VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA– Entrée Gold Inc. (TSX:ETG)(NYSE MKT:EGI)(FRANKFURT:EKA) announces the commencement of pre-feasibility drilling at its 100% owned Ann Mason project in the Yerington district of Nevada. Completion of this drill program will significantly advance the Ann Mason deposit along a development timeline and is a major step towards a pre-feasibility study (“PFS”).
The drill program is designed to upgrade the mineral resources contained in the 2012 Preliminary Economic Assessment Phase 5 pit (“2012 PEA” – see News Release of October 24, 2012) from indicated and inferred to a mix of measured and indicated categories. Upgrading the Phase 5 pit resources to the measured and indicated categories will be a significant milestone for Entrée and will be essential for the preparation of the project’s first reserve estimates and for determining the economic viability of the deposit.
Greg Crowe, President and CEO of Entrée stated, “The Ann Mason deposit contains the largest National Instrument 43-101 defined resource in the Yerington area and the commencement of pre-feasibility drilling is the next step in moving this sizeable deposit towards development. Investors are seeking opportunities that balance risk and reward. A critical step in de-risking a mineral resource asset is to undertake pre-feasibility and feasibility studies.”
This initial stage of the PFS will entail infill drilling in the Ann Mason deposit and consist of approximately 14,000 metres of pre-collar reverse circulation and diamond drilling in 31 holes. The program has an estimated budget of approximately US$5 million and is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. The Company then expects to issue an updated resource estimate in the first quarter of 2015.
The 2012 PEA envisions a 24 year conventional open pit mine and sulphide flotation mill operating at 100,000 tonnes per day and is based on mineralization contained within the Phase 5 pit. Over the life of mine, the 2012 PEA estimates average copper recovery of approximately 93%, producing a clean, 30% copper concentrate with average annual production of 214 million pounds of copper. There is potential to increase the mine life of Ann Mason through additional drilling and engineering studies. Readers are reminded that the 2012 PEA is preliminary in nature and includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have the economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves, and there is no certainty that the 2012 PEA will be realized.
The Company believes there is growing interest in low to moderate grade open pit copper deposits similar to Ann Mason. This is evidenced by the recent activity in the copper space such as HudBay’s acquisition of Augusta Resources and First Quantum’s takeover of Lumina Copper.
Greg Crowe further commented, “Advancing Ann Mason to the pre-feasibility stage could demonstrate the viability of Ann Mason as a long life deposit, ripe for development in an environment of declining global copper reserves. Projects in stable jurisdictions like Nevada continue to attract attention, as seen by Freeport-McMoRan’s recent entry into the Yerington district. We believe that Ann Mason is extremely well positioned going forward, given its proximity to a historic copper mining camp and the necessary infrastructure in one of the top mining jurisdictions in the world.”
For more information, visit www.entreegold.com.