By YEHIURA HRIEHWAZI in Brisbane
DRILLING work at the new deposits at Simberi gold mine in New Ireland province continues to excite the developer, Allied Gold of Australia, with reserve estimates pumped up by 170%.
In the meantime, the company has entered into agreement for contractors to start work on its new plant that will increase from the current 70,000 ounces of gold at Simberi to 100,000oz by mid next year and with work already starting on its Gold Ridge Mine in the Solomon Islands, Allied Gold is on target to produce more than 200,000oz of gold by 2012.
The new resource estimate at Simberi’s Pigiput and Pigibo deposits shows a 170% increase in contained gold in measured and indicated categories compared with previous estimates.
A statement by Allied Gold said the estimate showed 48.1 million tonnes at 1.38 grams/tonne in measured and indicated categories for 2.08 million contained ounces of gold, using a 0.5 grams/tonne cut-off.
The statement said there were also 38.5 million inferred tonnes at 1.0 grams/tonne for 1.24 million ounces of gold and 86.6 million tonnes at 3.70 grams/tonne for 10.3 million ounces of silver.
It said that compared with the previous estimates, this represented a significant consolidation, with the equivalent of net 30.4 million tonnes at 1.34 grams/tonne gold converted to measured and indicated, and net expansion of total resources, by 29.4 million tonnes at 1.04 grams/tonne gold.
Total measured and indicated resources at Pigiput are estimated at 41 million tonnes at 1.38 grams/tonne gold for 1.82 million ounces of gold. At Pigibu total measured and indicated resources are 7.1 million tonnes at 1.18 grams/tonne gold for 270,000 ounces.
The statement said that phase three drilling is ongoing with efforts focused on testing down dip at Pigibo and the open north eastern side of Pigiput.
A further 17 diamond core holes for 4,360m, have been completed. The holes are part of a phased in-fill and step-out programme which started in May last year, designed to support the A$10 million (K26.5 million) sulphide and oxide expansion studies based around the Pigiput deposit. These studies target increasing annual total oxide and sulphide production to in excess of 200,000oz by 2012.
The statement said that a particular focus of the phase three programme was to test the presently open north-eastern limit of Pigiput, with the aim of establishing a link with known mineralisation already immediately north at southeast Sorowar.
The new estimates for Pigiput and Pigibo bring Allied Gold’s total measured and indicated resources at the flagship Simberi gold mine and the Gold Ridge Project to 4.81 million ounces
With the increased size of deposits, the mine life on Simberi was expected to go before 10 years, it said.