Mindoro stays the course in the Philippines

One of many local, small-scale gold panners in the area surrounding Mindoro Resources' Agata gold project in northern Mindanao, Philippines.

One of many local, small-scale gold panners in the area surrounding Mindoro Resources' Agata gold project in northern Mindanao, Philippines.

Vancouver — Philippines-focused metals explorer Mindoro Resources (MIO-V, MNODF-O) has undertaken an ambitious program of drill-testing on several prospects in its large portfolio of precious and base metals projects covering over 500 sq. km in the South Pacific island chain.

Active in the Philippines since 1996, Mindoro cites a lack of modern exploration and a 2004 Supreme Court decision that finally formalized 100% foreign ownership rights as reasons it sees the country as prospective. The company has assembled a wide range of porphyry copper-gold and epithermal gold projects, plus a nickel-laterite project, in proven mineral belts.

The Batangas property consists of an almost 250-sq.-km land package in the southern Luzon comprised of the Lobo and Archangel projects plus surrounding land. Mindoro is earning a 75% interest in Batangas from private company Egerton Gold Philippines.

Much of the company’s recent exploration effort is focused on the Pica, Kay Tanda and El Paso porphyry prospects in addition to an advanced-stage epithermal gold prospect also at Kay Tanda. Batangas is contiguous and to the southeast of Phelps Dodge’s (PD-N) Taysan deposit where a resource of 600 million tonnes of 0.31% copper and 0.3 gram gold was reviewed in 1995, including a 120-million-tonne core zone grading 0.9% copper and 1 gram gold.

A couple of 2005 drill holes on the Pica prospect confirmed a copper-gold porphyry system with an intercept of 213 metres grading 0.18% copper, 0.3 gram gold per tonne and 1.19 grams silver per tonne. An additional hole is being drilled.

Kay Tanda has been the company’s major focus this year, with extensive drilling under way on the project’s epithermal gold system. A current infill drill program is providing data for a planned resource estimate plus material for further metallurgical testing. Mindoro foresees a potential open-pit, heap- leach operation with a target of at least 500,000 contained ounces gold.

Drilling at Kay Tanda and the adjacent Pulang Lupa zone indicates a large, low-sulphidation epithermal gold-silver system associated with quartz stockworks and hydrothermal breccias in a suite of volcanics and intrusives. Mineralization has been traced over almost 1 km of strike with an average width of about 350 metres and remains open in a number of directions. Current focus is the evaluation of the near-surface, oxide gold potential in the system that extends from surface to up to 70 metres depth with grades of 0.6 to 0.8 gram gold and 1 to 3 grams silver. Below the oxide zone, higher-grade sulphide gold mineralization has been encountered in stockworks and veins with grades of up to 70 grams gold. A copper-gold mineralized porphyry system has been encountered in all holes below the epithermal zone.

Mindoro’s other major Philippine holding is the 260-sq.-km Surigao land package located in northern Mindanao, where it is earning up to a 57.5% interest from local partner Minimax Mineral Exploration. Joint-venture partner Panoro Minerals (PML-V, POROF-O) is earning up to a 42.5% interest in return for $2 million in exploration spending.

Comprised of the Agata, Tapian San Francisco, Tapian Main and Mat-I projects, the Surigao package covers a major northerly portion of the Eastern Mindanao gold belt. Many companies are exploring the belt, including a joint venture of Anglo American (AAUK-Q) and Philex Gold (PGI-V), which is exploring the 219-million-tonne Boyongan porphyry deposit grading 0.8% copper and 0.7 gram gold; and Red 5 (RED-A), which recently completed a prefeasibility study on its Siana gold-silver deposit.

Agata contains a number of porphyry copper-gold targets being drill-tested by the company. The project area also hosts the Agata nickel-laterite deposit that was drill-tested by BHP Billiton (BHP-N) earlier this year. Results did not meet the major’s criteria and it pulled out of possible development plans for the project. Mindoro subsequently signed up Philippine company SR Metals with a confidentiality agreement to evaluate the nickel potential. SR Metals is mining nickel laterite from its Tubay deposit, immediately south and adjacent to Agata, and direct shipping the ore to China.

Drill programs have also been undertaken by Mindoro on Tapian San Francisco to test copper-gold mineralized porphyry systems discovered by trenching.

The company is also acquiring up to 75% of the Pan de Azucar island project where past drilling encountered precious and base metal values in epithermal, massive sulphide and porphyry environments.

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