ASX-listed Antilles Gold is racing through its resource definition program in Cuba, with two diamond drills going flat strap and hitting the midway point of a 15,000-metre campaign. The company’s current focus is its Delita gold project in southern Cuba where it is looking to drill out an exploration target of between 16 and 20 million tonnes at a grade of 2.3 to 2.7 grams per tonne gold before launching into feasibility work in 2022.
Delita forms part of the La Demajagua project held within Minera La Victoria, a joint venture company owned by state-owned GeoMinera and Antilles.
Antilles is currently earning a 49 per cent stake in the JV entity by spending US$13 million on exploration and development across the project area.
Systematic drilling along more than 2km of strike at Delita is aimed initially at defining a large open pit resource. Later this year a further 10,000m of diamond drilling will be ploughed into the gold and silver-rich system to assess its potential at depth and to upgrade the resource in preparation for a detailed feasibility study.
The company says current drilling has intercepted extensive zones of mineralisation, with sulphide evident in the drill core. Antilles’ Cuban technical team is actively logging and sampling a growing core library , with more than 750 samples having already been prepared and dispatched to the laboratory in Toronto, Canada.
Results from Antilles’ exploration and development program at Delita are expected to begin flowing through to market next month.
La Demajagua is about 170km south of Havana on Cuba’s Island of Youth. The project is located on the western side of the island and covers some 900 hectares. It is also 40km south-west of the port city of Nueva Gerona where there is outstanding access to infrastructure, including paved roads, water, power and communications.
The project has a mining history which dates back to the 1920s with artisanal miners having extracted a treasure trove of high-grade gold and silver from Delita over more than 65 years, before its closure in 1989.
Subsequently, various Canadian-based explorers have completed an extensive body of exploration across the deposit, including drilling, metallurgy and various mining studies that Antilles is using to fast-track re-development of the abandoned operation.
Latest drilling data from Delita is set to be incorporated into an existing 50,000m drill database, with West Perth-based Cube Consulting now engaged to undertake a JORC resource estimate in the months ahead.
Antilles’ maiden JORC resource will form the basis of a bankable feasibility study, or “BFS” for initial development of an open pit mining operation.
It is anticipated that the BFS will validate results of the company’s earlier preliminary economic assessment, targeting an 800,000 tonne per year mining and processing operation and producing 60,000 tonnes of high-grade gold-silver sulphide concentrate per annum over an initial six-year mine life. Concentrate production is expected to deliver 90,500 ounces of gold and 730,000 ounces of silver per annum.
In addition to providing data for the updated resource estimate, the company’s Cuban team is utilising the extensive core library at Delita to produce a series of bulk samples for metallurgical testwork.
Antilles will dispatch the samples to Core Resources in Brisbane, Australia, where the specialised consulting group will conduct flotation testing and produce two separate types of concentrate.
The first will be used for testing by potential offtake partners in Russia and China, whilst the second gold-silver product will be put through Core’s Albion test plant to establish metal recoveries from the product.
Management will likely follow the Albion testwork results with keen interest after operating a plant using the gold recovery process in the Dominican Republic. They are keen to set up an updated version of that facility in Cuba, should feasibility work highlight its effectiveness.
With gold once again heading toward US$1,900 an ounce Antilles is set to up the ante at Delita by putting a third drill rig on the ground.
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