Test work demonstrates saleable gold concentrate grades for Antilles’ proposed Nueva Sabana mine
Metallurgical test work on drill cores from the gold domain of Antilles Gold’s El Pilar oxide deposit in Cuba has demonstrated a marketable gold concentrate can be produced from the proposed Nueva Sabana mine.
The test work anticipates gold content in the concentrate of 54.8 g/t from an ore sample with a head grade of 2.20 g/t, with 84% gold recovery to the concentrate, based on a simple floatation circuit.
Antilles Gold (ASX:AAU) says this indicates a very saleable, clean product with minimal quantities of contaminants antimony, arsenic, and mercury.
In fact, a potential buyer of the concentrate has already indicated payables of ~95% for the gold content at prevailing gold prices, along with a reasonable processing fee.
Ongoing test work is now focused on cores from the underlying copper domain, which is expected to establish recoveries, and the copper concentrate grade.
Importantly, if the upcoming Nueva Sabana mineral resource estimate establishes a gold grade higher than 2.20 g/t Au, test work has shown there would be a corresponding increase in the concentrate grade.
The Nueva Sabana project is held in a 50:50 joint venture with the Cuban Government’s mining company, GeoMinera, a relationship which the company says de-risks permitting.
The joint venture company, Minera La Victoria SA (MLV) planning to commence construction for the low cost US$20 million open pit mine in Q2 2024.
It’s anticipated that financing Nueva Sabana – and the following La Demajagua mine – will be achieved via advances from concentrate buyers, and deferred payments to suppliers of plant and equipment.
MLV has commenced discussions with a major commodity trader to procure ~US$20M of financing for Nueva Sabana through advances on gold concentrate purchases.
Antilles’ contributions to the project will consist of a US$1M loan to MLV for preliminary drilling, metallurgical test work, and financial modelling in 2022, along with a US$1.5M subscription for a 50% shareholding in MLV (currently being spent on pre-development activities), and a possible additional shareholders loan to MLV of US$1.5M to meet general overheads, and interest during the 10 month construction period.
The mine is expected to initially produce +50g/t gold concentrate followed by ~25% copper concentrate, and while only a small project, Antilles is confident it could provide significant returns, with initial cash flow from early 2025, on a total outlay of only US$4.0M.
Antilles notes that outstanding gold grades from approximately 5,000m of recent drilling of the El Pilar oxide deposit together with selected results from 24,000m of historic drilling, and 4,000m yet to be completed, should allow the Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for the proposed mine to be completed by the end of 2023.
The gold-copper oxide deposit being drilled to establish the Nueva Sabana MRE ‘caps’ a recently discovered porphyry copper system at depth within the El Pilar intrusive, which is being investigated with deeper drilling.
The joint venture partners intend to invest part of the expected surplus cash flow from early mine developments to fund exploration of major copper targets, including the El Pilar copper-gold porphyry system.
In the meantime, the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the La Demajagua mine is nearing completion, which should allow construction to kick off by mid 2024.
La Demajagua has a MRE of 905,000 oz Au equiv for the first stage open pit, and 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 article was developed in collaboration with Antilles Gold, 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.