The El Pilar copper-gold porphyry deposit in central Cuba has an 80m to 100m overlying oxide zone with high grade gold and copper domains that is expected to be developed as a low cap-ex open pit mine to produce gold and copper-gold concentrates.
Assays from 24,000m of historic drilling by a Canadian mining company in the 1990s indicated an Upper Exploration Target for the outcropping gold domain of 1.4 Mt of ore containing 221,000 oz of gold at a grade of 4.8 g/t Au, and 1.7Mt of ore containing 52.7 lb of copper at a grade of 1.41% Cu in the underlying copper domain ( advised to ASX on 5 July 2022 ).
Based on these ore quantities and grades being confirmed by exploration, it is anticipated that a low cap-ex mine could be developed to produce around 400,000tpa of ore, and be able to be fully funded by a gold loan. The low capital costs will reflect the flat mine site, availability of highway and rail access, local labour and accommodation, and HT power and water supply.
Metallurgical test work has indicated an 83% recovery for gold through a flotation circuit, and assuming typical industry payables for the concentrates, a 7 year operation would result in a significant project cash surplus being generated at current metal prices.
A two stage exploration program (2,000 m that was completed in 2022, and 7,000 m is to be undertaken in early 2023) will allow JORC Resources and a Scoping Study for the proposed project to be established by the end of 2023. The oxide concession has been transferred to the existing joint venture mining company for planned development in 2024.
The joint venture company is also investigating the acquisition of an additional high grade oxide gold deposit within the region where the combined resources with El Pilar would justify the construction of a CIL plant to produce doré for refining overseas.