BAKER LAKE, Nunavut Results of a reassessment of the Meadowbank gold project point toward an open pit development and indicate an even better economic outlook for the project. Meadowbank is 100%-owned by CUMBERLAND RESOURCES of Vancouver (www.cumberlandresources.com).
A feasibility study for Meadowbank was begun in October 2002, using the parameters of an earlier study that indicated 85% of the 250,000-oz/year output would come from the Vault pit and the remainder from underground. Revisions, compiled by AMEC, to the pit reserve indicate that the need to develop the deposit from underground may be deferred for at least 10 years or eliminated altogether.
The new figures represent a substantial improvement in profitability for the project. As revised in May 2003, the Vault pit contains 4.1 million tonnes of measured and indicated material at 3.59 g/t Au plus an inferred resource of 3.1 million tonnes at 3.63 g/t. As envisioned in January 2002, the pit would have been designed around 1.66 million inferred tonnes at 3.74 g/t Au.
The results from the latest metallurgical studies are equally encouraging. Work done at SGS LAKEFIELD RESEARCH indicates that Meadowbank ore is amenable to whole ore leaching rather than complex bulk sulphide flotation as used in the initial tests. Whole ore leaching would reduce reagent consumption by 90% and cut 10% from primary grind energy consumption while keeping the gold recovery rate above 93%.
Cumberland has committed $10.5 million to be spent on Meadowbank this year. Feasibility-level engineering, more drilling and environmental studies are planned. Total measured and indicated resources at the project are 12.3 million tonnes at 5.0 g/t Au and inferred resources of 9.29 million tonnes at 4.2 g/t Au.