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Antilles Gold unearths more high–grade Cuban paydirt


Antilles Gold has encountered more high–grade gold and copper after drilling at its El Pilar deposit. Credit: File

Australian explorer Antilles Gold has boosted its open-pit mining plans with more high–grade gold and copper hits in central Cuba as it closes in on a maiden mineral resource estimate for its growing El Pilar discovery.


The company’s most recent assays from a 7000m drilling campaign went as high as 11m at 28.3 grams per tonne gold from 30m, including a 2m-thick section with a whopping 112.6g/t. Copper results revealed a 62m section at 1.55 per cent from 38m, with a 12m hit going 3.18 per cent and a 14m zone showing 2.75 per cent.


The assays also revealed further significant shallow gold mineralisation. Some of the best hits were 19m going 11.56g/t gold from 13m, including a 3m zone of 59.44g/t, and 11m with 5.37g/t from 1m, including 1m at 40.72g/t. A 13m intersection of 2.41g/t gold was also hit from 11m.


Deeper assay results for copper include 23m at 1.2 per cent copper from 89m, 48m at 0.73 per cent from 47m, including a 13m section going 1.17 per cent, and 14m at 1.32 per cent from 76m, including a 4m hit of 3.16 per cent.


The batch backs up previous results from El Pilar, where the shallow gold domain delivered a solid 13m at 45.17g/t gold from surface, including 3m at a massive 194g/t. Further results include 53.5m at 19.06g/t from 10m, with a 16.4m section going 41.64g/t. Another assay came back with more gold from surface to 8m going 5.88g/t.


Previous results from the deeper copper domain showed 72.4m at 0.58 per cent copper from 36.6m, including 26.2m at 0.79 per cent copper. Other hits featured a 30.5m section going 0.51 per cent copper from 49.5m, including 8m at 1.27 per cent and a long hit of 134.5m at 1.13 per cent from 49.85m, including 18.5m at 4.84 per cent.


Antilles says the shallow outcropping gold zones at El Pilar are now well defined, while the deeper copper-bearing mineralisation is growing in volume both laterally and vertically. It says drilling is ongoing and is expected to project into underlying porphyry sulphides for up to 1000m.


Management says the upcoming pre-feasibility study for its proposed Nueva Sabana open-pit mine at El Pilar will benefit from a low-strip ratio and the initial production associated with the shallow gold domain, which is expected to produce a clean gold concentrate.


In a step towards mining the deposit, metallurgical testwork for the company’s El Pilar ore indicated a gold recovery of 85 per cent through the simple rougher flotation method, producing a concentrate grade of 53.1g/t gold from a 2.11g/t head grade.


Testwork is continuing for copper recoveries and concentrate grades.


El Pilar is one of three exploration concessions held by the company in an agreement with the Cuban government-owned, GeoMinera SA.


The area is undeveloped, flat-lying and adjacent to a 60km rail link to the port of Palo Alto. Antilles says local labour and mining equipment dry hire are both available and the region is serviced by high-voltage power transmission lines, in addition to road transport options offered by the Cuban central highway.


Management 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, along with industrial buildings, offices and a mining camp.


Antilles says its mineral resource estimate for El Pilar and the prefeasibility study for its


Nueva Sabana mine will be completed in December this year. On the finalisation of funding agreements, the company expects to create positive cash flow by early 2025, with a total equity contribution of less than US$2 million (AU$2.9 million).


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


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