Batero Gold Corp. (CVE:BAT) unveiled Thursday information on the oxide resource potential and metallurgical test work contained in its NI 43-101 compliant technical report recently filed for the company's Batero-Quinchia project in Colombia.
As part of Batero's planned 2012 work program to evaluate the potential of a high grade development option at the La Cumbre porphyry deposit in the southern area of the mineral resources at the project, the company will look to improve project economics through low cost heap leach mineral processing, it said.
The company will also advance metallurgical test work and deposit modeling to increase oxide resources, gold grade and recovery.
The next stage of metallurgical testing should investigate means for improving cyanidation recovery. The company said a test program will be undertaken to better understand the relationship between gold and sulphur grades with respect to gold recovery.
Within the technical report filed earlier this month, it showed zones of higher grade oxide resources, grading more than 1 gram per tonne (g/t) gold near surface at La Cumbre and at 11.42 g/t gold over 5.8 metres adjacent to the deposit, remain open to delineate.
This means that there is potential to further boost project economics, Batero said.
Initial metallurgical test work done by G&T Metallurgical Services on oxide gold mineralization also returned up to 94 percent recovery. The lowest sulphur grade produced the highest recovery.
The oxide gold resources in the report, at a 0.16 g/t gold cut off, were estimated at 313,000 ounces within 18 million tonnes averaging 0.54 g/t gold in the indicated category, and 275,000 ounces within 24 million tonnes averaging 0.36 g/t gold in the inferred category.
The report noted that oxide mineral resources amenable to low cost heap leach processing represent approximately 10 percent of the current indicated and inferred resources at the project at this early stage.
The company said areas of oxide mineralization adjacent to La Cumbre still need to be modelled into the oxide portion of the resource estimate. Mineralization in the oxide horizon, and the thicker, underlying transition horizon at La Cumbre, will be further tested to increase the potential leachable gold resource, Batero said.
At surface to a preliminary depth of 70 metres at the La Cumbre deposit is a higher grade gold-bearing oxide mineral zone, and below this zone lies a thicker transition mineral zone, over a vertical distance of 150 to 200 metres, which overlies the primary sulphide mineral zone.
The thick transition zone, with low sulphur content, requires additional metallurgical test work to be included in the oxide mineral resources of the project, Batero noted.
"We are pleased that 10% of our initial mineral resources are classified as oxide mineralization that may be amenable to low cost heap leaching," said president and CEO Brandon Rook.
"Preliminary metallurgical testing also shows high recoveries of up to 94% in the oxide material. An objective of our 2012 work program will be growth of the oxide opportunity at La Cumbre to contribute positively to the PEA.
Further modeling and metallurgical test work will be completed in 2012 to determine if there is a variation in gold recoveries between the oxide and the transition zones or if these two zones can be treated together.
"Also, further drill testing of the oxide zone has the potential to increase the volume of the oxide resources through new discoveries and better definition."
Pockets of higher grade gold mineralization are situated throughout the mineral resources at La Cumbre, Batero said.
Batero's $8 million, 12-month work program for the project in 2012 includes 15,000 metres of drilling, and an updated resource estimate within a PEA for the La Cumbre area of the property.
The mineral resource estimate included in the technical report, as of February 24, 2012, was prepared by Roscoe Postle Associates.
Batero Gold is a Vancouver-based precious and base metals exploration and development company focused in Colombia's emerging and prolific Mid-Cauca porphyry gold and copper belt. Its Batero-Quinchia project comprises a 1,407 hectare tenement.
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