Turkey and Ethiopia operating gold miner Stratex International (LON:STI) reported on its progress during the six months to 30 June, which put the company closer to production with all of its projects undergoing extensive development.
The company summer up its activities and progress during the quarter as “further movement towards production” at the Inlice and Altintepe projects in Turkey as well as “aggressive exploration of highly prospective ground” in the under-explored territories of Ethiopia and Djibouti to identify “exciting” new gold discoveries.
Stratex is developing the Inlice and Altintepe projects jointly with Turkish construction and mining company NTF Insaat Ticaret Ltd Sti through a JV (joint venture) company NS Madencilik.
The company noted that the gold price continued to hold well above US$1,100/oz and the open-pit heap-leach operations anticipated for Inlice and Altıntepe should ensure that NS Madencilik will be a low-cost gold producer.
Infill drilling is currently underway at Altintepe with an aim to upgrade the resource as part of a scoping study funded by NTF. After the initial scoping producer a positive outcome, Altintepe is expected to undergo a full feasibility study and move into production by the end of 2012. The project has a resource of 472,318 oz oxide gold.
Drilling is currently being conducted at the Öksüt high-sulphidation gold project in Turkey, which is being funded by the company’s JV partnership with Centerra Exploration B.V. Stratex called the latest drilling results form the project “exciting,” highlighting the intersections of 51 metres grading 1.74 g/t (grammes per tonne) gold, 30.3 metres grading 1.61 g/t gold, 34.65 metres grading 2.26 g/t gold and 109.7 metres grading 1.73 g/t gold including 80.3 metres grading 2.2 g/t gold. The longest intersection to date is drill hole ODD-17 with 334.9 metres of oxide and sulphide material grading 0.52 g/t gold.
Öksüt currently has an in-house resource of 147,814 oz of oxide gold. Stratex has said that the current drilling programme will lead to an increase in that figure, also having another five zones that will now be targeted for drilling.
Stratex hailed its “rapid progress” of its expansion into the Afar Depression of Ethiopia, where it focused on further exploring the potential prospectivity of the project after discovering the Megenta low-sulphidation epithermal gold project in November 2009. Mapping and sampling results at Megenta gold discovery included values of up to 16.2 g/t gold at original surface level of the epithermal system.
Stratex has expanded its ground holdings in the vicinity of Megenta and has also moved into neighbouring Djibouti where the same geology continues and gold has been defined in epithermal systems that are still poorly understood and under-explored. The land position of Stratex in the region has increased to 2,780 sq km (square kilometres).
Stratex has also received positive gold results at the beginning of 2010 from its exploration programme on the 50 sq km Shehagne Exclusive Exploration Licence in Ethiopia. Stratex has the option to acquire 60% of the Shehagne project from our joint-venture partner Sheba Exploration (NASDAQ:UK) Plc by expending £350,000. The company is exploring its recently acquired license area immediately to the east of Shehagne.
“The critical need for new discoveries that I have consistently highlighted before has been re-iterated by McKeith, Schodde and Baltis, who point out that in recent years, notwithstanding significant investments, fewer high-quality discoveries have been made and the real costs per ounce discovered continue to rise...looking ahead, the board is confident that Stratex will continue to grow and add value to its shareholders through its commitment to becoming a significant gold-producer and by continuing to deliver important new discoveries,” said chairman David Hall.