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Antilles confirms gold upside at El Pilar copper deposit

Updated: Apr 24

Antilles Gold diamond drilling at its El Pilar project. Credit: File

Antilles Gold has struck even more mineral paydirt at its El Pilar deposit in Cuba, with assays as high as 12m at 4.8 grams per tonne gold from surface and 24m at 2g/t gold from 5m, in addition to a lengthy copper hit of 98m at 0.73 per cent from 29m and 7m at 1.82 per cent copper from 55m.

The company’s recent assays are from two holes that were drilled to 211.5m and 425.5m and showed respective copper hits of 3m at 0.69 per cent from 68m and 5m at 0.98 per cent copper from 138m. Deeper in both holes, copper was still present with 2m at 1.82 per cent from 182m in one hole and 3m at 2.04 per cent from 123m in the other.

Antilles says the shallow outcropping gold mineralised domain at El Pilar is now well defined and on the back of its recent results, the geological model suggests it may extend to a depth of about 50m and the underlying copper domain may extend a further 70m.

The company has previously said it expects copper mineralisation to project into underlying porphyry sulphides, possibly up to 1000m, and it will await further assays to firm up its geological model.

With its sights set on mining the deposit, Antilles will wait for additional holes to be drilled and assayed prior to defining the mineral resource estimate it expects to deliver by the end of the year. It will be followed by a prefeasibility study for its proposed open-pit Nueva Sabana mine aimed at helping monetise El Pilar.

The mine is expected to benefit from a low-strip ratio and pay from initial production associated with the shallow gold mineralised domain. Metallurgical testwork supports an early cash return from the gold ore, indicating a recovery of 85 per cent through the simple rougher flotation method and producing a concentrate grade of 53.1g/t gold from a 2.11g/t input.

Testwork is continuing to firm up copper recoveries and concentrate grades. The company says its Nueva Sabana mine is being planned as a copper project and will benefit from high-grade gold in the upper domain during initial operations.

The mine is planned as a joint venture (JV) between Antilles and the Cuban Government’s mining company, GeoMinera SA. The El Pilar concession will be transferred to the JV and Antilles has requested 75 per cent foreign ownership be incorporated into the deal. GeoMinera intends to develop the mine as soon as possible, pending feasibility studies.

Antilles says it has received quotes for the design and construction of a crushing, grinding and gold flotation plant for its planned 500,000 tonnes per annum feed, in addition to industrial buildings, offices and a mining camp. The company expects to begin 10 months of mine construction in the second quarter of next year.

GeoMinera is currently negotiating with potential buyers for the gold concentrate to fund the total development cost for the project through advances on sales.

The recent assays form only a small part of what is fast becoming an impressive geochemical run sheet from El Pilar since September last year.

Some of the best gold grades intercepted are 13m at 45.17g/t from surface, including 3m at 194g/t, 53.5m at 19.06g/t from 10m, including 16.4m at 41.64g/t, 9m at 17.28g/t from 63.0m, including 2m at 74.01g/t and 11m at 28.3g/t from 30m including 2m at 112.6g/t.

Some of the best copper hits intercepted are 134.5m at 1.13 per cent from 49.85m, including 18.5m at 4.84 per cent, 18m at 1.1 per cent from 32.7m, including 3.8m at 3.92 per cent ,14m at 1.32 per cent from 76m, including 4m at 3.16 per cent, 62m at 1.55 per cent from 38m, including 12m at 3.18 per cent and 14.0m at 2.75 per cent.

Antilles has moved quickly at El Pilar since the first two diamond holes struck paydirt and were revealed last month. It is now sitting on a significant copper target with a shallow gold upside, with more drilling to come and mine planning progressing.

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