White Cliff Minerals has commenced the 2017 drill program at its Aucu Gold Project in northwest Kyrgyz Republic. Phase one drilling will comprise 15 holes for 1200 metres of reverse circulation drilling and is focusing on the high-grade Quartz Zone at the Aucu deposit.

The drilling is targeting the Quartz Zone structure along strike from previous drilling which defined an inferred resource of 244,000 tonnes at 9.5 g/t gold containing 75,000 ounces.

Once the strike extent of the Quartz Zone has been defined the ASX-listed company will drill a series of deeper holes to test the mineralisation at depth.

The drill rig has completed a 60-metre deep hole 50 metres along strike from last year’s drilling and has moved to a second hole, a 90-metre hole designed to test the mineralised zone underneath the first hole.

Mineralisation was identified in the first hole where malachite, a copper oxide, was observed from 12 metres to 26 metres. Native copper was identified at 34 metres and was associated with goethite, an iron oxide typically associated with gold mineralisation. The samples will be dispatched to the laboratory this week when the second hole is completed.

Mineralisation was also identified in outcrop 12 metres northeast of the first hole where channel sampling in 2016 identified a zone three metres wide with channel sample assay results of 2 metres at 5.4 g/t and 1 metre at 0.7 g/t within sandstone.

The zone consists of a small quartz vein surrounded by an alteration halo dominated by the iron oxides limonite and goethite which were originally sulphides. The zone also contains traces of the copper oxides azurite and malachite.

On the next drill section 50 metres further southeast, the Quartz Zone was identified in outcrop where channel sampling identified 4 metres at 3.5 g/t including one metre at 9.5 g/t.

In conjunction with the current drilling program, the company has undertaken an extensive geochemical sampling program covering outcropping mineralised zones identified in bulldozer tracks, prospecting traverses and trenching.

White Cliff has also mobilised a second RC rig to the project which will commence drilling shortly. This rig will focus on the Eastern Gold Zone and Lower Gold Zone where drilling in 2015 identified 6 metres at 38 g/t. This target is hosted in a quartz vein with the same orientation as the Quartz Zone. The vein has been mapped along strike for 250 metres.

Several bulldozer tracks and drill pads are being completed to facilitate this drilling program.

In April, the company reported an updated inferred resource reported in accordance with the JORC Code (2012) for the Aucu gold deposit. The estimate above a cut-off grade of 1 g/t is 1.8 million tonnes grading 5.2 g/t, for 302,000 ounces of contained gold.