Antilles Gold Ltd outlines proposed exploration program in Cuba
By Ephrem Joseph / Proactive
Antilles Gold Ltd (ASX:AAU, OTCQB:ANTMF) has outlined its proposed exploration program through to the end of 2023 for two highly prospective and previously explored concessions in Cuba.
The company’s El Pilar and New Horizons concessions, which are both situated in central Cuba, are included in an exploration agreement between Antilles and the Cuban government’s mining arm, GeoMinera SA.
In addition, another significant and highly prospective VMS polymetallic mineral belt in Southeast Cuba is expected to be added to the agreement in the near future.
Under the exploration agreement, Antilles may, at its cost, conduct preliminary exploration and a scoping study of the development potential of previously explored mineral deposits after reviewing the large number of properties offered to it by GeoMinera.
Subject to encouraging results, individual deposits will be transferred to the existing joint venture company or a new joint venture for development.
Antilles executive chairman Brian Johnson commented that he was also looking forward to the receipt of assays from the preliminary drilling program of the El Pilar porphyry deposit, which should commence around the end of next month.
The company’s highly experienced exploration director Dr Christian Grainger has advised that, based on the surface expression of the deposit and previous aeromagnetic surveys, he considers the El Pilar porphyry deposit could typically extend to a depth greater than 1,000 metres.
Notably, copper grades from the near-term drilling results should provide an indication of the deposit’s prospectivity.
GeoMinera is also Antilles Gold’s partner in a joint venture which expects to commence construction in early 2023 of the La Demajagua gold-silver open pit mine on the Isle of Youth in southwest Cuba to produce approximately 100,000 ounces of gold equivalent per year in concentrate for eight years and be followed by underground operations for 10 years.
Based on modelling of historic drilling results from both the El Pilar gold-copper oxide deposit, and remnant ore at the Antonio copper-zinc mine in the New Horizons concession, the company is confident two low-capex mining operations will be established on these properties in quick succession after the La Demajagua mine, and be fully financed by La Demajagua’s surplus cash flow.
Funding from placement
The cost of the initial exploration program of the El Pilar deposit will be met from part of the proceeds of a recent A$3 million share placement.
Once results from this program are received, the exploration activities and budget for 2023 will be confirmed.
The forecast cost of approximately US$2.5 million for next year is expected to be met by the placement of Antilles Gold shares to a number of European, Canadian, Southeast Asian and Australian investors who have expressed interest in supporting Antilles Gold’s development and exploration activities in Cuba.
Some of these prospective investors became new shareholders of Antilles Gold when collectively contributing more than 50% of the recent share issue and are looking forward to near-term drilling results which should indicate the prospectivity of the major El Pilar copper-gold porphyry deposit.
Exploration costs in the future could be met by surplus cash expected to be generated from the La Demajagua gold-silver open pit mine.