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Antilles ups Cuban gold resource by 30 per cent


Antilles’ diamond core its gold–silver mine at Demajagua in Cuba. Credit: File.

Antilles Gold has further swelled its mineral resource estimate at the La Demajagua gold–silver mine on the Island of Youth in Cuba, adding an impressive 30 per cent to the resource size.


The latest resource update has banked another 147,000 ounces of gold and an additional 1.535m ounces of silver.


After converting the silver and some antimony credits to a gold equivalent number, Antilles says it is now sitting on approximately 905,000 gold equivalent ounces.


Antilles owns 50 per cent of the project, with Minera La Victoria SA, a government owned entity holding the remaining 50 per cent.


Antilles says its share of the estimated surplus cash that would be thrown off by the project should clock in at around AU$68m a year at a gold price of AU$2,714 (US$1,800) per ounce. The latest resource upgrade has pushed the estimated mine life out from nine to 11 years.


Notably, Antilles says its share of the equity needed to develop the open pit mine should come it at a only Au$20m.


The resource boost was calculated from the results of 29,000m of recently drilled diamond core holes, drilled by joint venture partner Minera La Victoria SA and from selective results from about 50km of historic drilling, along with additional antimony assays which have recently been received.


Recent drilling campaigns at the project have been completed with diamond core from surface to cover the mineralised section which extends from surface to about 400m down dip.


To ensure maximum core recovery, the recent holes were drilled with triple–tube large diameter coring gear, resulting in 214 holes returning 25,567m of core to the surface for logging and sampling.


The holes were drilled nearby historic hits on 40m spacings along strike and 20m spacings across strike to account for the dipping mineralised section. Core sampling was completed at 1m intervals and sent to a lab in Havana for drying, crushing and splitting, then sent to a Canadian lab for assay.


With the project modelled to contain gold, silver and antimony, the company is now finalising metallurgical test work aimed at optimising recoveries and metal grades for the two products to be sold – a gold arsenopyrite concentrate and a gold, silver, antimony concentrate.


As an alloy, antimony is primarily used in lead batteries. However, in the tech-driven global economy, it is antimony’s increasing use in the semiconductor industry that is shining a spotlight on the silvery metal on a global scale.


With the updated resource now on the books for Antilles, the company says the definitive feasibility study for the open pit mine should be completed within three months.


Antilles says it will have invested AU$15 million (US$9.95 million) for shares in the joint venture for expenditure on pre-development activities by the time the DFS is completed.


The remaining AU$5 million (US$3.32 million) balance will be expended on mine infrastructure in the first half of next year, subject to sign–off on project financing.


Management expects the construction of infrastructure to begin in February next year, with plant commissioning following in mid July 2025. Concentrate should be on the ships to market soon after.


The 900-hectare project area is on the Island of Youth, about 170km south from mainland Cuba. The island has an active port at the city of Nueva Gerona, some 30 km north of the project area, provides access to infrastructure such as water, power and communications.


First targeted by Antilles in 2020, the project forms part of the company’s overarching development strategy for the island which rests on the staged monetisation of previously explored gold, silver, copper, zinc deposits through its 49:51 mining joint venture with the Cuban Government-owned GeoMinera.


Since Antilles began drilling at La Demajagua, it has been a reliable source of head-turning results. Previous impressive numbers have included a 69m hit from 81m depth going 8 grams per tonne gold, including a 20m interval grading 19.46g/t gold and 286g/t silver. Another high-grade intercept included 6m at 11.99g/t gold from 10m, 6m at 13.25g/t gold from 177m and 9m at 8.09g/t gold from 131m.


At face value, Antilles $20m outlay to pick up AU$68m a year for 11 years would appear to be an investment decision that should not take up too much board time – if the DFS proves up these numbers, Antilles bold foray into Cuba will have been a success.


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