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Ortac Resources looks beyond Slovakia

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Ortac Resources (LON:OTC) is to look at projects outside of Europe to take advantage of current tough conditions in the gold sector.

The explorer’s current focus is the Sturec gold and silver project in Kremnica, Slovakia, where it completed a pre-feasibility study (PFS) in April, but the company believes there is value beyond Slovakia and will restrict its activities in the country to Šturec for the time being.

The PFS  for the Šturec project generated a post-tax net present value of US$145mln on the straight line base case gold price of $1,350/oz, but Ortac said there was “a considerable buffer” between the base case prices used and project break-even levels.

The company has now commenced detailed baseline environmental surveys of the local and regional biodiversity, habitats and ecosystems.

These will be the basis of consultation with the local community ahead of an application for a Preliminary Environmental Report and the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process for the project.

Ortac has run into local opposition to its plans but says two key initiatives are now coming to fruition in Šturecland, and the foundation of Forum Kremnicko to help garner support.

Šturecland is a green energy, tourism development to be funded from mining at Šturec. The other initiative, Forum Kremnicko, will be a platform for interested parties including investors and the local community to be involved in evolution of the project.

“Taken together with a more general openness to engage persuades us that our initiatives to design a win-win investment are working.” the company said, though it added it expects opponents to continue their campaign.

Slovakia’s mining bureau had also recently confirmed its subsidiary holds both underground and surface mining rights to the Kremnica Mining Licence Area at least until June 2014, and an environmental or small scale mining licence application would extend this further.

There was a pre-tax loss of £1.75mln (2012: loss of £1.99mln) in the year to March, while cash holdings were approximately £4.2m.

"Key developmental milestones for the coming period are the satisfaction of our licence terms, and progress towards the EIA process and feasibility study on the Šturec project, that will have the support of the local communities."

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