managing director Todd Hibberd said, “The company is very pleased to announce that its inferred gold resource has almost doubled from its recent drill program which combined with a significant lift in the average grade of the defined resource is a clear indication of the enormous potential of the Aucu project.

“The current gold resource outcrops at surface and has only been drilled to 100 metres depth. The high grade encountered in the deeper holes indicates that mineralisation will continue at depth. Gold mineralisation is still open in both directions and at depth.

“The company expects further drilling in 2017 to substantially expand the high grade Quartz Zone. Significantly, gold mineralisation has also been identified in outcrop in several locations along strike from the existing inferred gold resource at the Lower Gold Zone (LGZ) and on the adjacent hill to the southeast. Shallow drilling of these structures in 2017 is also expected to substantially grow the resource base.

“The quality of the current resource combined with the rock chip sampling of the extensive mineralised systems shows that the Aucu gold project has significant potential for substantially more gold resources to be identified from further drilling,” he said.

The company is now conducting a mining optimisation study to establish how much of the current resource could potentially be extracted via an open pit mining operation. This study will consider the relevant capital expenditure required to build an economic mining operation.