Discovery Metals said 2011 will be used as a year by the company to better understand the potential for underground mining that will help increase the expected production at Boseto Copper Project.
The Botswana Stock Exchange quoted mining outfit recently completed the 52 hole Zeta underground infill drilling programme that will further prolong the life of the copper project in the north eastern part of the country.
“A key initiative of the company in 2011 is to better understand the potential for underground mining at Zeta and Plutus with a view to increasing production at Boseto beyond the currently planned 36,000 tpa towards 50,000 tpa,” Discovery’s Managing Director, Brad Sampson said.
The company this week reported additional results from infill drilling of the Zeta underground resource. The programme started in July 2010,
The Zeta deposit is a part of the Boseto copper project, which is currently being constructed and is scheduled to commence production in early 2012.
Its current planned production is 36,000 tonnes of copper and 1 million ounces of silver per annum over a minimum 15 year mine life.
The results reported are from ten holes drilled along 2.7 kilometres of strike to intersect the target mineralised horizon at 200?300 metres below surface beneath the area planned for open pit mining.
They are part of a 52 hole infill drilling programme which has just been completed, with results from the final 17 holes expected before the end of March 2011.
The company said the results reported to date (from 35 holes) have exceeded expectations in terms of grade and thickness of mineralisation intersected.
An updated resource estimate is planned for completion by the end of the second quarter of the year.
“These latest results continue to highlight areas of thick, high grade (>1.5% Cu) mineralisation at depth in the Zeta Deposit,” said Sampson.
“The search has now relocated to Plutus, where we are hopeful of also finding additional resources which could be mined underground,” he added.
A scoping study into underground mining at Zeta, which was reported in March 2010, indicated that large scale underground mining (up to 1.5 million tonnes per annum of ore production) was possible from the Inferred Mineral Resources defined below the planned base of open pit mining.
A Bankable Feasibility Study of this concept, which is a key part of the Development Plan for the Boseto Copper Project, is now underway, with target completion at the end of third quarter of 2011.
Discovery Metals said the purpose of the 52 hole infill drilling programme is to improve confidence in the mineral resources below the base of open pit mining and upgrade some from an Inferred to Indicated classification, and provide geotechnical and other data for mine design and planning.