ASIAMET Resources has started work on a feasibility study for the Beruang Kanan Main (BKM) Copper Project in Central Kalimantan following a positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA). The company says the new study represents a major de-risking phase for BKM.

The AIM-listed, UK-based company said the outcomes of the feasibility study would be used by a wide range of stakeholders, including potential financiers, to assess the project’s viability.

In its half year interim results statement, Asiamet said completion of the PEA was the highlight of the six months as it emphasised that the study had demonstrated ‘excellent potential’ for developing a robust low-cost project.

As part of the feasibility study work Asiamet began a new drilling program at the end of May with two rigs working on site. The intention is to upgrade the majority of the project’s current inferred resources into the measured and indicated resource categories. BKM currently hosts an estimated inferred resource of 49.7 million tonnes with a grade 0.6% copper for 657 million pounds of copper.

Results received to date from the 2016 resource infill and extension drilling program have shown ‘excellent thickness’ and a continuity of near-surface high-grade (1-3%) copper mineralisation.

Delineation of these discrete zones of continuous, shallow, higher grade mineralisation that is easily accessible for early mining has potential to lower operating costs and further enhance project economics.

By mid-August 33 holes for 3400 metres of diamond core drilling had been completed with three holes in progress. As well as confirming thickness and continuity, it is anticipated that the results will further reduce the already low strip ratio of the potential open pit in the southern part of the BKM deposit.

Asiamet’s chief executive officer Ton Manini said in mid-August, “Resource evaluation drilling at BKM continues to meet or exceed our expectations. The grade and continuity of mineralisation appears to be very consistent and we are seeing higher grade mineralisation shallower than anticipated.

“A lower strip ratio zone, coupled with higher grades has the potential to lower operating costs early in the mine life and further enhance the already strong economics of the BKM project as outlined in the PEA.

“The feasibility study is ramping up with mine engineering and infrastructure studies about to commence in addition to the resource drilling, metallurgy, geo-technical and environmental studies currently in progress.”