***Updated with the latest share price information***
Southern Arc Minerals (CVE:SA) (OTCQX:SOACF) shares advanced more than 10 per cent Tuesday after it received the long-awaited Pinjam Pakai forestry permit for its West Lombok property in Indonesia, allowing the company to resume full-scale exploration activities on the asset.
The company's stock moved up 3.5 cents to 37 cents on Tuesday afternoon.
In late 2011, the company made the decision to focus its near-term drilling activities on targets within areas without forestry designation, until the Pinjam Pakai, or borrow to use, permit was issued.
The key West Lombok project hosts porphyry copper-gold, high-sulfidation gold-copper and epithermal gold deposits.
"I am pleased to announce that we are in a position to fully re-engage exploration activities on our flagship West Lombok property," said chairman and CEO, John Proust. "This permit enables Southern Arc to conduct both surface and drilling exploration for the standard renewable two-year period. We are committed to advancing this property and will immediately mobilize rigs, staff and resources."
During the waiting period for the permit, the company continued to work closely with SRK Consulting to prepare a detailed drilling program for epithermal gold targets within the Pelangan and Mencanggah prospects.
The next phase of exploration will focus on infill drilling in areas where the company has found high grade shoots and wide mineralized intercepts, it said.
Southern Arc's aim for the drilling program is to develop an NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate for three targets within the 13 by 7 kilometre corridor of mineralization at West Lombok.
These targets - Bising, Tebu Ser ai and Raja - are the three most developed epithermal targets within the property, with several other targets also returning "encouraging surface results" that will be explored in future campaigns, the Indonesia-focused company said.
"As challenging as I know the wait for the permit has been for our shareholders," continued Proust, "I would stress that this conservative approach has placed us in a much stronger position to both protect and promote the company's interest in West Lombok."
President and COO of Southern Arc, Dr. Mike Andrews, added that from the start of drilling, the company anticipates that the drilling program will take around five months to complete, allowing it to publish a resource estimate by the middle of next year.
The first priority of the campaign will be the Bising target in the Mencanggah prospect, where it is mobilizing six drill rigs, with field personnel already preparing access roads and drill pads.
Southern Arc plans to drill up to 18 holes at Bising in two phases to infill and expand the zone of mineralization next to the wide intercepts identified previously, including 51.3 metres at 1.5 grams per tonne(g/t) gold, and 39.0 metres at 1.8 g/t gold. In 2011, the junior explorer drilled eight holes at Bising, identifying a 500-metre long zone of mineralization.
At the Tibu Serai target in the Mencanggah prospect, Southern Arc plans to test down-dip from elevated "rock-chip gold geochemistry in multiple veins" that show low silver-to-gold ratios, which the company says are a "proven vector" to higher gold grades in epithermal mineralization throughout the property.
Meanwhile, at Raja in the Pelangan prospect, the drill program will test for continuity of high-grade mineralization around previous drill intercepts including 17.4 metres at 19.4 g/t gold, while also testing the potential for extending and upgrading high grade shoots found.
"I supported the decision to take a patient and prudent approach over the past ten months and congratulate the executive team for this successful outcome, an achievement due in part to Southern Arc's commitment to building strong relationships at all levels in a culturally nuanced environment," said board member Mohammed Al-Shahwani, who is also the CEO of state-owned Qatar Mining Company.
"I look forward to the outcome of the West Lombok NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate with great interest and trust that the work programs planned for the area will add value to the exploration assets."
Southern Arc has a portfolio of projects in Indonesia aside from West Lombok, including the East Elang project, in which Vale(NYSE:VALE) remains a partner, and the Taliwang property next to Newmont's (NYSE:NEM) Batu Hijau copper-gold mine.