The 2017 field exploration program has commenced at White Cliff Minerals’ Aucu Gold Project in the Kyrgyz Republic. The field crew and a bulldozer have been dispatched to the project site.

They will be clearing access tracks and developing drill tracks/pads at the Quartz Zone where drilling in 2016 identified 244,000 tonnes at 9.5 g/t gold containing 75,000 ounces of gold from surface to 100 metres depth.

The Quartz Zone appears to extend at least 200 metres further southeast of the existing drilling. Outcropping mineralised shear zones occur in a track cutting 50 metres southeast of the existing drilling with channel sample assay results of 2 metres at 5.4 g/t and 1 metre at 0.7 g/t gold within sandstone. Quartz veins outcrop a further 100 metres southeast of the channel samples.

Bulldozer tracks currently extend 50 metres southeast of the last Quartz Zone drill line and will be extended down the hill to cover the additional 200 metres of strike.

The 2017 phase one drill program will consist of approximately 1200 metres of Reverse Circulation drilling between 70 and 130 metres deep at the Quartz Zone. The ASX-listed company anticipates that drilling will commence as soon as sufficient drill pads have been constructed.

Subsequent drill programs will be conducted at the north-western end of the Lower Gold Zone where drilling identified 6 metres at 38 g/t gold. This target is hosted in a quartz vein having the same orientation as the Quartz Zone. The vein has been mapped along strike for 250 metres.

Several bulldozer tracks and drill pads need to be completed prior to drilling and these will be constructed once the Quartz Zone dozer program is completed.

The 2017 drilling program has strong potential to expand the high grade Quartz Zone. Mineralisation at Aucu outcrops at surface and has only been drilled to 100 metres vertical depth with the current resource open at depth and along strike. The current resource represents less than 5% of identified mineralised faults with the remaining 95% yet to be drilled.

Also during the 2017 field season White Cliff plans drilling to test extensions of the remaining resource zones - Sandstone, Upper Gold Zone, Camp Gold Zone and Eastern Gold Zone.

The metallurgical test work being conducted by Bureau Veritas Minerals in Perth is nearing completion while the mining optimisation study being conducted by Mining Consultants Optiro is under way.

This study will establish how much of the existing shallow high grade gold resource could potentially be extracted via an open pit mining operation. It will consider the relevant capital expenditure required to build an economic mining operation.

White Cliff recently posted a 93% increase to its JORC resource at its 90%-owned Aucu project. Aucu now stands at 1.8 million tonnes grading 5.2 g/t gold for 302,000 ounces. The new resource estimate represented a 23% increase in gold grade and also included an inferred copper resource of 608,000 tonnes grading 0.64% copper for 3870 tonnes.