At auction by Russian state agencies, London-listed Highland Gold Mining (HGM-L) has acquired four long-term development licences in eastern Russia, covering three known gold deposits and a resource in tailings. And in keeping with its role as bird dog for Barrick Gold (ABX-T) in Russia, it will offer half-interests to the major.
In the Chita region southeast of Lake Baikal, Highland and Barrick have each bid successfully in auctions for the adjacent Malo Fedorovskoye and Lubavinskoye gold properties, about 25 km from the Mongolian border. Barrick’s and Highland’s bids together totalled US$2.3 million, and each is obliged to offer a 50% share to the other. The licences last 25 years.
There is a limited history of production from Barrick’s property, Lubavinskoye, totalling 22,000 oz. At Malo Fedorovskoye, a resource of 3.4 million tonnes grading 2.1 grams was estimated in the late 1990s; the Russian-system classifications C2 and P1 correspond to an inferred resource. The resource at Malo Fedorovskoye represents only a 350-metre strike length of the 10-km structure hosting the mineralization. The two properties, which Highland has dubbed the Lubov project, make up about a 130-sq.-km land package on that structure.
Another acquisition in the Chita region, near the Highland-Barrick joint venture at Taseevskoye, gives the company a 25-year permit on tailings from the Baley processing plant for US$550,000. Barrick has a right to take up half the project. There is a resource estimate of 14.8 million tonnes at a grade of 1 gram per tonne in the tailings.
Near Nikolaevsk-na-Amur, on the Sea of Okhotsk, Highland has bid US$580,000 for a 25-year licence covering the Belaya Gora gold deposit. Belaya Gora, on the road between Nikolaevsk and Highland’s Mnogovershinnoe (MNV) gold mine. Belaya Gora has a resource, equivalent to the Western inferred category, of 4.8 million tonnes grading 3 grams gold per tonne, and produced about 30,000 oz. during the 1940s.
In the far northeast Chukotka region, Highland has bid successfully on a 20-year licence for the Sovinoye gold deposit, 350 km east of the Arctic coastal town of Pevek. Trenching, drilling and some underground work in the 1970s outlined five gold deposits.
Hihgland plans exploration on Belaya Gora and Lubov in 2006.