Drilling At Tasiast Continues To Yield Positive Results
TORONTO - Kinross Gold Corporation reported update on exploration activity at Tasiast in Mauritania and development plans for the Tasiast expansion project, and an update on exploration activity at Chirano in Ghana.
Kinross' aggressive drilling campaign at Tasiast continues, with 26 rigs currently active and 70,000 metres drilled since the beginning of the year.
Results from drilling at Tasiast continue to meet or exceed expectations. Reconnaissance drilling has yielded encouraging gold results at two different targets along the Tasiast trend outside of the main Tasiast deposit. The Tasiast expansion feasibility study is 36% complete and remains on schedule. Procurement of the mining fleet for the Tasiast expansion project has commenced. Recent step-out holes beneath the pits at Chirano have encountered positive results.
Drilling continues at Tasiast with 17 core and 9 reverse circulation rigs. As of the end of February 2011, definition drilling was approximately 60% complete at West Branch, geotechnical drilling was approximately 45% complete, and condemnation work was approximately 25% complete. A total of 70,000 metres have been drilled since the beginning of the year, with 31,000 metres completed at West Branch since the last of the holes included in Kinross' year-end mineral reserve and mineral resource statement in its news release dated February 16, 2011. The majority of West Branch drilling has focused on infilling last year's step-out program, with the goal of upgrading inferred mineral resources to indicated mineral resources. A further 24,000 metres have targeted down-dip extensions of mineralized banded iron formation between the Piment South-South and Piment Central pits. Over 44,000 samples are now in the analytical pipeline at various laboratory facilities located on site, in Nouakchott and in Kayes (Mali).
Reconnaissance drilling has encountered encouraging gold results at the Charlize target, located 15 km south of Tasiast, and the C67 target, located 5 km north of Tasiast. At Charlize, mineralization occurs near the surface in banded iron formation (BIF) rocks that are part of the same mineralized BIF sequence further north at Tasiast.╩ Charlize is mineralized on multiple sections that extend the zone over 4.5 kilometres of strike. Notable results include 12 metres of 2.06 grams per tonne, 9 metres of 1.7 grams per tonne and 15 metres of 0.99 grams per tonne of gold. The BIF unit dips east at approximately 25í to 30í, thus down hole intercepts represent approximate true thicknesses. Mineralization remains open at depth on all targets which require further drilling to fully evaluate potential for a future oxide gold resource, and the possibility of greenschist-style mineralization plumbing the system at depth. A number of high-grade intervals have been intersected in vein targets 2 km southwest of Charlize, including 4 metres grading 27.7 grams per tonne and 12 metres grading 8.3 grams per tonne gold (intervals represent down hole thicknesses). A 15,000 metre follow-up program is scheduled to commence following completion of feasibility drilling in the second quarter of this year.
Gold mineralization at C67 is hosted by multiple structures in a sequence of steeply dipping BIF rocks located on a separate mineralized trend east of the main Tasiast shear zone. Results include 14 metres of 1.91 grams per tonne, 20 metres of 1.17 grams per tonne and 8 metres of 2.21 grams per tonne gold. A priority goal is delineation of potential oxide mineralization with capacity to extend the dump leach mining schedule at Tasiast. Mineralization remains open at depth and will be tested with deep drilling to assess potential for high grade structures interpreted to have delivered mineralization to shallow levels in the BIF.╩ A total of 8,000 metres of follow-up drilling is planned at C67 for this year.
The feasibility study for the Tasiast expansion is well advanced and remains on schedule for completion in mid-2011. The study is 36% complete, with the site layout determined and process flow sheets completed. Kinross has begun initial equipment procurement for the expanded mining fleet, and by the end of March expects to have made commitments for seventeen Caterpillar 793D haul trucks, two Bucyrus RH340 hydraulic shovels, four Caterpillar D10 track dozers,╩ and two Caterpillar 854 wheel dozers, at a total capital cost of approximately $103 million. Including the previous procurement of mills, crushers, and mill motors which had a value of $101 million, year-to-date equipment commitments for the expansion project total approximately $204 million, consistent with the project budget.
Permitting in support of the project is proceeding on schedule. The Company has submitted the Terms of Reference for the Environmental Impact Notification (EIN) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) required for early works on the project, including a camp expansion, construction of mill and power plant foundations, and an upgrade of the existing road. Subsequent EIAs will be submitted to the appropriate government ministries to further support project construction and operation.
The scoping study for the Tasiast expansion envisions increasing mill capacity from 8,000 to 68,000 tonnes per day, and increasing average annual gold production to approximately 1.5 million ounces per year for the first eight years of production. The expansion project remains on schedule to commence operation early in 2014.
Two drills (one core and one multi-purpose core/RC) are currently active at Chirano. One rig will continue drilling the extensions of mineralized shoots at the Akoti mining complex to follow up strong gold intercepts encountered in recent step-out holes beneath the pits. Positive drill results include 16 metres of 6.34 grams per tonne, 8 metres of 7.01 grams per tonne, 10 metres of 6.21 grams per tonne, 39 metres of 3.35 grams per tonne and 40.1 metres of 1.72 grams per tonne gold (intersections are reported as down hole thicknesses).
The second drill will deploy to Obra and Tano, targeting new ore shoots that may potentially develop down plunge of mineralization mined in the pits. Ten thousand metres of drilling is planned to test targets beneath both open pits.
A recent hole at the Kolua target (located 3.7 km south of the Chirano plant) encountered 14 metres grading 4.1 grams per tonne gold down-dip of a previous hole that returned 27 metres of 1.92 grams per tonne gold. Kolua is characterized by a gold-in-soil, surface geochemical anomaly hosted along a structural play of the main Chirano shear zone between Suraw and Akwaaba. Approximately 1,400 metres of follow-up core drilling is planned, targeting potential for a high grade shoot to develop down plunge of previous gold intercepts.
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