ASIAMET Resources is confident that a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) being carried out on its Beruang Kanan Main (BKM) deposit in Kalimantan will demonstrate the project’s viability even at current low metal prices. The PEA began in January and is advancing well in line with plan and budget with completion due by the end of March 2016.

The study is assessing the economics of developing an open pit mine and heap leach SX-EW processing facility to treat near surface copper resources at BKM, which is within Asiamet’s KSK Contract of Work.

Asiamet estimates that approximately 25% of global copper supply is produced using the heap leach, solvent extraction and electro-winning (SX-EW) process and the opportunity for it to assess the application of this proven technology to produce copper metal at the BKM site is expected to greatly enhance the attractiveness of the project.

The PEA is examining metallurgy and resources, process plant design, and mine engineering. Asiamet says an initial process plant design concept using a partial valley fill and multiple lift heap leach configuration is considered to be suitable for the BKM site, supported by the local topography and competent nature of the mineralized rocks.

This configuration will enable the construction of leach pads closer to the mining operation and help reduce haulage costs. Copper product from the process is targeted to be London Metals Exchange grade A with a copper content of 99.999%.

Two open pit mine shells are being engineered by Orelogy to assess the optimum pit wall slopes, shapes and depths, mining equipment type and sizing, and the sequencing of waste and ore mining to meet the requirements of the site civil works development and copper leach pad construction and operations.

This work is critical to ensuring optimum and timely development of the mining operations to maximize mining of ore and minimize waste removal while retaining geotechnical stability. The availability of experienced local mining contractors, anticipated low waste to ore stripping ratios and the short transport distances from mine to leach pads is expected to result in low mine operating costs.

Project infrastructure options covering roads, power, water, mine and process plant infrastructure, accommodation, site utilities and services are all being evaluated and costed with various service providers for feeding into the capital and operating cost estimates.

Assuming a positive outcome from this work a conceptual development plan and scope of work for a feasibility study will be developed.

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