Exploration samples from TSX-V-listed gold explorer Aton Resources’ Egypt-based Rodruin advanced exploration project have returned “very encouraging” results, reports interim CEO Tonno Vahk.
These metallurgical testwork results from the Rodruin oxides follow initial scoping level testwork undertaken in 2021.
Aton prepared five composite samples, representing the range of oxide mineralisation types at Rodruin, for metallurgical test work to investigate both heap leach and conventional carbon-in-leach (CIL) technologies.
The composite samples were prepared from selected diamond drill half-core intervals for Rodruin, which is located in Aton’s 100%-owned Abu Marawat concession, in the Eastern Desert of Egypt.
Four samples were selected for whole-ore cyanidation leach tests at grind sizes of P80 75 µm and 106 µm, with test results showing slightly higher gold and silver extractions at the finer grind size.
Gold recoveries ranged between 87.7% and 93.4%, after 48 hours of leaching, while silver recoveries ranged from 50.9% to 65.7%.
At the grind size of P80 75 µm, gold and silver recoveries averaged 90.4% and 59%, respectively.
All five samples were also subjected to coarse-ore bottle roll leach testing at a crush size P100 of -8 mm.
The test results showed average gold recoveries ranging between 66.2% and 75.3%, after 30 days of leaching, while average silver recoveries ranged from 19.3% to 30.8%.
Whole-ore and coarse-ore bottle roll cyanidation leach tests indicate that all the Rodruin mineralisation types tested are amenable to processing using both conventional CIL and heap leach technologies.
“The company is working towards its planned application for the mining licence at the Abu Marawat concession in the third quarter of this year, based on the definition of ‘commercial discoveries’ at both Rodruin and Hamama West,” he says.
The application, he says, will be based on planned mining projects on the oxides at both Rodruin and Hamama West, enabling the issuance of a 20-year mining licence, extendable for a further ten years, which will be “transformational” for Aton, Vahk states.
“These latest metallurgical results provide us with the flexibility to evaluate various mining and processing options at Rodruin.
“Work is progressing on the mineral resource estimates at Rodruin and Hamama West, as well as further metallurgical test work, which is ongoing,” says Vahk.
He adds that, in the field, Aton is “very close” to completing the diamond drilling at Hamama, which is testing previously-undrilled oxide mineralisation.
Preparations are also well under way for a 10 000 m reverse circulation drilling programme that is planned to start in May.