Copper/gold explorer Bezant has commissioned a new mining study focusing on the high-grade areas of the Mankayan project on the island of Luzon, in the Philippines.
The study is to be conducted by mining technical services provider Mining Plus and will examine mining options in relation to high-grade areas within the copper/gold project. One of the objectives of the study is to determine economically viable alternative mining processes, within the Lift 1 area of an historic scoping study, to traditional block caving.
Block caving typically requires high levels of initial capital expenditure before first production starts.
The existing block cave model, based on the historic studies completed in 2011 and 2014, includes various scenarios built around a two lift sequence including, at a run rate of 20-million tonnes a year, a $739-million net present value with a 21% internal rate of return, production costs of S$17.31/t, mining capital expenditure (capex) of $217-million and infrastructure capex of $796-million.
Following analysis of certain high-grade areas, including 'open' sections in the resource, Bezant explains that the single lift scenario offers the potential to move from a block cave system to a different mine plan with significantly reduced capex.
It is anticipated than any new alternate mining scenario resulting from the new study would sit alongside the full 20-million-tonne-a-year block cave model, thereby allowing the company distinct options to progress its Mankayan project.
“While the current, 20-million tonnes a year economic scenario for Mankayan is highly robust and comparable to a series of successful, currently operating, third-party projects we believe that there may well be a viable alternate mining system that can be implemented within the Lift 1 area of the existing model,” comments CEO Laurence Read.
The new mining study will comprise a high-level desktop review, which will not require additional drilling, and is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2019.