RENAISSANCE Minerals has received excellent results from metallurgical test work on samples from Okvau Gold Project. Total gold extraction of 88-90% was achieved by coarse grinding and flotation, fine grinding of a low mass concentrate, and conventional cyanide leaching of concentrate and flotation tails.

The Okvau project is in a remote area of eastern Cambodia.
The Okvau project is in a remote area of eastern Cambodia.

All samples were from diamond core and all have been subject to multi-element analysis providing useful geochemical data to assist in selecting samples for test work that are representative of the deposit. Results indicate the primary gold mineralization may be extracted through a conventional cyanide leach process circuit without any requirement for intensive oxidation.

Renaissance managing director Justin Tremain says, “It is a comprehensive test program – well beyond pre-feasibility level - and should put us well ahead of the curve on metallurgy. It will allow us to commence a scoping study on the existing resource during the second quarter of 2014 leading to a pre-feasibility study which we hope will be based on an expanded resource.”

In an interview with The ASIA Miner, he said a 1.2 million ounce resource had already been defined. “The keys to the project to date are the grade of around 2.5 grams/tonne and that the deposit is close to the surface, making it open pittable.

“We have recently done step-out drilling aiming at extending the deposit with very good results about 200 metres from the resource envelope – up to about 10 grams/tonne, widths of about 10 metres and close to surface. We are drilling from that zone further out with a view to preparing a new resource estimate in mid-2014 and expect to grow the resource significantly.

“In parallel, we are also drilling exploration targets at soil anomalies that haven’t previously been drill tested. If one of these comes in as a discovery, it will be a game changer.”

Previous owners Oz Minerals did extensive exploratory work at the deposit and when Renaissance bought in, it had the benefit of the close to $40 million Oz had spent in Cambodia. Justin Tremain said, “Every hole drilled into Okvau was a diamond core hole and every metre was logged and orientated by experienced structural geologists. Every metre was subject to multi-element assays, not just gold but a suite of about 30 elements, which is important for this style of intrusive-related deposit. The data we picked up was incredible but the ground outside the deposit is virtually unexplored.”

He said Cambodia had signs of being elephant country. “It is relatively untouched and outside the Okvau ground there has been almost no exploration. The reasons for this lie in history – up to 10 years ago it wasn’t a place you would visit. It then took a while for government to put in place laws dealing with foreign investment, licences and security of tenure. It is only in the last five years that there has been any investment in mineral exploration and then it takes time to advance to mining.

“Mining and exploration in Cambodia is embryonic. We are the most advanced explorer and the government is supportive as they want to see our project developed to demonstrate the benefits of mining. Okvau has potential to be the catalyst for mining growth.

“We have found Cambodia a very easy place to work. There was an election last year which produced a surprising result because the opposition went close to winning. This is positive because real democracy is at work with two strong parties and a government held to account.

“It has been very hard for exploration companies to raise funds, wherever they are operating but particularly a new frontier like Cambodia. With a little more support for exploration companies globally, Cambodia will become a place where exploration companies will want to be.

“Our project is in a remote part of Cambodia and there is no local community, meaning we don’t have any real impact on communities and don’t have to relocate people. There are some illegal miners but none from the area and numbers are very manageable – probably close to 100. When we develop we will look at employment opportunities for these people and others regionally, and as part of our responsibilities will provide education and training.

“In terms of infrastructure we have good site access, good rainfall and there is a river flowing past which provides access to water for processing. There is also a hydro project being built not too far away and powerlines will run about 80km from Okvau,” Justin Tremain adds.

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