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Antilles Gold eyes more copper as El Pilar resource looms

Antilles Gold has seen more copper in El Pilar core. Credit: File.

Intense visual copper mineralisation in diamond core at Antilles Gold’s El Pilar project in Cuba has been backed-up by portable x-ray fluorescence analysis (pXRF) of samples, with a resource estimate looming.

The latest diamond drillhole produced pXRF hits from the top of the copper oxide zone to the end-of-hole, with copper results as high as 2m at 3.08 per cent from 56m, 3m at 1.73 per cent from 150m, 6m at 2.2 per cent from 190m, 2m at 1.13 per cent from 259m and 14m at 1.96 per cent from 276m. The last metre of that final section is going 7.2 per cent copper.

Other pXRF copper hits include 3m at 0.95 per cent from 74m, 2m at 1.39 per cent from 169m, 4m at 0.96 per cent from 207m, 12m at 1.27 per cent from 220m. The company now hopes assays to be returned for the diamond core samples will confirm what the pXRF results suggest.

This encouraging intersection of copper mineralization in sulphides, confirmed by the XRF readings, in the most south eastern parts of the El Pilar prospect gives us great encouragement for the upcoming deeper drilling to target the porphyry body at depth. Given the drillhole terminated in mineralized porphyry in a fault zone, the copper mineralized porphyry remains open at depth and this is what we will be targeting in the short term. Antilles Gold exploration director Dr Christian Grainger.

The deeper holes will form the final part of the 7000m drilling effort at El Pilar and will aim to sterilise the base of the copper-bearing zone as the company moves towards a maiden mineral resource for the deposit. It expects the resource to be established in January next year.

Earlier this month, Antilles revealed assays from the five previous diamond holes at El Pilar, quoting “outstanding” assays from the shallow gold-bearing zone and “robust” grades from the underlying copper-rich domain.

Gold results went as high as 3m at 37.54 grams per tonne from 20m, 6m at 9.99g/t from surface, 3m at 6.05g/t from 26m and 2m at 4g/t from 18m. The copper domain assayed as high as 25m at 3.35 per cent from 53m, including 9m at 7.86 per cent, 32m at 0.89 per cent from 30m and 5m at 1.14 per cent from 97m.

Preliminary metallurgical testing by Blue Coast Research Laboratories in Canada indicated a gold recovery of 85 per cent from a simple rougher flotation circuit, with a concentrate of 53.1g/t gold produced from an ore sample grading 2.11g/t.

Testwork is continuing on copper recoveries and concentrate grades and Antilles says early indications are that the copper concentrate will exceed 25 per cent copper.

The company and joint venture partner Geominera SA, the Cuban Government’s mining company which has a 50 per cent interest in El Pilar, intends to develop the Nueva Sabana mine at the deposit as soon as possible, with plans to kick off the 10-month construction period mid-next year.

Antilles says it expects to achieve a mining rate of between 500,000 and 650,000 tonnes of ore per year, with a capital cost estimate of about $31.4 million reflecting the availability of developed infrastructure – including high-tension power, rail and highway links to the container port, a water supply, access to skilled labour and the ability to dry-hire mining equipment.

The Australian gold price has seen a significant hike since the beginning of conflict in the Middle East earlier this month and sits at about $3140 per ounce. Antilles will be hoping it is not just a temporary jump.

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