The mainland of Southeast Asia may not hold much buzz for most Canadian explorers — with island nations in the region getting far more attention — but there are a few intrepid companies finding success in this oft-overlooked part of the world.
Monument Mining (MMY-V), for one, has demonstrated its continued faith in Malaysia’s mining potential by spending $60 million for a 70% interest in the Mengapur polymetallic project there.
The company looked throughout Southeast Asia for its next growth project, but ended up finding the property it liked the most only 130 km away from its wholly owned Selinsing gold mine. The new 2.6-sq.-km property has seen extensive historic exploration, including 58,000 metres of diamond drilling by local mining companies before 1990, but hosts no National Instrument 43-101-compliant resource.
The project does, however, have historic resources that Monument contracted Snowden to assess. Following due diligence and some confirmation drilling, the company had enough confidence in the historic data to go through with the acquisition.
While still historic and non-43-101 compliant, the company is getting a property with 64.8 million tonnes in reserves grading 8.63% sulphur, 0.27% copper, 0.21 gram gold per tonne and 2.59 grams silver per tonne, plus measured and indicated resources, including both oxides and sulphides, of 224 million tonnes grading 6.54% sulphur, 0.25% copper, 0.46 gram gold and 8.86 grams silver.
Thanks to cash flow from Selinsing, the company is buying the Mengapur stake with cash on hand. The company had originally planned to pay for it with a $70-million private placement at a 50¢ unit price, but went with cash instead, in part apparently because it was buying the asset from creditors.
However, because the acquisition largely empties its coffers, and it still needs capital to expand Selinsing, Monument plans to go through with the $70-million raise. The company has changed the terms though, offering only a half warrant rather than a full warrant in the unit along with the share, with full warrants still exercisable at 70¢.
The company has 184 million shares outstanding, or 321.4 million fully diluted, including 72.3 million warrants at 50¢ expiring in July and August. Monument’s share price has kept fairly flat in February, recently closing at 47¢.
Selinsing hosts a 4.8-million-tonne indicated resource grading 1.49 grams gold for 230,000 oz. gold in oxides and sulphides, plus a 10.3-million-tonne inferred resource carrying 1.17 grams gold for 388,000 oz. gold in both categories. Buffalo Reef hosts 2.3 million indicated tonnes at 2.24 grams gold and 1.4 million inferred tonnes at 1.17 grams gold in oxides and sulphides.
In the year ending June 30, 2011, Monument produced 44,438 oz. gold at Selinsing from 352,000 processed tonnes at a US$242 per oz. cash cost. The company is working to increase treatment capacity to 1 million tonnes annually by mid-year.
Monument continues to develop its wholly owned, 8-sq.-km Buffalo Reef property adjacent to Selinsing, and 130-sq.-km Famehub properties in Western Malaysia’s central gold belt. The company also earned in a 49% stake in the Mersing gold project last year.
Meanwhile, Olympus Pacific Minerals (OYM-T) has active mines in Vietnam and an advanced project named Bau on the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo, as well as an earlier-stage Philippines project.
The company’s Bong Mieu and Phuoc Son producing gold mines in Vietnam host 881,500 tonnes of proven and probable reserves grading 5.08 grams for 144,000 oz. gold. Bong Mieu also hosts 3.6 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 1.62 grams gold and 5 million inferred tonnes grading 1.39 grams gold, as well as some tungsten, while Phuoc Son has 540,000 measured and indicated tonnes grading 8.95 grams gold and 2.5 million inferred tonnes carrying 6.01 grams gold.
In 2011 Olympus produced 43,000 oz. gold from the mines and targets 65,000 oz. gold this year. The company commissioned Bong Mieu in 2006 and Phuoc Son in 2011, and plans to have Bau producing by 2014.
The company advertizes its 1,400-sq.-km Bau project as a Carlin-style system, with several known deposits along a 16-km trend. The company is working through a 26,000-metre drill program to increase the current resource, which stands at 11 million measured and indicated tonnes grading 1.6 grams for 564,000 oz. gold, and 35.8 million inferred tonnes grading 1.64 grams for 1.9 million oz. gold.
As of January the company had $22.7 million on hand, with its share price closing at 38¢ with 380.6 million shares out, or 561.8 million fully diluted.
Angkor Gold (ANK-V) is a relatively recent entrant, only going public as a Cambodia-focused gold explorer in October 2011. The company came about through a reverse takeover and share rollback, and now has 62 million shares out, or 81 million fully diluted.
The company controls 2,666 sq. km in the country, where it already spent $10 million as a private company completing 8,800 metres of drilling, plus extensive trenching, airborne magnetics and sampling on its properties. Angkor has launched a 2,000-metre drill program at the Okalla target on its Banlung tenement, while a Cambodian company is drilling on the company’s Oyadao tenement.
On Feb. 13 Angkor released stream-sediment survey results from its Siem Pang property, also on the Banlung property, that showed two gold targets coinciding with granitoid intrusives. In the days following the news, the company’s share price shot up to 57¢ from 36¢.
Several smaller explorers are also active in the region, including:
AsiaBaseMetals (ABZ-V) which recently bought into a potash project in Laos; Amanta Resources (AMH-V), trading at 2¢ with 70 million shares out and controlling copper, silver and molybdenum properties in Laos and Thailand; Asian Mineral Resources (ASN-V), sitting at 5¢ with 203 million shares out with nickel and copper prospects in Vietnam; NWT Uranium (NWT-V), which is looking to invest in Vietnam; Strategic Mining, exploring in Vietnam; Elray Resources exploring in Cambodia; and Aurum in Laos. The last three trade over-the-counter.
And of course, with Australia relatively close, it is also well represented in the region by several producers and explorers.
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