K92 Mining has commenced the underground incline drive from the Irumafimpa mine towards the Kora deposit at the Kainantu Gold Project in Papua New Guinea. The drive is designed to provide access to the Kora deposit, where K92 is targeting commencement of production in the first half of 2018.
The 5 metre x 5 metre drive will also provide the company with the ability to drill test thereafter between Irumafimpa and Kora from underground set ups.
This area has not been previously tested due to topographical challenges associated with drilling from the surface and is considered highly perspective given the current interpretation of Irumafimpa and Kora being on the same vein structure.
K92’s chief executive officer Ian Stalker says, “Kora is already a large and high grade deposit and the upcoming drill program is designed to test our belief that this high grade deposit has significant expansion potential.
“While accessing Kora as part of our production strategy is important, equally exciting is the ability to use underground set ups to drill test the area between Irumafimpa and Kora, and Kora at depth.
“Also, while the gold and silver grades at Kora are exceptional, it is important to point out that this is a high grade copper deposit which bodes well should the macro environment for copper continue strengthening.”
Drilling and blasting has commenced and the drive to Kora will represent a continuation, from the switchback point, of the current Irumafimpa incline drive that is accessed from the 840 Portal. It is estimated that the Kora deposit is approximately 700 metres from the switchback point.
The company estimates that it will take about nine months from the start date to complete the drive and the drive is planned to extend to the Mining Lease 150 boundary, which is the current known limit of Kora mineralisation.
Drill testing from underground set ups, designed to take place at 100 metre intervals along the way, is expected to commence within the next two months.
In addition to drilling between Irumafimpa and Kora, K92 will also drill down dip from the known resource to infill between the known resource and the single deepest known hole drilled on the deposit. This hole recorded an intersection of 30.6 metres @ 2.0 g/t gold, 4.8 g/t silver and 1.3% copper, including 6.4 metres @ 5.52 g/t gold and 8 metres @ 3.7% copper from 920.8 metres, approximately 500 metres below the current resource.
Consideration will be given to extending the drive beyond the Mining Lease 150 into the adjacent Exploration Lease which is also held by K92, to allow exploration drilling to be undertaken to potentially extend the known limit of mineralisation to the north.
Meantime, K92 also reports that mining production has shown a steady ramp up over the last three months. The company mined more than 8000 tonnes of material by February 24 and expected to achieve 10,000 tonnes by the end of the month.
The increased material production is in part due to significant lower grade material being identified outside of the planned material envelope, which was identified by the ongoing grade control program, highlighting the importance and success of this program.
All February production was from material development headings and the company expects the first stope mining to commence on schedule by the end of March.
The commissioning of the drum scrubber at the process plant has been completed and production is ramping up to meet the mine production, with 5000 tonnes processed as at February 24. Product from the drum scrubber has met the required specifications and has allowed the crushing plant to operate satisfactorily, with all of the fines portion, accounting for approximately 30% of the feed, bypassing the crusher and reporting directly to the milling classification circuit.
The process plant has produced in excess of 200 tonnes of concentrate, with grades averaging approximately 150 g/t gold. This material is being loaded into containers for transport to the port of Lae, with the first shipment scheduled to depart the port by mid-March.