A bankable feasibility study (BFS) for Chaarat Gold Holdings’ Tulkubash Gold Mine in the Kyrgyz Republic is on track for completion by the end of June. Tulkubash forms part of the larger Chaarat Gold Project and the company expects to begin mining at this deposit.

The project has also recently been endorsed by local leaders in the Kyrgyz Republic, following meetings attended by company chairman Martin Andersson in the capital Bishkek. Among those in attendance was the Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

“I have just returned from a visit to the Kyrgyz Republic during which I met the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Parliament and two previous Prime Ministers,” said Martin Andersson. “I was pleased to see the general interest in attracting foreign direct investment into the country and the support for developing Chaarat in particular.”

Separately, Chaarat has appointed Rob Benbow as chief operating officer. He is an experienced mine developer and includes on his CV bringing Alacer’s Çöpler gold mine on stream.

“With Bob, a seasoned and experienced mine builder and operator, joining the team and the feedback we are receiving from financial institutions and the teams preparing the BFS, the development of the Tulkubash project is progressing according to plan,” Martin Andersson said.

The Tulkubash BFS follows completion of a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the Chaarat project with the company also making progress on obtaining the related permits, progressing infrastructure and continuing discussions with strategic partners.

The Chaarat deposit is a JORC-compliant resource of 6.1 million ounces of gold at a grade of 3.20 g/t. Of this, 12% is free milling ore located in the Tulkubash zone. The Contact and Main zones contain refractory ore.

The mining method has been determined by dividing the Chaarat deposit into four sections. The Tulkubash free milling section will be mined by open pit only. Two sections of the refractory sulphide ore will be mined first by open pit and then underground. The remaining section will be mined from underground only.

The DFS incorporates the findings of a feasibility study prepared by China’s NFC in compliance with Chinese bankable feasibility study requirements. The study assumes daily production at 8000 tonnes from the open pit sections until this ore has been exhausted and 4000 tonnes from the underground only section. Underground production will increase to 8000 tonnes once underground mining has commenced in the former open pit sections.

The daily peak capacity of the mine based on current reserves is 12,000 tonnes or 4 million tonnes per year between years 4 and 11. Average annual production of gold in these years will be 211,000 ounces.

The free milling ore will be processed by heap leaching. The refractory ore will be milled, concentrated and oxidised by bacterial oxidation (BIOX) to extract the gold.