A new resource and reserve estimate made for European Minerals (EPM-T, EUM-L) on the Varvarinskoye gold-copper deposit in northern Kazakhstan has increased the size of the resource, while knocking the grade down slightly.
The new resource calculation, made by Australian consulting firm Ravensgate, divides the resource into four types. The main part, the low-grade-copper feed, is an 80.9-million-tonne resource grading 0.89 gram gold per tonne, without economically recoverable copper. Another 3.8 million tonnes (described as low-grade copper powder) grades 1.02 grams gold per tonne. In current mining scenarios, this material would be fed to a cyanidation plant.
Another type, with recoverable copper that would be fed to a flotation mill, makes up 31.4 million tonnes at grades of 1.2 grams gold per tonne and 0.54% copper. The fourth type, which European Minerals only plans to stockpile at this stage, totals 7.1 million tonnes grading 1.08 grams gold per tonne and 0.48% copper.
Within the resources, mining consultants Orelogy estimated a proven and probable reserve of 43.5 million tonnes at grades of 0.99 gram gold per tonne in the feed for cyanidation, and 17.1 million tonnes grading 1.56 gram gold and 0.67% copper in the feed for flotation.
Previous feasibility work had put the size of the measured and indicated resource at 87.7 million tonnes leachable material with 0.89 gram gold per tonne, plus 30 million tonnes for flotation at 1.37 grams gold and 0.66% copper. The reserves were pegged at 45.3 million tonnes leachable at 1.05 grams gold plus 15 million tonnes floatable at 1.66 grams gold and 0.81% copper. The new estimates bring slightly more metal into the resource, while taking about 100,000 oz. gold and about 7,000 tonnes copper out of the reserve.
A revised mine plan would have the project produce 4.2 million tonnes of ore annually from a set of seven open pits, with an average life-of-mine stripping ratio around 4.5. The mine would average 120,000 oz. gold and 5,900 tonnes copper annually over a 17-year life, with more production in the first three years (149,000 oz. gold and 11,800 tonnes copper per year).