Pan African Resources plc (LON:PAF) expects to complete a definitive feasibility study for the Royal Sheba project at flagship Barberton Mines in February after exploration results exceeded expectations.
The mining company completed an in-fill drilling programme of 4,311.6m and 39 holes at the South African gold project in November.
Results from 25 drill holes confirmed robust mineralisation extending from surface over a strike length of more than 900m at grades above economic break-even concentrations of 0.5 grams per tonne (g/t).
Following sign-off by independent mining consultant, SRK Consulting, Pan African said it can now provide an updated mineral resource estimate (MRE) at Royal Sheba.
The total mineral resource was declared and signed off by SRK at 0.8mln ounces (Moz), or 8.97mln tonnes (Mt) at 2.62g/t.
The updated MRE showed a 6% increase in the near surface mineral resource to 0.37 Moz, or 5.85Mt at 1.96g/t, from 0.35Moz, or 2.84Mt at 3.81 g/t.
Pan African said the updated MRE was considered conservative, exhibiting a high level of confidence, and believes there is further exploration upside.
Chief executive Cobus Loots said Pan African is “very pleased” with the outcome of the in-fill drilling programme and the updated MRE for Royal Sheba.
“The drilling programme has confirmed that the orebody extends to surface, with the potential to establish a new open pit mining operation, which will transition to an underground mining operation only after a number of years,” he said.
“The scale and grade of the Royal Sheba Mineral Resource gives us confidence to advance the near-surface mineral resource to a definitive feasibility study status, which DRA Global is currently undertaking, with this full study expected in February 2019.”
The group is now exploring the Jamestown Shear Zone, within the New Consort mining right at Barberton Mines for near-surface mineral resources.
The brownfield project targets near-surface mineral resource definition drilling to yield between 0.2Moz to 0.3Moz, at grades between 2g/t and 4g/t.
The first phase of a two-phase drilling programme started on November 13 and comprises 10 drill holes, totalling 1,035m, testing 600m of strike length and 200m of dip extension of the Main Maiden Reef orebody and the associated Consort Bar.