Australian gold explorer Southern Gold and its development partner in South Korea, Bluebird Merchant, continues to make good progress at both the Gubong and Kochang gold projects in South Korea.
As reporterd in The ASIA Miner earlier this year, Bluebird – a 50 per cent partner in the Joint Venture – has completed its report on the feasibility of reopening the Gubong Project in late July as part of its final requirement to the commencement of the Joint Venture.
Bluebird is also anticipating completing the pre-conditions for the formation of the Kochang Joint Venture by the end of October. Metallurgical test work is currently being undertaken with results and a subsequent report on the feasibility of re-starting gold mining at Kochang submitted to Southern Gold by the end of October.
Southern Gold Managing Director, Mr. Simon Mitchell states that the increased activity levels at Gubong over the coming year should see the first major new gold mine open in South Korea in over 15 years.
“At Kochang, we anticipate the formation of the second Joint Venture to be completed in October and a second potential mining front to advance in 2019. I see the Kochang project as potentially complimenting the development proposal at Gubong rather than competing with it.”
Bluebird expects physical activity to ramp up during this pre-development phase, with the emphasis of opening new areas of the Gubong Mine over the December quarter. Suitable sites will also be evaluated for the positioning of the process plant and other infrastructure in consultation with the community.
Bluebird is targeting the commencement of gold production in the December quarter of 2019, with gold production levels progressively increasing over a 5-year period. Estimated capital costs are significantly lower due to most of the development infrastructure being already in place, only requiring progressive dewatering as the mine reactivates from the top down. Current early capital cost estimates suggest a total of less than US$5 million (on a 100 per cent basis) is required to bring Gubong into production.
At Kochang, significant channel sampling and easy access to the old workings have advanced the project more quickly than Gubong but development timeframes are pending the report on feasibility. Part of this process will involve establishing diamond drilling platforms from underground to enable the estimation of Mineral Resources defined in accordance with the 2012 JORC Code and allow a life of mine schedule and mine design to be completed.