THE construction phase of Metals Exploration’s Runruno Gold Project is proceeding on plan and within budget. The focus is to complete construction at the earliest opportunity without compromising safety and quality, with the objective of commencing commissioning in final quarter of 2014.
The assembly pad, primary crusher foundation and processing plant areas at Runruno in early April.
The construction project is being self-managed by Metals Ex through a team of directly hired experienced Filipino and expatriate personnel and specialist technical consultants and contractors. By January 31 the work was estimated to be 46% completed with US$76.2 million having been expended from a budget of US$182.8 million. In addition commitments totalling US$20.2 million had been made against work in progress as well as plant and equipment in manufacture.
The company, through its wholly-owned operating subsidiary FCF Minerals Corporation, is working with a mandated international resource bank to provide a US$70 million debt financing facility sufficient to complete construction and commissioning of the process plant. Banking due diligence workflows have progressed satisfactorily and are near completion.
The program of on-site infrastructure works is largely complete and has been commissioned in support of the gold processing plant and residual storage impoundment construction activities. Key components recently completed include a heavy vehicle workshop, mine office complex, aggregate crushing plant and general warehouse.
Access into the mine area is fully developed with production quality haul roads established.
Mining activity is being ramped up with more than 1.6 million tonnes of material mined from within the pit outline. A further 5 million tonnes will be mined in advance of the commencement of production. This early mining activity will fully expose the ore body in readiness for production and provide rock fill material for the establishment of the residual storage impoundment.
The mining work is being undertaken using the company’s Komatsu mining fleet which is now fully commissioned with a panel of trained and qualified operators recruited from the immediate area.
Several blocks of gold mineralization have been exposed by the mining activities some of which are interpreted to be in addition to the estimated ore reserves. Assessment of the exposures has shown that the mineralization correlates positively with predicted ore blocks in the area. All mined ore is being stockpiled to be used in the future commissioning of the processing plant.
Limited step-out drilling activities to further test the potential of the Runruno Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) continue to return promising results. Exploration work is designed to continuously and systematically assess the FTAA for additional Runruno-style gold mineralization and also for porphyry copper-gold mineralization.
Runruno is about 320km north of Manila in the mineral-rich province of Nueva Viscaya. The area has been known to be abundant in gold and other precious metals since the early 1960s and has enjoyed a varied exploration history.