Vancouver A new vein was discovered by Bema Gold (BGO-T) while drilling the Kupol gold-silver project in the autonomous region of Chukotka, Russia. The drill program also extended known zones along strike and at depth.
Bema is carrying out a 45,000-metre drilling campaign at Kupol this year, mostly to explore and expand known zones. A recent feasibility study concluded that the project is technically feasible and could be developed into a high-grade mine with capital costs of US$364 million. The study was based on a probable reserve of 7.1 million tonnes averaging 16.9 grams gold and 214 grams silver per tonne.
The newly discovered Vtoryi II vein was intersected about 1 km southwest of the Big Bend zone, 350 metres west of the Southern Extension zone, and about 500 metres northeast of the previously discovered Vtoryi I vein.
The first hole at Vtoryi II hit 1.6 metres (about 1.1 metres true width) grading 15.4 grams gold and 383.9 grams silver. The second hole, an undercut of the first, returned 12.8 metres of 26.2 grams gold and 758.4 grams silver. Its true thickness is about 3-4 metres as the hole appears to have been partially drilled downdip.
The discovery hole at the Vtoryi I vein returned 2.95 metres of 44.54 grams silver, while a follow-up hole returned 0.65 metre of 0.4 gram gold and 615.7 grams silver. The true widths of these intercepts (and subsequent holes reported below) are estimated at about 60%-to-80% of the stated intercepts.
Recent step-out drilling extended the North Extension zone by another 200 metres for a total increase of strike length of 300 metres this year. The zone is still open to the north and at depth.
The program also include infill drilling of the North zone to upgrade reserves. Nine holes tested the Central zone. Highlights include 4 metres of 35.4 grams gold and 746.5 grams silver, and 14.4 metres of 17.1 grams gold and 302.8 grams silver.
Five holes were drilled at the South zone to test for continuity of the South offset vein, and to explore the South vein at depth. Results from the South offset vein include 2.2 metres of 12.1 grams gold and 141.3 grams silver, 1.2 metres of 8 grams gold and 35.3 grams silver, and 5.3 metres of 24.6 grams gold and 134.7 grams silver.
Bema holds 75% of the Kupol project, with the local government holding the remainder. The company plans to build a mine at Kupol next year and into 2007, with production scheduled for mid-2008.