Despite suffering a setback earlier this year when Gold Fields decided not to exercise its option to buy the Mankayan Copper-Gold Project, all is not lost for AIM-listed Bezant Resources.
The company received a non-refundable US$9.5 million payment from Gold Fields and remains well funded while Gold Fields remains a significant shareholder with a 21.6% stake.
Bezant also inherited some promising technical data emanating from the due diligence work carried out by Gold Fields. This shows that mineralization was present up to the end of the longest hole drilled to date on the porphyry project, increasing the previously known depth extent of mineralization on the eastern part of the deposit by more than 200 metres to 1491 metres.
A high-grade zone of 342 metres from 692 metres revealed an average copper grade of 0.6% and an average gold grade of 1.01 gram/tonne.
Mankayan is about 240km north of Manila and 6km east of a world-class, high-grade copper-gold mine operated by Filipino primary gold producer Lepanto Consolidated Mining.
It has a JORC-compliant indicated resource of 221.6 million tonnes and 36.2 million tonnes of inferred resources, grading 0.49% copper and 0.52 grams/tonne gold, equating to an indicated resource of 1.1 million tonnes of copper and 3.7 million ounces of gold.
Bezant's CEO Bernard Olivier says, “The additional data, as well as the increase in the depth extent of the known mineralization on the eastern part of the deposit, will be incorporated into our already comprehensive database and assist with the recommenced sale/JV process seeking to identify new potential acquirers and/or partners for the project.”
Gold Fields passed on the opportunity to acquire the project following a decision to spin off all but one of its South African mines in 2013 and to focus on production from Ghana and Australia.
Bezant says it will re-engage with third parties that have historically expressed an interest in the project as well as starting discussions with newly identified potential buyers and/or partners. The company favours an outright sale over a long-term commercial or joint venture partnership to finance the development.