PanAust says the mineral reserve at its Ban Houayxai gold-silver operation in central Laos has increased by almost a quarter on the previous 2011 estimate. The total ore reserve has increased by 22%, contained gold has increased by 25%, contained silver by 26% and the mine life has been extended to more than 10 years at an annual ore processing rate of 17 million tonnes.

“The 2013 estimate also contains approximately 1.4 million tonnes of low-grade stockpiled ore. The operation has implemented a stockpiling strategy whereby lower grade gold ore is stockpiled for processing either during periods of excess process plant capacity or at the end of the mine life,” says PanAust managing director Gary Stafford.

Further upside remains at Ban Houayxai with a program of resource drilling targeting a continuous zone of high-grade gold-silver mineralization below the open pit.

A new 176 million tonne estimate at the company’s Phu Kham copper-gold site, about km east of Ban Houayxai, is largely unchanged from the 2011 estimate but still supports a mine life of more than 10 years. However, the new estimate takes account of the increased metallurgical recovery rates anticipated following commissioning of the increased recovery project scheduled to begin in June.

Copper and gold recovery rates are expected to increase by about 6% to 83% for copper and 53% for gold. The basis of the 2013 resource estimate is an updated geological model which takes into account five years of actual reconciliation data and improved understanding of geological controls.

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