Alacer Gold Corp. [TSX: ASR) (ASX: AQG] is pleased to announce that the ongoing Ardich step-out drilling program confirms a significant extension of the mineralization. The interim Indicated Mineral Resource increased 28% to 816,600 contained gold ounces and the Inferred Mineral Resource increased by 519% to 593,900 contained gold ounces. Exploration has been focused on determining the extent of the viable mineralized target rather than infill drilling for resource conversion. Exploration continues and is being accelerated with 7 diamond drill rigs currently on site.
The interim Mineral Resource extends approximately 1.4 km along a NW/SE strike, representing areas with enough drill density to define a resource. Surface mapping indicates the mineralized target could extend beyond 2 km. Ardich is located approximately 6 km northeast of the Çöpler Gold Mine. The updated Mineral Resource estimate consists of predominantly oxide ore, with some sulfide ore, totaling:
Rod Antal, Alacer’s President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “The Ardich Mineral Resource has grown into a significant discovery. We are continuing to define the extent of the mineralization, with the expectation that the deposit will continue to grow with additional drilling.
Ardich is an important part of our medium-term growth strategy to deliver significant additional oxide production from near-mine deposits. Both Ardich and Çöpler Saddle abut existing active mining areas. Our study team is working on options for starter pits and concurrently the exploration team is rapidly exploring the SE area of Ardich, which though less explored, shows great promise and may be brought into production faster given its proximity to, and probable connection with, Çakmaktepe.
We are in an enviable position to have multiple processing options adjacent to quality near-mine targets such as the Ҫӧpler Saddle and Ardich. We are working on the development plans to deliver additional ounces in both the shorter and for the long term.”
Figure 1. Location map of the Ardich Gold Project.
2019 Ardich Mineral Resource Estimate
Table 1. Ardich Mineral Resource Estimate
|Mineral Resource Estimate for the Ardich Deposit (As at October 1, 2019)|
|Material Type||Resource Category Material||Tonnes (x1000)||Au (g/t)||Contained Au (oz x 1000)|
|Oxide + HS Oxide + Sulfide||Indicated||15,855||1.60||817|
Note: Metal price assumptions were $1,500/oz for gold. HS oxide is the ore with total sulfur >1% and <2%. Sulfide ore has >2% total sulfur. Mineral Resources are shown on a 100% basis. Greater than 96% of the Mineral Resource is located on the Alacer owned 80% ground, with the remainder of the mineralization within the 50/50% ownership boundary. Heap leach processing costs include site support and sustaining capital and are estimated to be ~$9/t ore, based on reagent consumption tests and benchmarking with the nearby Ҫӧpler Mine. Sulfide processing costs include site support and sustaining capital and are estimated to be ~$40/ t ore, based on preliminary flotation test results and benchmarking to the nearby Ҫӧpler sulfide plant. Pit slope angles vary from 42°- 48° Internal Ramp Angle dependent azimuth as recommended by Golder for the geotechnical stability of the pits. The average sulfur grade for the sulfide resource is 3.1%. Mineral
Resources have demonstrated reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction by falling within an economic pit shell, using the listed design parameters. The Corporation is not aware of any new information or data that materially affects the information included in these tables and that all material assumptions and technical parameters underpinning the estimates in these tables continue to apply and have not materially changed. Rounding differences will occur.
The Ardich gold property is a listwanite-dolomite hosted gold replacement deposit with mineralization occurring along thrust zones between listwanite, ophiolites, hornfels, dolomites and limestones. Mineralization and alteration extend in a NW-SE direction, parallel to major structures controlling both mineralization and block rotations. Gold grades increase at dolomite-listwanite contacts and within silica rich listwanites. The mineralization is predominantly oxide with sulfide mineralization confined to pyrite rich jasperoid zones. Based on available drill data, the main mineralized zone appears tabular and almost flat lying.
The Ardich mineralization and the Çakmaktepe North mineralization appear to be merged by a NE-SW trending fault. In addition, the Çakmaktepe East mineralization is extending to Ardich SE, which appears to be separated by a small unmineralized silica cap.
Figure 2. Ardich NW-SE conceptual section showing southeast extension of the gold mineralization.
The Mineral Resource estimate was based on a 3D geological solids model developed within constraining fault blocks. Lithological units are shifted within each fault block. Gold mineralization was modeled along the geologic contacts and fault zones. Mineralized zones were used to generate a block model estimate of the deposit mineralization. Model construction used drill data and surface mapping interpretation through October 1, 2019. The block model contains estimated grades for gold, sulfur and carbon. Ardich contains trace occurrences of silver and copper. These two elements are not present to a level necessary for grade estimation and inclusion into pit shell economics.
Conventional heap leach processing recovery estimates are based on the most current information available through three phases of test work, including column leach testing. Metallurgically, the deposit was originally divided into two zones, Main and East, as well as being divided by lithology and sulfur grade. In early 72-hour bottle roll testing at a crush size of 80% -12.5 mm the East Zone showed somewhat lower recoveries than the Main Zone. However, this recovery differential was not apparent in the most recently completed full duration column leach test results, and the zonal distinction between Main and East has therefore been dropped for this resource update. Potential zonal effects will continue to be monitored in future test work on new drill intervals from the SE extension drilling currently underway.
Ores with sulfur grades below 1% and potentially up to 2%, have been shown to be amenable to conventional heap leaching. Metallurgical recoveries vary by rock type and sulfur content. After applying a 96% adjustment factor for expected full scale heap leach recoveries versus laboratory column test results, these recoveries range from 40% (for higher sulfur ores) to 76% with a resource weighted average 63%.
Extensive geotechnical logging data from 150 holes (Mining Rock Mass Rating (“MRMR”), Rock Quality Designation, Fracture frequency, Plate Load Test results, discontinuity description) provided to Golder to estimate the Rock Mass Classification. Discontinuity orientations are collected from acoustic televiewer surveys. Golder defined 6 geotechnical domains in the Ardich resource area.
Initial floatation test work has been completed for sulfide material from which a gold concentrate can be produced in addition to cyanide leach recovery from tailings. Sulfide material is considered as ores with sulfur grades greater than 2% and those which are not amenable to heap leaching. Metallurgical recoveries are estimated to range from 73% – 77% with costs based on completed studies to date and industry benchmarking.
A pit shell was evaluated using Whittle, based on $1,500/ounce gold price for the Ardich Mineral Resource estimate. Inputs for the pit shell generation include the most current information available for geotechnical conditions, operating costs, reagent consumptions, and metallurgical recoveries.
Ardich Resource Sensitivity by Nested Shell
Mineral Resource pit shell optimization was completed using Whittle with the inputs as listed above (Table 1). Internal cut-off grades for oxide ore range from 0.30 – 0.50 g/t Au and sulfide ore is set at 1.1 g/t Au. Cut-off grades were calculated using a $1,500/oz gold price, processing recoveries, and processing costs as inputs.
Assay results were available for 175 holes totaling 29,572 m. An additional 41 core holes totaling 9,828 m were completed after the cutoff date for this resource estimation study and so are not reported here. The company is currently drilling the 223rd hole. All drilling was diamond core using either HQ (63.5mm in diameter) or PQ (85mm in diameter) or rarely NQ (47.6mm in diameter) core sizes.
These holes were used to define the Mineral Resource estimate. In addition, MRMR geotechnical logging was completed for the majority of the Ardich holes. Samples were also collected for metallurgical testing to evaluate processing options.
Exploration is focused on mineralization located to the SE of the discovery area and the newly defined Mineral Resource. Current work includes:
Opportunities exist to process Ardich ores at either the existing Ҫӧpler plant facilities or to ultimately construct standalone processing facilities at Ardich. Construction is underway for the first 6Mt stage of expansion of the Çöpler heap leach pad and engineering is almost complete for subsequent phases of the expansion to a total of about 25Mt capacity. Construction of subsequent phases of the Çöpler heap leach pad expansion will only be committed to as part of a development of Ardich or other near-mine oxide resource. Standalone oxide processing facilities of varying size (some >50Mt) have also been conceptualized in a preliminary scoping study. A study team is working on the various options and we will share these when the development pathways are clarified.
Metallurgical Test Work
A three-phase metallurgical testing program was conducted by McClelland Laboratories, Inc. (Sparks, NV, USA), under the guidance of Metallurgium. All three phases comprising bottle roll cyanide leaching tests and column leach tests have been finalized with good recovery results. The final column leach test results were evaluated to derive projected commercial heap leach performance parameters. The projected performance parameters are summarized in Table 2. A factor of 0.96 (i.e. 4% discount) was applied to the McClelland Laboratories’ average column leach test gold extractions by ore type to allow for scale-up from columns to a commercial heap operation. The weighted average recovery is estimated at 63% for the heap leach ore.
Table 2. Ardich Metallurgy Parameters for Resource Estimation
|Ardich Processing Recoveries|
|Mining Area||Ore Type||Rock Type||Processing Recovery|
|Ardich||Oxide (S% <1%)||Listwanite||73.0||%|
|Ardich – High Sulfur||Oxide (S% ≥1% & <2%)||Listwanite||58.0||%|
Alacer is a leading low-cost intermediate gold producer whose primary focus is to leverage its cornerstone Çöpler Gold Mine and strong balance sheet as foundations to continue its organic multi-mine growth strategy, maximize free cash flow and therefore create maximum value for shareholders. The Çöpler Gold Mine is located in east-central Turkey in the Erzincan Province, approximately 1,100 km SE from Istanbul and 550km east from Ankara, Turkey’s capital city.
Alacer continues to pursue opportunities to further expand its current operating base to become a sustainable multi-mine producer with a focus on Turkey. The Çöpler Mine is processing ore through two producing plants. With the recent completion of the sulfide plant, the Çöpler Mine will produce over 3.5 million ounces for approximately the next 20 years.1
The systematic and focused exploration efforts in the Çöpler District have been successful as evidenced by the newly discovered Ardich deposit. The Çöpler District remains the focus, with the goal of continuing to grow oxide resources that will deliver production into the future. In the other regions of Turkey, targeted exploration work continues at a number of highly prospective exploration targets.
Alacer is a Canadian company incorporated in the Yukon Territory with its primary listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The Company also has a secondary listing on the Australian Securities Exchange where CHESS Depositary Interests trade. Alacer owns an 80% interest in the world-class Çöpler Gold Mine in Turkey operated by Anagold Madencilik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. and the remaining 20% owned by Lidya Madencilik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S.
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