Noricum Gold Limited (LON:NMG) Managing Director Greg Kuenzel caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the first batch results from Kvemo Bolnisi, further drilling at Tsitel Sopeli and copper mineralisation
Q1: This morning we saw some exciting results from the first batch of drill holes, can you provide us with a recap of what you’ve found?
A1: Noricum Gold’s current drill programme is approximately 19 hole programme focussed on Kvemo Bolnisi in Georgia, it’s one of two areas that we’ve basically prioritised for the work we’re doing at the moment. It has a big existing drill defined resource on it but our current focus is on a starter pit target that we’ve identified there, this is one of two; we’ve identified one at Kvemo Bolnisi and one at Tsitel Sopeli, and these are areas that I guess are separate to the main larger mineralised ore body but that presented us with a very attractive easy cheap and quick possibility to go into production. This is a secondary quartzite gold mineralised zone, the mineralisation is basically from surface down to at depth around 10 metres but most of the drill holes are around 6/7 metres so it’s not very deep, as I said it’s at surface so there is effectively no stripping and with reasonably good gold grades. The historic drilling that’s been done over the last year or two has all come in around the 5.5/6/7 grams a tonne and these first two drill holes that we announced today are at a similar grades, 4 metres at 5.9, 4.8 at 1, so these are really encouraging drill results and they will continue to add to the resource model that we’re building internally and to put together this first starter pit that we are confident that we’ll have in production by early second half of this year.
Q2: So your focus now is to complete the drilling followed by modelling and then mine planning, sounds straight forward and with high grade gold so close to surface, is there any chance of running into problems?
A2: It’s straight forward from a number of aspects I guess, first of all it’s a great at surface target which effectively means it’s easy to mine, it’s cheap to mine but again, what really sets this apart is the fact that our local partner has two existing gold mines, one 5 kilometres away from Kvemo Bolnisi, an existing heap leach operation there, they’ve been mining this same type of secondary quartzite material for thirty years so the metallurgy and the processing is very very well understood. Noricum Gold have a mining licence, we’re within the footprint of a lot of environmental work that’s being done historically on the existing mines so there’s only limited work we need to do there. It is simply a matter of once we’re comfortable with the grades, with the resource and the pit design of digging out the ore and trucking it to our local partners’ facilities. It’s a simple operation, it’s a heap leach so we’re not talking about a complicated processing and as with most heap leaches anywhere in the world the process doesn’t really change so from a cost perspective, it’s about as low cost as you can get.
Q3: Now whilst this is going on, you’re currently modelling the near surface copper mineralisation, how’s that looking, what are the next steps there?
A3: Once we finish the drilling at Kvemo Bolnisi, we’ll be moving on to do some further drilling at Tsitel Sopeli which is the second of the secondary quartzite high grade gold at surface mineralised bodies that we’d like to have ready to come on line soon after we get Kvemo Bolnisi into production. We will also be getting started on some geophysics work over the next couple of weeks to look at expanding out this new copper ore bodies that we located late last year and this is another interesting example of the potential we have in Georgia at these projects. Kvemo Bolnisi was drilled by our local partner a couple of years ago, from the prospective of a gold target they didn’t assay the drill cores for copper, as part of our JORC conversion work which is also going on in the background, we’ve been re-assaying all of this existing drill core and we’re not only assaying for gold but for multi-elements as well. We discovered late last year some very very exciting copper grades at Kvemo Bolnisi, 40 metres at 2.1% copper, 80 at 0.7, those two intercepts included 5 metres at close to 10, 15 metres at 1.1, 7 metres at 4 and again, all of these are very close to surface running from the mineralisation starting from around 20 metres. So this is a really exciting high grade copper ore body which is our third phase of early stage production and again, leverage is off the fact our local partner has an existing copper mine, has an existing plant which is only being used at around 50% capacity so it presents us with a great opportunity to be able to mine this copper ore and feed it into a partner’s existing plant. So it’s a style of mineralisation that’s been proven to show up very clearly using geophysics methods so Noricum Gold will be starting a geophysics programme there in the coming weeks, that’ll be followed up with some drilling and we’ll be looking at putting together another resource over that copper ore body as we progress the work over the coming 6-12 months.