Antilles Gold is moving forward on the development of two Cuban gold projects next year which could fund future copper exploration
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Antilles Gold has its sights set on developing its pipeline of copper and gold projects in Cuba thanks to its 50:50 mining joint venture with the Cuban Government’s mining company, GeoMinera SA.
“We are a first mover investing in the emerging mining sector in Cuba because it is mineral rich, extensively explored, but under-developed, and our partnership with GeoMinera has led to numerous opportunities for copper and gold projects,” Antilles Gold (ASX:AAU) Executive Chairman Brian Johnson said.
The plan is to fund a copper porphyry hunt at El Pilar in central Cuba via the development of the Nueva Sabana and La Demajagua gold mines.
“The Government is strongly supportive of foreign investment in the mining sector, and has waived income tax and import duties for the joint ventures with GeoMinera,” Johnson said.
“Another benefit of our relationship with GeoMinera is that permitting is de-risked.”
The joint venture Company, Minera La Victoria, anticipates financing the Nueva Sabana and La Demajagua mines by advances from concentrate buyers, and deferred payments to suppliers of plant and equipment.
Construction of the US$20 million Nueva Sabana open pit mine is expected to commence in Q2 2024 and produce the company’s first cash flow from early 2025. The mine is expected to initially produce +50g/t gold concentrate followed by ~25% copper concentrate.
The La Demajagua mine, which has a Mineral Resource Estimate of 905,000 oz Au equiv for the first stage open pit, will produce approximately 80,000oz Au equiv pa in ~50,000tpa of a 32g/t gold concentrate, and ~5500tpa of concentrate containing 49g/t gold, 46% antimony, and 2,200g/t silver, for nine years.
This is expected to be followed by underground operations.
The Definitive Feasibility Study for the project is nearing completion which should allow construction to kick off by mid 2024.
Recent ground magnetics and Induced Polarisation surveys have identified a cluster of three porphyry intrusives over a 2km strike length in central Cuba (El Pilar, Gaspar, and Camilo).
Porphyry deposits can be monsters and are responsible for ~60 per cent of the world’s copper, most of its molybdenum, and significant amounts of gold and silver.
An initial exploration program of 6 diamond drill holes on the El Pilar intrusive is underway. Cores from the first 3 holes have indicated copper minerals chalcopyrite and chalcocite, and assays have evidenced fingers of early porphyry.
Drilling on the porphyry system will then be suspended while the terms of a majority owned joint venture with GeoMinera are finalised, after which the concession will be transferred from an Exploration Agreement to the joint venture company.
Antilles plans to accelerate drilling of the porphyry system in 2024, to locate the core of the El Pilar porphyry intrusive, and will broaden the campaign to include the Gaspar and Camilo intrusives.
“Part of the company’s forecast share of surplus cash from the Nueva Sabana, and La Demajagua mines (~A$45M annually), could significantly advance our copper exploration strategy.” Johnson said.
“We may also apply any proceeds from the recently completed arbitration of A$45 million of contractual claims against the Dominican Republic Government from a previous project, to assist in funding the copper exploration.”
Antilles Gold’s Exploration Agreement with GeoMinera also covers three highly prospective copper concessions in the Sierra Maestra copper belt – host to the El Cobre copper mine which has operated since 1540:
The concessions incorporate a series of copper-gold-molybdenum zones that display significant footprints of hydrothermal alteration normally associated with potentially large porphyry systems.
The plan is to commence exploration at Sierra Maestra in 2024.
“There is an opportunity for exceptional growth in value of Antilles Gold through its majority interest in the El Pilar copper porphyry system, and the three highly prospective concessions in the Sierra Maestra copper belt,” Johnson said.
“Antilles could potentially sell all, or part, of its majority holding in the El Pilar copper joint venture in 2 to 3 years if future drilling enhances the value of the asset, and in fact, we’ve already been approached by interested major companies.”
“The Company will not have a direct economic interest in any property held in the Exploration Agreement until it is transferred to a joint venture, which is the intention of both Antilles Gold, and GeoMinera.”
This article was developed in collaboration with Antilles Gold Limited, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.