RED Mountain Mining and strategic funding partner Bluebird Merchant Ventures intend to fast track development studies and permitting for the Batangas Gold Project joint venture. This work includes completing a prefeasibility study (PFS) and undertaking drilling.

Bluebird has completed all payments totalling US$1.7 million and has been issued shares representing a 25% interest in Red Mountain Mining Singapore Ltd (RMMS), the owner of the Batangas assets. A 75% Red Mountain: 25% Bluebird joint venture has been formed at RMMS level.

The Batangas Joint Venture is now funded to target completion of key milestones to development of the project.

In the near to medium term the JV aims to complete a PFS utilising work completed to date and a new mining and processing schedule incorporating updated lower input costs (eg lower diesel price) and applying the current gold price of circa A$1750/ounce.

Subject to the consent of the Philippines Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the JV intends to conduct a drilling program to complete geotechnical testing and test key resource/reserve targets at Lobo. It then plans to upgrade the PFS to a definitive feasibility study, incorporating additional geotechnical and other information as well as any potential resource upgrades with new mining and processing schedules.

Subsequently, it will complete all permitting inputs including submission of the finalised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) required to allow grant of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC), and endorsements required to allow the Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (DMF) to be elevated to the central MGB for final technical assessment and recommendation for approval.

Red Mountain managing director Jon Dugdale said, “Now that the Batangas JV is operational, and funded, we can bring together all the work over the past 12 to 18 months to fast track completion of the development studies and permitting. This JV brings together two highly experienced board and executive teams, with the mining and development experience to develop this exciting gold project.”

Red Mountain, an ASX-listed company, holds a direct and indirect interest in tenements in the Philippines that contain gold resources totalling 6.19 million tonnes at 2.2 grams/tonne for 444,000 indicated and inferred ounces.

Last October the company announced a strategic financing agreement with Bluebird Merchant Ventures. It includes a two stage funding arrangement totalling up to US$5.5 million that will earn Bluebird up to 50.1% of RMMS.