The total JORC-compliant resource for Chaarat Gold’s Chaarat project in the Kyrgyz Republic has increased by 15.4% from 5.3 million ounces of gold to 6.1 million at a grade of 3.2 grams/tonne. The company says that a further 6500 metres of drilling on the deposit has given it a far better understanding of the project.
The measured and indicated component of the total resource has increased 33% to 5.2 million ounces from the previous 3.9 million ounces. The higher than average grade will allow the project to generate substantial returns, even with a weak gold price.
During 2014, the company undertook 6500 metres of diamond core drilling to better substantiate the resource of the standalone open pittable heap leachable Tulkubash project.
The resource for the Tulkubash zone, which will underpin the first stage heap leach project, has been calculated to be 13.2 million tonnes @ 1.7 grams/tonne to give a total content of 729,000 ounces of gold at a cut of grade of 1.0 grams/tonne.
Chaarat hopes to reduce the cut-off grade to 0.5 grams/tonne for this zone after completing a definitive feasibility study, when the company believes it will confirm the low cost of processing by the heap leach method.
Chaarat says it has gleaned a better understanding of the more difficult to process ore, referred to as refractory, and reckons a significant portion can also be mined via an open-pit. The high-grade core of the deposit, meanwhile, has the potential to generate attractive returns even in a low gold price environment, the company added.
Chaarat says the grade varies across the project, with the main and contact zones showing a high grade core surrounded by a lower grade. The high grade core forms 85.9% of the resource for the main and contact zones of 4.6 million ounces with a grade of 3.8 grams/tonne, allowing the company to generate attractive returns despite low gold prices.
“It has now been established that the mineralization consistently demonstrates a higher grade core and lower grade halo with most of the gold residing in the higher grade core,” it said in a statement.
“A large heap leachable project with a grade of more than 1.7 grams/tonne, as well as silver credits, which requires a relatively low upfront investment, is a very good way to start production. As I have previously pointed out the average grade of large discoveries today is 0.89 grams/tonne, and the average grade of producing mines is 1.18 grams/tonne, significantly lower than that of Chaarat,” says chief executive Dekel Golan.
“We are focusing on the development effort now by completing the feasibility study and securing finance for the construction of the project,” he says.