Azumah strengthens case for Ghana underground mining
Azumah Resources has confirmed the presence of a large mineralised system for the Bepkong East Lode of its flagship Wa gold project in Ghana after intersecting a stunning 99.5 metre zone grading 2.16 grams per tonne gold from 316m down-hole.
Notably, this zone contains several higher-grade ore shoots including 10m @ 5.01g/t gold from 369m, 3.1m @ 6.29g/t gold from 387.9m and 8.5m @ 5.82g/t gold from 406m.
These results follow up on the East Lode discovery hole last year that intersected 93.1m @ 2.33g/t gold from 261m down-hole that included 9.9m @ 8.42g/t gold from 295m and 2.16m @ 21.17g/t gold from 303m.
A separate hole also extended the East Lode mineralisation by 70m to the south after intersecting 7m @ 4.78g/t gold from 322m down-hole and 17.5m @ 2.62g/t gold from 385m.
The results provide strong support for a potential future underground mining operation at Bepkong that could add substantial value to the proposed 107,000 ounces of gold per year open cut mining operation.
Other recent holes also intersected additional Main Lode mineralisation including 8m @ 2.31g/t gold from 83m, 14m @ 4g/t gold from 133m down-hole and 6m @ 2.76g/t gold from 196.5m.
Another result of 8.5m @ 4.55g/t gold from 250m lies 50m below the current Bepkong pit design.
Managing Director Stephen Stone said: “Intersecting 99.5 metres at 2.16 grams per tonne gold from 316 metres, some 75 metres below our recent and very similar ‘discovery hole’ intercept, is another remarkable result from the East Lode of the Bepkong deposit and clearly confirms the discovery of a large, well-developed, south-plunging, consistently mineralised system of unknown depth.”
“Importantly, the system contains several thick, high-grade ore shoots that could support declining down from the bottom of the planned open-pit and mining this mineralisation from underground.”
“The Azumah-Ibaera joint venture will now be extending and accelerating the drill programme at Bepkong so we can better understand the geometry and extent of the (underground) system and to enable us to rapidly move to a maiden resource estimate.”
Last month, Azumah broke past the million ounce ore reserve milestone with an updated estimate of 18 million tonnes grading 1.77g/t gold for 1.03 million ounces of contained gold.
This estimate was largely based around the key Kunche, Bepkong and Julie gold deposits with just under 94,000 ounces defined from completely new prospects.
Notably, the updated reserve estimate does not account for any of the recent, high-grade deep drilling results.
The company continues to advance its feasibility study for the Wa project which currently outlines a proposed 11-year project life, that produces a pre-tax NPV of USD$177m and IRR of 35%.
The project will reportedly return a pre-tax net cash flow of USD$270m with a payback of the USD$117m establishment capital in under two years.
The average ore processing grade for the first eight years is 2.06g/t gold, with an average of 107,000 ounces of gold per annum pumped out for the first six years of operation and about 85,000 ounces per annum over the life of the project.
The all-in sustaining cost of gold production is estimated at USD$886 per ounce over the life of the mine, which provides very healthy margins for the company.
A conventional carbon-in-leach plant with a nameplate capacity of 2.3 million tonnes per annum throughput is envisaged for the oxide ore streams emanating from the Wa gold project.
The feasibility study for Wa is expected in the third quarter of 2019, with a development decision expected shortly after that.
Joint venture partner Ibaera is investing close to A$17m in two stages over two years to acquire a 47.5% direct interest in the Wa gold project tenements and is managing the exploration and development activities of the JV on-site.
With the confirmation of a major, consistently mineralised gold system at the Bepkong East Lode, Azumah has strengthened the potential to bolt on an underground mining operation to its already attractive Wa open cut project.
Shareholders will be watching closely over the next couple of weeks as the company drives ahead with its accelerated drilling campaign.