A scoping study on Aim-listed Highland Gold’s Unkurtash project, in Kyrgyzstan, has demonstrated positive economics.
The study, which was compiled by SRK, estimates some $322-million in capital expenditure will be require to build the mine, which is estimated to produce some 133 000 oz/y of gold over an 18-year mine life. The mine plan envisions mining from two openpits.
Highland Gold acquired Unkurtash from Barrick Gold in 2006 and has since spent $38-million on extensive exploration of the site.
The Unkurtash licence area covers three well-explored deposits – Unkurtash, Karatube and Sarytube – with a previously published Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant mineral resources of 3.5-million ounces of gold at 1.82 g/t.
Operating costs at the project, which is situated in an area that already features operating mines and has access to paved roads, power and water supply, is estimated to be about $616/oz.
Highland Gold is considering various alternatives for proceeding with the project, including partnering with a strategic investor to codevelop the mine.