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As a 19-year BHP Billiton veteran who’s worked on two discovery teams and over 50 exploration agreements, Tsitos takes pride in his co-workers. His company, formerly Stronghold Metals, “inherited a team of 22 people from IAMGOLD, from geologists to the camp cook,” he says. “We bid on the project along with another five companies from Australia and Canada, and we insisted on this clause: If we take this project, we have to take your team. And we succeeded. So with that acquisition we got not only the title, we got the team, the equipment and machinery, a very good camp onsite and an office in Georgetown, the capital.”
I don’t see why we should follow the formula of building up a company just to sell it.—Eagle Mountain Gold president/CEO/director Ioannis (Yannis) Tsitos
The project is five kilometres from a highway connecting Brazil with Guyana’s Atlantic coast and four kilometres from an airstrip. The local community includes people who’ve worked in small-scale mining operations, Tsitos adds.
With previous experience in the country and neighbouring Surinam, he describes Guyana as “mining friendly with robust mining legislation based on British law.”
Eagle Mountain Gold also holds an option on 95% of the adjacent Mowasi property, a 17,000-hectare “very early-stage exploration project,” Tsitos says. Geochemistry has outlined two “very interesting targets,” he points out. “The presence of artisanal miners shows that gold comes from some source that has never been developed.”
As for the company’s share structure, IAMGOLD holds about 7.6%, Sprott Gold & Precious Minerals Fund 3.8%, management and insiders 15%. Tsitos emphasizes that his company was the only bidder that offered IAMGOLD significant stock instead of cash. Sprott, he says, is “a fund that obviously believes in gold and in good gold juniors. That adds credibility to the project, the management and the plan.”
Among others working in the country is Guyana Goldfields TSX:GUY, which announced a revised feasibility study for its Aurora gold property on January 11. The $205-million capex shows a huge drop from the $525 million for a more ambitious project envisioned in the original feasibility of February 2012. A sharp share plunge forced the radical revision which, according to Tsitos, helps justify his own company’s phased approach. Aurora is scheduled for commercial open-pit production in Q1 2015.
Another advanced Guyana project, Sandspring Resources’ TSXV:SSP Toroparu property has an in-pit resource showing:
- measured and indicated categories totalling 6.03 million gold ounces and 420 million copper pounds
- an inferred category of 3.97 million gold ounces and 169 million copper pounds.
Sandspring has scheduled a PEA for early this year with hopes of seeing production in 2015.
Guyana’s alluvial and eluvial gold puts Sacre-Coeur Minerals TSXV:SCM in an enviable position. The company helps fund its operations through hydraulic mining, which in this case means flushing and dredging muck into a sluice, then moving it towards on-site concentrating and refining.
The company’s Million Mountain property has measured and indicated resources totalling 451,000 gold ounces, an internal, non-43-101-compliant scoping study already complete and 43-101 feasibility slated for mid-2013. Sacre-Coeur hopes to begin open-pit production in late 2014.
On January 24, Gold Port Resources TSXV:GPO released a maiden resource estimate for its Groete gold-copper project 60 kilometres southwest of Georgetown. The in-pit resource shows an inferred category of 1.59 million gold-equivalent ounces. Infill and step-out drilling are planned, along with metallurgical testing as the project moves towards PEA.
Another inferred resource, of 1.22 million gold ounces, comes from Azimuth Resources’ TSX:AZH West Omai gold project. The company’s working on a resource update while also drilling a new prospect nearby.
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