Alacer Gold Corp. [ASR-TSX; AQG-ASX] shares advanced on Thursday September 26 after the company released positive drilling results from an exploration area near its Copler Gold Mine in central Turkey.
Alacer is a low-cost gold producer holding an 80% interest in the Copler Gold Mine, which is operated by Anagold Madencilik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., a unit of Alacer. The remaining 20% is owned by Lidya Madencilik Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. The mine is located approximately 1,100 kilometres southeast of Istanbul.
Since 2010, the Copler Gold Mine has been processing oxide ore via a heap leach operation. It produced 170,865 ounces of gold in 2018. However, the oxide ore is progressively being exhausted and the mine started processing sulfide ore in November, 2018 using pressure oxidation.
The company recently announced that commercial production has been achieved at Copler’s sulfide plant.
According to Alacer’s 2019 guidance, the oxide plant is expected to produce 125,000 to 145,000 ounces of gold this year. The sulfide plant is targeting production of 230,000 to 270,000 ounces. The all-in sustaining cost is forecast at between US$675 and US$7.25 an ounce.
Results released on Thursday are from drilling on the Copler Saddle shear zone, which borders the western flank of the Copler Mine, with the shear zone passing through the existing Copler West pit, which is currently in production.
The initial testing of the Saddle consisted of 50 diamond drill holes with a strike length of over 2 km. All holes reported in Thursday’s press release are outside the Copler resource shells and planned mining areas.
Diamond drill holes intersected both oxide and sulphide gold mineralization, some with impressive grades and thicknesses.
Highlights include drill holeCDD657 which returned 22.6 metres of 9.65 g/t gold (oxide) from 24.5 metres, including 6.0 metres at 30.78 g/t gold (oxide) from 26.2 metres and 1.0 metre at 104 g/t gold (oxide) from 28.2 metres, and 1.4 metres at 8.6 g/t gold (oxide) from 36.2 metres.
“The Copler Saddle is shaping up to be another outstanding near-mine exploration project and an important component of our short-term strategy to identify additional oxide ore that we can convert quickly into production by leveraging our existing infrastructure,” said Alacer President and CEO Rod Antal.
Alacer recently announced a maiden mineral resource estimate for the Ardich oxide gold deposit, which is located approximately 6 km northeast of the Copler Mine .
The total measured and indicated resource at the Ardich oxide deposit stands at 294,000 ounces of gold (6.9 million tonnes at 1.32 g/t gold). On top of that is an inferred resource of 85,000 ounces gold (2.2 million tonnes at 1.2 g/t gold).
“With Ardich already shaping up to be a major discovery, and now with Saddle showing potential, albeit at an earlier exploration stage, our short term strategy is rapidly becoming a reality,” Antal said.
On Thursday, Alacer shares were up 2.5% or 14 cents to $5.66. The shares are currently trading in a 52-week range of $1.97 and $6.25.
The Copler Saddle shear zone is defined as an arc-like structure running norths-south for approximately 2 km. It appears to be dipping 600 to 700 metres to the west. Soil sampling was conducted in several campaigns in a 2.0 by 2.8-km area with a 50 metres by 50 metres sampling grid.
The geochemical results of this soil sampling program returned gold values with some areas exceeding 0.5 g/t.
Elevated soil gold geochemistry points to at least three potentially attractive exploration areas closely related with the Saddle shear zone. Detailed mapping of these areas with elevated soil geochemistry are being conducted to plan a follow-up drilling program.