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That’s the forecast so far. Full details should come with the Q2 feasibility study. Last May the company released a full feasibility study for a possible standalone operation at Debarwa. Exploration and expansion drilling continues on a fifth deposit, Adi Rassi, which produced a maiden copper-gold resource estimate in December.
Asmara is subject to a 30% acquisition on fair market terms by the Eritrean National Mining Corp (ENAMCO). That comes in addition to a 10% non-assessable interest that would be carried two-thirds by Sunridge and one-third by the state-owned corporation. Once the 30% deal has been negotiated, ENAMCO will pay a third of all expenditures, including development and exploration.
Sunridge opened March 7 at $0.195, a penny above its previous close. The stock reached $0.21 before closing on $0.205. With 175.16 million shares outstanding, the company’s market cap came to $35.91 million.
About 150 kilometres west, a process is underway that might almost be described as reverse alchemy. There, Nevsun Resources TSX:NSU readies the transformation of its Bisha gold operation to copper output. The company expects to produce 80,000 to 90,000 gold ounces in 2013 before depleting its yellow metal reserves by mid-year. The second half of 2013 should see Bisha give up between 60 million and 80 million pounds copper, Nevsun stated. With full copper production in 2014, the company expects to see about 200 million pounds that year.
Nevsun has a $9-million, 18,400-metre drill program planned this year to explore the mine area and surrounding properties. An initial resource estimate for the Northwest Zone, 1.2 kilometres from Bisha, is slated for Q3 release. Bisha’s carbon-in-leach plant remains on site in hopes that gold exploration finds it useful again. ENAMCO holds a free-carried 10% interest in Bisha plus an additional 30% paid participating interest.
About 10 kilometres north of Bisha, Chalice Gold Mines TSX:CXN has early-stage drilling underway at its Mogoraib North copper-zinc project, a JV with ENAMCO holding 40%. The company hopes to find volcanic massive sulphide systems similar to those of Bisha.
Last September Chalice completed the sale of its Zara gold project in Eritrea to China SFECO Group and ENAMCO for a combined $114 million. Just prior to the transaction Chalice technical director Doug Jones told ResourceClips, “The Chinese are already heavily invested in Eritrea. It’s not a surprise that they’re quite keen on acquiring additional assets there. And there’s quite a strong political link between Eritrea and China.” The sale allowed Chalice to make a December payout to shareholders totalling $25 million, leaving the company with $54 million cash on hand.
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