RUSSIA A preliminary economic assessment of the Kupol gold and silver project at Chukotka, in the northeastern part of Russia, indicates that it can be developed as a high grade, low cost producer, says BEMA GOLD of Vancouver.
The study was based on one summer season of exploration at the Kupol property, where Bema identified a preliminary mineral resource containing 1.8 million oz of gold and 19 million oz of silver in the indicated category. The inferred category contains a further 4.2 million oz of gold and 56 million oz of silver. While some parts of the study (including metallurgical design, logistics, plant and infrastructure) are advanced well beyond what is required for a preliminary assessment, the study has been based on indicated and inferred resources, which therefore makes it "preliminary" by definition.
The study assumes an initial 12-year mine life based on the drilling to date. The total pre-production capital cost is estimated at $280.1 million, which includes $221.3 million for construction of the plant facilities, tailings pond, owners costs and pre-stripping, and $58.8 million in working capital. Open pit mine equipment, as well as an initial underground mining fleet is assumed to be arranged by way of a capital equipment lease at a total cost of $58.7 million.
Kupol would begin life as a 4,300-tonnes/day open pit for two years, processing 3,200 tonnes/day and stockpiling lower grade ore. From years three to seven, the mill would treat a combination of open pit, underground and stockpiled ore. Mill throughput would decline to 2,200 tonnes/day during the final four years.
Bema has begun a 57,000-metre infill drilling program to prove up and expand the mineral resource.
Details of the Kupol program and Bema’s Monument Bay gold project in Manitoba are available at www.bema.com.