LAKEFIELD GEOSOL LABAORATORIOS has been awarded the contract to design, commission and operate an independent testing laboratory at the Jacobina mine site in Bahia, Brazil. The project is operated by DESERT SUN MINING of Toronto. The new lab will test production ores, definition drillcore, metallurgical samples, and water for environmental monitoring. The lab will be run according to ISO 9001:2000 standards. Lakefield Geosol is a joint venture of SGS LAKEFIELD RESEARCH of Lakefield, Ont., and GEOSOL GEOLOGICA E SONDAGEMS LTDA of Brazil. Desert Sun is readying the Jacobina gold deposit for production in 2005 at a rate of over 700,000 oz/year.
ERDENE GOLD of Halifax has signed a geophysical survey contract with FUGRO AIRBORNE SURVEYS PTY of Australia. Fugro will provide its PAC Cresco 750 aircraft equipped for both magnetic and radiometric surveys. Surveying will begin in June 2004 and cover about 3,500 km at a 400-metre spacing. A 5,000-metre diamond drilling contract was awarded to CAN-ASIA DRILLING SERVICES of Vancouver. Erdene is investigating the gold/copper potential of porphyry targets on its Virgin property in Mongolia.
A pre-feasibility study on the Maoling gold deposit in China is being prepared by AMEC for MUNDORO MINING of Vancouver. AMEC's work will include environmental baseline sampling and studies; metallurgical testing to compare heap leaching and conventional milling results; geotechnical studies; updating the geology and grade block models for Zone 1 and Zone 4; pre-feasibility mine design for Zone 1; process engineering, infrastructure requirements; and financial analyses. The study is expected to be completed in early 2005. Mundoro has a 79% interest in the Maoling project, and the local provincial government holds the remainder. Three outcropping deposits discovered on the property have a combined estimated resource of 25.9 million tonnes grading 1.3 g/t Au.
ALLAN SPECTOR & ASSOCIATES of Toronto is conducting a gravity survey of the Baird gold property. UNITED BOLERO DEVELOPMENT of Vancouver has the right to earn a 50% interest in the property from SOLITAIRE MINERALS by spending $500,000 over a three-year period. The property is adjoins the former Madsen gold mine near Red Lake, Ont., and results of the survey are expected in two or three weeks.
The $27.75 million EPCM contract for Toronto-based CRYSTALLEX INTERNATIONAL's Las Cristinas gold mine development has been awarded to SNC-LAVALIN ENGINEERS AND CONSTRUCTORS. The engineering firm became involved in the Venezuelan project in 2003, completing the feasibility study last September. Although the Las Cristinas project has been at the centre of legal wrangling over who has the right to develop it, Crystallex says it will be producing in 2006. The company says proven and probable reserves in two pits total about 223.9 million tonnes averaging 1.33 g/t Au. The project received development approval on March 8, 2004.