by Greg Klein | May 26, 2016
With two rigs busy on a 20-hole program, Equitas Resources TSXV:EQT has 2016 Phase I well underway at its newly acquired Cajueiro gold operation in central Brazil. Under focus is the 39,053-hectare property’s Baldo zone and its high-grade oxidized saprolite, which the company believes offers potential for low-cost mining. Baldo currently hosts small-scale alluvial gold production which Equitas hopes to eventually expand into an open pit mine.
The 20 holes will total about 1,600 metres. Along with 700 metres of trenching that began earlier this month, the campaign will target a mineralized corridor 650 metres in strike. Work should take about one month.
A March 43-101 technical report recalculated data from Cajueiro’s 2013 resource estimate, providing new numbers for four zones of sulphides and oxides. The project’s sulphides now total 214,100 gold ounces indicated and 203,500 ounces inferred. Oxides total 78,400 ounces inferred.
Baldo’s oxides show an inferred 309,000 tonnes averaging 3.029 grams per tonne for 30,100 gold ounces. The tonnage might be modest, but past results suggest this is the area with the strongest near-term potential for resource expansion.
Mini-bulk sampling of oxidized saprolite from the target area in 2014 and 2015 brought grades as high as 5.77 g/t and 87.2 g/t gold. The sole previous hole on this structure found 1.48 g/t over 29.85 metres in the sulphide bedrock. “In general the oxidized saprolite component of the mineralization contains significant enrichment in gold grades compared to the bedrock sulphide domain,” Equitas stated.
Thirty-four saprolite grab samples taken from across the Baldo zone in 2012 assayed between 0.01 g/t to 118.47 g/t gold, and averaged 14.67 g/t. Twenty of those samples graded above 0.5 g/t. “Additionally, a 100-kilogram sample of saprolite taken from the southern Baldo target area for metallurgical testing yielded a head grade of 8.9 g/t gold,” the company added.
Equitas closed its acquisition of Alta Floresta Gold and its 184,410-hectare Brazilian portfolio just last month. The company plans to fund incremental expansion of the Cajueiro flagship through the project’s revenue. Alluvial production at Baldo has been underway since June, now producing around a kilogram of gold a month at about 30% to 35% recovery. The company sees considerable potential for improvement by installing a gravity plant, then carbon-in-leach processing that might raise recovery to about 85%. In the longer term, Equitas hopes to run a full open pit operation.
Cajueiro connects by road to the city of Alta Floresta, 95 kilometres north. A hydro-electric dam now under construction should provide energy for the project area within two years.
The company announced a new advisory board earlier this month. Last month Equitas closed the final tranche of a $1.5-million private placement with strong insider participation.