Sunridge, Nevsun, Chalice drill Eritrean gold, copper, zinc, silver
by Greg Klein
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While continuing the Asmara feasibility study in Eritrea, Sunridge Gold TSXV:SGC announced on March 7 a new near-surface discovery at Kodadu, four kilometres east of Asmara’s Debarwa deposit. With assays complete on 21 reverse-circulation holes, the company now plans an initial resource estimate for the potential deposit.
True widths for the two zones were estimated at about 70%. Some highlights from the gossan zone include:
- 1.71 grams per tonne gold over 51 metres
- 1.77 g/t over 31 metres
- 1.66 g/t over 22 metres
- 1.06 g/t over 32 metres
- 1.08 g/t over 27 metres
- 1.05 g/t over 20 metres
- 1.18 g/t over 17 metres.
The top-most intercepts started at surface while the deepest stopped at a down-hole depth of 51 metres.
Some shear zone highlights include:
- 1.15 g/t over 33 metres
- 2.3 g/t over 16 metres
- 0.99 g/t over 21 metres
- 0.64 g/t over 15 metres
- 0.81 g/t over 11 metres
- 1.19 g/t over 1 metre.
Again, the top-most interval began at surface. The deepest ended at 79 metres down hole.
The company now wants to “rapidly define a resource that could be mined as feed” to a processing facility near Asmara’s Emba Derho copper-zinc-gold-silver deposit, 25 kilometres away, which would also serve three nearby satellite deposits. Three of Asmara’s four deposits would be open pit operations. The fourth, Adi Nefas, would go underground.
Asmara’s feasibility study is slated for Q2 release and already the company is forecasting improvements to last May’s pre-feas. Using a 10% discount rate, that study projected a pre-tax net present value of $555 million and a 27% internal rate of return. With initial capital costs then estimated at $489 million, payback would have come in 3.5 years, while the life of mine would last 15.25 years.
Now Sunridge is considering a staged start-up to cut capex and get to the ore earlier. Mining would begin with copper, gold and silver from Debarwa’s supergene (higher-grade) zone. Work would progress with heap leach gold production at the Emba Derho plant, processing ore from the Debarwa and Gupo deposits as well as Emba Derho. The next stage would involve mining and processing the remaining copper supergene ore from Debarwa and Emba Derho. With full production in year three, Asmara would produce an estimated annual average of 70 million pounds (31,750 tonnes) copper, 140 million pounds (63,500 tonnes) zinc, 31,000 ounces gold and 997,000 ounces silver over the mine’s first eight years.
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