European Minerals pours its first gold in Kazakhstan

Almost 72 years after a female Russian geologist travelling in a small boat along the Ayat River first discovered gold near what is now the Varvarinskoye gold-copper project in northern Kazakhstan, European Minerals (EPM-T, EUM-L) has poured its first gold.

“We are on target to reach the initial annual throughput rate during the second quarter of 2008, a remarkable achievement given the difficulties we have overcome and in light of the challenges the whole mining industry faced in 2007,” Bert Kennedy, the company’s president and chief executive, said in a Dec. 22 press release.

The flotation circuit will be commissioned in January 2008 to build up the daily throughput tonnage of ore in both the gold leach and copper flotation circuits.

In the meantime, the company announced last month that it would soon kick-off a 2,500-metre drilling program to test gold and copper geological anomalies within the 220-sq.-km exploration license that surrounds Varvarinskoye’s 3-sq.-km mining license.

Two diamond drilling rigs were mobilized in September to delineate additional mineralization within the current mining limits and beneath the planned pit bottom.

The Varvarinskoye skarn deposit has a total measured and indicated resource of 123 million tonnes grading 0.99 gram gold per tonne and 0.53% copper.

Within that, there is a proven and probable reserve of 60.6 million tonnes at grades of 1.15 grams gold per tonne and 0.67% copper.

European Minerals says it will produce 4.2 million tonnes of ore per annum from a set of seven open pits, with an average life-of-mine stripping ratio of 4.5.

The mine is forecast to average 120,000 oz. gold and 5,900 tonnes copper annually over a 17-year life.

The deposit, in the southeastern Urals, is contained within a Palaeozic volcano sedimentary sequence with distinct intrusives.


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