In total the Chaarat project currently boasts a gold resource of over 7 mln ounces, with a reserve of nearly 5 mln ounces.
The company’s plan is to build a low cost gold mine, starting with a smaller operation and then scaling up.
Bankable feasibility on track for first half of this year
The bankable feasibility currently underway at the Tulkubash project, part of the wider Chaarat gold property, is scheduled for completion by the end of the first half of this year.
At this stage the total heap leachable resource is 19.7 million tonnes grading 1.34 grams per tonne, amounting to just over 800,000 ounces of gold.
Initial production would involve processing around 2.5 mln to 3 mln tonnes of ore per year.
Full details of the likely metallurgical recoveries will be revealed when the bankable study is complete, but early stage analysis shows that recoveries are likely to run at around 70%, with a plus or minus 3% variable.
The current thinking is that finance for construction could be put in place by the end of the third quarter of 2017, and that first production could then take place around 2019. Well-known mining specialist merchant bank Endeavour Financial has been appointed to help advise on financing options.
New operations management signals a step change in operations
Separately, Chaarat has appointed Rob Benbow as chief operating officer. Benbow is an experienced mine developer and includes on his CV work bringing Alacer’s Çöpler gold mine on stream.
Since September 2016 Benbow has been working with the existing Chaarat team to supervise and drive the work of GBM Minerals Engineering Consultants and Wardell Armstrong (www.wardell-armstrong.com) on the BFS. Benbow’s primary responsibility will be to develop and build the Tulkubash project and he will oversee mining operations once in production.
During his 30 year career Bob has worked with junior exploration companies to bring them into production and transform them into operating companies. He has taken three green field gold developments into production.
Strong support from the government and local politicians
The project has also recently been endorsed by local leaders in the Kyrgyz Republic, following meetings attended company chairman Martin Andersson in the capital Bishkek in the first quarter of 2017. Among those in attendance was the prime minister of Kyrgyzstan, Sooronbay Jeenbekov.
"I have just returned from a visit to the Kyrgyz Republic during which I met the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Parliament and two previous Prime Ministers,” chairman Martin Andersson said at the time.
“I was pleased to see the general interest in attracting foreign direct investment into the country and the support for developing Chaarat in particular. With the feedback we are receiving from financial institutions and the teams preparing the BFS, the development of the Tulkubash project is progressing according to plan."