Alba Mineral Resources plc (AIM: ALBA), the diversified mineral exploration and development company, is pleased to provide an update on the Company’s field activities.
- Work activities at Clogau Gold Project have resumed following easing of COVID-19 lockdown.
- The priority for Clogau for the remainder of 2020 will be the execution of an underground bulk sampling programme, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals.
- The first bulk sample will be processed off-site at an accredited processing facility in the UK. Thereafter, Alba will establish its own dedicated pilot processing plant.
- Amitsoq drilling programme deferred until 2021.
Alba’s Executive Chairman, George Frangeskides, commented:
“We are delighted to be back on site at Clogau. We have a team currently carrying out underground sampling and 3D scanning and refining our targets for underground bulk sampling and drilling. The bulk samples we take will initially be processed at a third-party facility offsite, but in the meantime we will look to establish our own dedicated pilot processing plant capable of processing three tonnes of material per hour or around 400 tonnes per month.”
Bulk Sampling Programme
The coronavirus pandemic and the associated restrictions imposed in England & Wales in recent months has resulted in Alba’s team not being able to undertake the planned work activities on site at Clogau during this time. However, with the recent easing of the lockdown measures, Alba’s exploration team has now returned to site and commenced the next phase of work.
The upcoming work at the Clogau-St David’s Mine (the “Mine”) will be focused on extracting several bulk samples from target areas within the existing mine development. As the gold at Clogau is highly nuggety and contained in narrow quartz veins, bulk sampling is typically deployed in order to obtain a representative idea of gold content across a particular vein or zone.
The bulk sampling exercise will be undertaken in conjunction with the underground rock chip sampling, channel sampling and drilling programmes described below. The Company will look to extract approximately 5-10 tonnes of material from a number of target zones. The target zones (indicated on the map in Figure 2 of the PDF version of this announcement) are subject to further refinement as results are obtained from the Company’s ongoing exploration activities within the Mine.
This work is directly aimed at identifying unexploited gold zones and known payshoot extensions within the Mine which will support a decision to reopen the Mine for long-term commercial production.
Subject to the timely receipt of regulatory approvals, it is intended to undertake the first phase of the bulk sampling programme in around September of this year.
Other Work Plans
Other work activities which will be rolled out at Clogau for the remainder of this year include the following:
(1) Processing of Bulk Samples
As the gold within the Clogau Gold Mine is “free gold”, meaning that the majority of the gold is not bound up with other minerals within the quartz veining, it only requires simple processing to liberate the gold, involving crushing and screening followed by gravity recovery.
Alba intends to process the first bulk sample of around 3-5 tonnes of material at a third-party mineral processing facility in the UK.
In the longer-term, however, the Company intends to establish its own pilot processing facility either at the mine site or close to it, capable of supporting a 3 tonne per hour operation. The Company has obtained firm quotes for the capital items required to establish the pilot plant, and a suitable site has been identified. The Company intends the plant to be operational by early Q4 2020, subject to the timely receipt of regulatory approvals and no delays being encountered in the shipment of those items of plant which are being sourced from overseas.
(2) Underground chip and channel sampling and 3D scanning
This work has now commenced. Underground sampling is being undertaken to refine the targets for bulk sampling and drilling. At the same time, Alba will be completing the 3D-scanning of the mine workings at the Llechfraith level, to enable the existing 3D mine model to be completed. The completion of this work is an important step for establishment of geological targets and mine planning purposes.
(3) Underground Drilling
Drilling in a narrow-veined setting such as Clogau is an efficient way to explore for extensions of an existing ore body. Drilling depths will likely be between 50-100m, as drilling from within the existing mine development means that holes can be significantly shorter than they would be from surface.
The current targets for underground drilling are indicated in Figure 3 of the PDF version of this announcement . These are subject to refinement in the final drill plan. The programme will likely involve around 5-10 holes for a total of around 500 metres.
Subject to the timely receipt of regulatory approvals, the Company intends to commence the first phase of the underground (“UG”) drilling programme in around September of this year.
(4) Surface trenching of the Dolgellau Gold Belt (“DGB”)
As regards the Company’s regional exploration of the DGB, as previously reported Alba’s 2019 regional geochemical soil sampling programme resulted in 10 significant anomalies being identified away from all known major mines and gold mineralisation being confirmed over about a six-mile section of the DGB (see Figure 4 in the PDF version of this announcement).
As previously announced, the next phase of work over the DGB will involve the surface trenching of a selection of those 10 new gold targets. Given that the anomalous gold-in-soil values may indicate elevated gold grades in the underlying strata, the purpose of the trenching is to remove the soil cover and expose the underlying bedrock and all quartz outcrops. Eight trenches have been planned in this first phase, each varying in length from 40-90m for a total of 575m, with each trench being 1m wide and up to 2m deep. Once exposed, the quartz veining will be sampled, and those samples sent to a laboratory for assaying.
Upon receipt of planning approval for the surface trenching programme, which is awaited, the Company intends to carry out this programme in Q4 of this year.
Other activities currently under investigation by the Company include the sampling of the historical waste dump at Clogau and the dewatering of the Lower Llechfraith mine area, which was the area targeted by the Company’s short drilling programme in late 2019.
The Llechfraith mine area (see Figure 5 in the PDF version of this announcement) has been identified as the one of the best targets within the existing mine workings. Alba’s drilling has confirmed that the known gold-bearing geological setting continues below the deepest workings at Level 4.
Only the higher workings at Llechfraith are currently accessible, the levels below Level 2 being flooded. Dewatering the main Llechfraith shaft would enable the Company to access areas where visible gold has been mapped. Ongoing geochemical monitoring of the water within and adjacent to the workings has so far indicated that the underground water is benign and that any contaminants are within acceptable levels.
In the Company’s announcement of 31 March 2020, it was reported that the COVID-19 pandemic had placed considerable doubt on Alba’s ability to execute its planned field activities this year. By way of an update, the Company can now confirm that it will not now be practicable to execute a drilling programme at Amitsoq during the current summer field season. This drilling programme will therefore be stood over to 2021. The additional time will be fully utilised to complete further metallurgical and other studies and to refine drill targets as necessary prior to the commencement of the programme next year.
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.
Forward Looking Statements
This announcement contains forward-looking statements relating to expected or anticipated future events and anticipated results that are forward-looking in nature and, as a result, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, such as general economic, market and business conditions, competition for qualified staff, the regulatory process and actions, technical issues, new legislation, uncertainties resulting from potential delays or changes in plans, uncertainties resulting from working in a new political jurisdiction, uncertainties regarding the results of exploration, uncertainties regarding the timing and granting of prospecting rights, uncertainties regarding the Company’s or any third party’s ability to execute and implement future plans, and the occurrence of unexpected events. Actual results achieved may vary from the information provided herein as a result of numerous known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors.
Competent Person Declaration
The information in this release that relates to Exploration Results has been reviewed by Mr Mark Austin. Mr Austin is a member of SACNASP (Reg. No. 400235/06), Fellow of The Geological Society and Fellow of the Geological Society of South Africa. He has a B.Sc. Honours in Geology with 38 years’ experience.
Mark Austin has sufficient experience that is relevant to the style of mineralisation and type of deposit under consideration and to the activity being undertaken to qualify as a Competent Person as defined in the 2012 Edition of the ‘Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration targets, Exploration Results, Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves’, also known as the JORC Code. The JORC code is a national reporting organisation that is aligned with CRIRSCO. Mr Austin consents to the inclusion in the announcement of the matters based on his information in the form and context in which they appear.
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