EXPLORATION by former joint venture partner Gold Fields on Bezant Resources’ Mankayan Copper-Gold Project shows mineralization to be open at depth with grades broadly consistent with Bezant’s JORC-compliant resource estimate. This was revealed after Bezant obtained all data generated by Gold Fields following its withdrawal from the JV.
In late January 2014, Bezant received formal notification from Gold Fields that it would not be exercising its exclusive option over Bezant’s subsidiary, Asean Copper Investments, which holds the Mankayan project. Gold Fields stated that its decision not to exercise its option was due to internal restructuring and the need to focus on its producing assets, such as its recently acquired Yilgarn assets in Western Australia.
The data includes results from a diamond drill hole which was the longest hole drilled to date on the project with a total length of 1491 metres. It confirmed that mineralization is present up to the end-of-hole length, representing an increase of more than 200 metres from the previously known depth extent of the mineralization on the eastern part of the deposit. Best result was a 342 metre intersection from 692 metres with an average copper content of 0.6% and an average gold grade of 1.01 grams/tonne.
Bezant’s CEO Bernard Oliver said: “The exploration work carried out by Gold Fields has demonstrated that at least one part of the project is open at significant depth. Following Gold Fields’ decision not to exercise its exclusive option, we retain full ownership of their data as now look to secure a new potential acquirer or partner for the project. We have taken the decision to scale back our exploration work in Argentina in order to better focus on delivering a satisfactory outcome for the future of our Mankayan project.”
Company chairman Evan Kirby said: “Forming a long term commercial or joint venture partnership to finance and/or assist with the further evaluation and development of Mankayan remains a possible option, although, as in 2011, the company continues to believe that an outright sale of the project is the most suitable and least risky objective for the company as this would maximize the potential return to its shareholders.
“The Board is therefore re-engaging in preliminary discussions with those parties who have historically expressed an interest in the project, as well as identifying new potentially interested parties within the mining and industrials sectors. Bezant has also re-assumed responsibility for funding the ongoing licence commitments in respect of the Mankayan project.”
The project is in the Mankayan-Lepanto mining district, an area considered to be one of the country’s most established porphyry copper belts. It is 240km north of Manila and 6km east of the copper/gold mine owned and operated by Lepanto Consolidated Mining.