• Diamond drilling indicates porphyry copper system at depth within the El Pilar intrusive
  • Shallow 7000m resource definition program continues ahead of Nueva Sabana mine development on the overlying oxide deposit
  • Antilles to invest a portion of profits from near term mine developments into exploration of large copper targets

  

Antilles Gold has been buoyed by diamond drilling indicating that a porphyry copper system is present at depth within the El Pilar intrusive in central Cuba.

The first three holes, aimed at locating the ‘core’ of the El Pilar porphyry intrusive, demonstrate strong copper results in the oxide zone, and evidence of copper minerals chalcopyrite and chalcocite as well as fingers of early porphyry in the underlying sulphide zone.

Antilles Gold (ASX:AAU) exploration director, Dr Christian Grainger, and his geological team in Cuba will undertake further structural interpretation based on the porphyry intrusions intersected to date, and the levels of mineralisation in each before locating the remaining three diamond holes in this program.

This potentially large copper-gold porphyry system at El Pilar is ‘capped’ by a gold-copper oxide deposit, which is currently being drilled via a 7000m program to establish a resource for a proposed near-term mine, called Nueva Sabana.

Antilles, a leader in the emergent Cuba mining sector, expects to develop several projects via joint ventures with the Government’s mining company, GeoMinera SA.

It has two near term projects in the pipeline, La Demajagua and Nueva Sabana.

La Demajagua will produce ~80,000 oz Au Eq annually as gold, antimony, and silver concentrates for 9 years, with possible underground operation to follow.

Nueva Sabana will initially produce +50g/t Au gold concentrate followed by ~25% Cu copper concentrate.

The JV partners plan to invest a portion of the profits from these 2024-25 mine developments into exploration of large copper targets, including the El Pilar porphyry system.

 

Drilling towards a resource at Nueva Sabana

Earlier this month, the company noted that it had completed about 3,000m of the oxide drill program with assays such as 13m grading 2.12% copper from a down-hole depth of 80m (PDH-025) as well as 5m at 1.46% copper from 40m and 48m at 0.66% copper from 68m (PDH-026) reinforcing the prospect of developing Nueva Sabana.

This follows assays released in late July which highlighted thick, shallow and high-grade gold from the overlying and outcropping gold domain, that extends from surface to a depth of between 40m to 50m.

Notable examples were 12m at 4.8 grams per tonne (g/t) gold from surface and 24m at 2g/t gold from 5m.

Antilles noted that while the oxide gold zone is reasonably well defined at El Pilar, the extensive shallow artisanal mining for gold within the mining concession indicates that further pit locations will be identified in the future.

It added that the underlying copper zone is increasing in volume both laterally and vertically with continuing exploration and is expected to project into the underlying porphyry sulphides.

Importantly, results from the company’s exploration to date along with selected results from 24,000m of historical drilling have served to reinforce the prospect of near-term development of the proposed low capex mine.

Should Antilles decided to proceed with its development, Nueva Sabana could deliver surplus cash flow as soon as early 2025, which will help fund expanded copper exploration by the company and its Cuban partner GeoMinera.

 

A copper drought

 A porphyry discovery across Antilles’ mineral-rich landholding would be welcomed by the industry, which is predicting a future market deficit that could total 6Mt by the end of the decade.

This is due to waning output from major producer Chile, new mines proving costly to bring online and a dearth new discoveries.

“Significantly higher prices” may be the only way to rebalance the copper market, ANZ’s Daniel Hynes and Soni Kumari say.

 

The road ahead

Antilles has a busy schedule ahead with ongoing drilling of the gold-copper oxide zone as well as drilling of the remaining deeper holes once the interpretation work is completed.

This is aimed at advancing the development of Nueva Sabana which the joint venture plans to commence in the second quarter of 2024, which could in turn lead to first cash flow in early 2025 following a 10-month mine construction period.

Highlighting their confidence in the exploration results received to date, the JV has already started permitting for the mine development, which is forecast to cost US$20m for a mine with a mining rate of 500,000tpa of ore.

Negotiations have also commenced with an international commodities trader to arrange an advance on sales of gold concentrate for a similar amount in order to fund the project.

Dr Grainger will present his views on the potential of the company’s copper properties in Cuba in a webinar to be held on 21 August 2023.

 

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.