Kalimantan Gold (LON:KLG) chief executive Tony Manini said he was “pleased” with initial findings from the metallurgical test work carried out on the ore extracted from the Beruang Kanan Main copper deposit in Indonesia.
In fact if the positive results are repeated in a larger study then it suggests a mine using bacterial heap leaching and solvent extraction electro-winning (SX-EW) technology could be built at relatively low cost.
In other words the results would be significant in establishing the viability of BKM as an economic mine.
The metallurgical test work to date established that 95% of copper in all the samples assayed was acid and cyanide soluble.
Not only that, acid consumption was very low during the various tests carried out.
While good environmentally, the less acid used the lower the operating costs.
“While very extensive metallurgical studies are still required, early indications suggest that the copper mineralisation may be amenable to extraction using bacterial heap leach, SX-EW processing technology,” Manini told investors.
“Projects utilising this technology generally have a lower capital intensity than those producing concentrate, and as copper metal is produced at the mine site the need for third party smelter involvement is eliminated.
“These are particularly relevant criteria for any copper development project in Indonesia at this time and we look forward to further updating stakeholders on the progress of the test work throughout the year."
Kalimantan is currently sitting on 47mln tonnes of ore at 0.6% copper, with 12mln tonnes at 1% at BKM.
BKM is a shallow dipping deposit that follows the contour of a hill and work going forward will concentrate on assessing the potential of the copper mineralisation within the first 50 metres from surface.
To the non-miners this will mean very little. To those in the know, it suggests the strip ratio (i.e. how much soil has to be removed to expose the ore) ought to be extremely low.
In turn the low strip ratio ought to mean low cost of production – assuming the metallurgy works and the grade is economic.
The plan this year is to carry out two rounds of metallurgical test work plus mining studies.
It is also carrying out an 80-hole, 6,500-metre drill programme. The results to date have been highly encouraging and suggest the current resource has significant headway to grow.