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Goldstone begins economic and environmental work at proposed Ghana gold project (GRL)
Goldstone Resources (LSE:GRL) dipped 3.6pc to 1.8p on Thursday despite announcing two milestone developments at its Akrokeri-Homase (AKHM) gold project in Ghana. In an update, the business said it has now begun a definitive economic plan (DEP) and environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the site.
These projects represent critical steps in the company’s efforts to fast-track the development of its first operating mine on Ghana’s Homase Trend. This is an 8km-long gold-in-soil anomaly found within AKHM. It is located on the northern end of the Ashanti gold belt, just 12km along strike from Anglo Gold Ashanti’s more than 70MMoz Obuasi gold mine.
All-in-all, Akrokeri-Homase hosts a JORC Code compliant 602,000 oz gold resource at an average grade of 1.77 g/t. The project also contains two former mines. Firstly, Akrokerri Ashanti Mine produced 75,000 oz gold at 24 g/t recovered grade in the early 1900s on site. Then, AngloGold Ashanti developed the Homase Pit in 2002/03, producing 52,000 oz gold at 2.5 g/t recovered. Goldstone plans to build a portfolio of high-quality gold projects in Ghana, focusing particularly on the Ashanti gold belt.
The DEP announced on Thursday will assess capital requirements, operating costs, and timelines for a proposed mine. The work is expected to complete in Q2 2019 and will be used to create a fast-track, low-cost plan to submit for final government approval in May.
It is being carried out by MAED, which is wholly-owned by Goldstone’s non-executive chairman Bill Trew. Following initial consultation, MAED believes a low-tonnage, gravity and combined heap leach facility can achieve early stage cash flow with minimal capital expenditure.
Meanwhile, a business called Optimal Development Consult will complete the EIA. The work is a pre-requisite to applying for a mining licence. It will also manage community and social relations work.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Goldstone said it is continuing to make steady progress on its scoping study for the Homase Trend. It expects to receive the results of a pilot heap leach project and the first stage of trenching two deposits called at Homase North and Adubriem shortly.
In the meantime, the company has begun additional trenching that will target the mineralised zone along the Homase Trend to the north of the existing Homase open pit. It expects to receive the results of this work in the second quarter.
Emma Priestley, chief executive at GoldStone, said: ‘Last year, we made a commitment to our shareholders to bring the Akrokeri-Homase project into production in the shortest possible time. Initial indications point towards the viability of a low tonnage, gravity and combined heap leach facility to generate early stage cash flow with minimal capital expenditure at Homase. As such, this is the focus of our development efforts, as we seek to deliver our objective of near term production.’
Author: Daniel Flynn
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