Frustrated PanTerra puts Dominican Republic gold plant up for sale
PanTerra Gold has put its Dominican Republic gold processing plant up for sale after failing to win support from the local government for its future plans.
PanTerra’s (ASX:PGI) share price fell back to its 52-week low of 3.5c on Tuesday morning.
PanTerra had been planning to continue operating the Las Lagunas process plant using imported concentrate after the current tailings retreatment project comes to an end in mid-2019.
“The company has been frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm or engagement by the government on the proposal for the past two years, and has decided that, unless there is a marked change in demonstrated support for the proposal in the near term, the concept will be abandoned,” PanTerra told investors.
The company is now considering bids from interested parties in the second quarter of 2018 for the 200,000 tonne per annum processing plant when it becomes redundant in mid-2019.
The plant uses a sulphide oxidation process developed in Australia to oxidise refractory ores to allow the recovery of precious and base metals using conventional extraction technology.
PanTerra will also step up its effort to identify potential opportunities to introduce the Albion oxidation process in China, and is progressing opportunities for possible joint ventures with several mining companies holding refractory ore bodies in Portugal and Spain.
The Las Lagunas plant has delivered the company a “disappointing financial performance” largely due to poor gold recovery (63 per cent) from the low-grade (10 grams per tonne) concentrate that can be produced from the refractory tailings.
However, PanTerra is confident that a clean concentrate from mined sulphide ore will have a higher gold grade of over 40 grams with a much better recovery rate of over 90 per cent.
This occurs at a Russian mining company’s Albion/carbon-in-leach process plant in Armenia, and has been replicated on a number of concentrates tested at PanTerra’s pilot plant in the Dominican Republic, the company noted.
PanTerra’s shares closed down 2.8 per cent on Monday following the news.