ASIA Pacific Mining has received full approval of its AP-4 mineral exploration licence in Shan state, becoming the first Western-led mining development company to be granted a 100%-owned exploration licence in Myanmar. The licence covers 649sqkm northwest of the town of Namtu, which is about 40km northwest of the major regional centre and airport at the city of Lashio. The area is prospective for lead, zinc and silver.

Approval of Asia Pacific’s AP-4 licence application was granted by the Myanmar Ministry of Mines represented by the Department of Geological Survey & Mineral Exploration. It constitutes the final step in the approval process for the company.

“The finalization of the AP-4 licence marks the culmination of years of cooperation between Asia Pacific Mining Limited, Myanmar’s Ministry of Mines and the Department of Geological Survey & Mineral Exploration,” says Asia Pacific’s CEO Andrew Mooney. “The fact that this emerging mining superpower has selected us as their first recipient of a modern exploration licence granted to a Western-led firm speaks highly of the quality of professionals and work to date on both sides.”

The AP-4 licence was advanced by Asia Pacific to cover lands surrounding the historic Bawdwin zinc-lead-silver mine, one of the largest producers of these metals in the world during its period of peak output when built and operated by British interests at the turn of the 20th century.

Since 1951, production from Bawdwin totalled more than 8.1 million tonnes of ore grading an average of 4.5% zinc, 8.8% lead and 0.18% copper. This includes 5.5 million tonnes of ore produced from underground workings, which carried an average silver grade of 7.9 ounces/ton (246 grams/tonne). The data does not capture reported production of associated nickel, antimony and gold.

The Hong Kong-based company believes that historic exploration in the Bawdwin area has been minimal, thus raising strong prospects for additional discoveries of volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits similar to the Bawdwin lodes. The licence area covers ground stretching from the Bawdwin mine to historic underground workings in the northerly Mohochaung area, where past production of zinc, lead and silver has been widely reported.

The company plans to immediately begin fieldwork at AP-4. A number of target zones for Bawdwin-style mineralization have been identified across the project based on past geological and geochemical surveys, copies of which are held in the company’s proprietary geological library and database covering Myanmar. The company has supplemented this data with modern analysis of satellite imagery and other sources in order to prioritize first areas of investigation.

Initial fieldwork will consist of field mapping, sampling and geochemical surveys aimed at better defining drill targets for subsequent testing.

Asia Pacific is also moving forward with exploration licence applications for copper-gold porphyry targets in Sagaing Division, central Myanmar. These applications are also based on proprietary data from the company’s unique countrywide library and database, and are designed to cover targets similar to the Monywa copper mine, which contained an original measured and indicated resource of more than 1 billion tonnes grading 0.40% copper.

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