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Antilles Gold Ltd fields high-grade gold and copper at El Pilar as Cuban Government justifies drilling for first half of 2023

Antilles Gold Ltd (ASX:AAU, OTCQB:ANTMF) has received all results from its recent 1,800-metre drilling program at El Pilar in central Cuba which was aimed primarily at validating 28,000 metres of historic drilling on the outcropping gold-copper oxide deposit.

Encouraging results justify exploration

The company feels the encouraging results prove the case for proceeding with a 10,000-metre cored drilling program to establish the deposit’s JORC resources.

In addition to a number of “outstanding intercepts” highlighted below for gold and copper in the 65-metre to 75-metre-deep oxide deposit, one of the holes penetrated 134 metres from below the upper gold domain through the lower copper domain, and into an underlying sulphide zone with an average grade over this length of 1.23% copper and was open at depth.


Gold oxide zone

  • 20 metres at 2.87 g/t gold from surface including 3 metres at 13.81 g/t;
  • 13.4 metres at 3.53 g/t from 14.3 metres;
  • 53.5 metres at 10.92 g/t from 12 metres including 18.4 metres at 14.00 g/t from 45 metres; and
  • 18 metres at 2 g/t from 4 metres.

Copper oxide zone

  • 30.4 metres at 0.55% copper from 49.5 metres including 8 metres at 1.39% from 53.5 metres;
  • 18.5 metres at 5.52% from 59 metres; and
  • 18 metres at 1.08% from 32.5 metres including 3.8 metres at 3.83% from 38.5 metres.

The company’s exploration director advises that this hole’s intersection of the sulphide mineralisation indicates a porphyry system that is the source of all metals in the overlying oxide deposit and has the potential for discovery of a major copper-gold deposit.

These assays are considered to be preliminary as they were undertaken at the Cuban Government’s LACEMI (Laboratorio Central de Minerales) laboratory in Havana, which is not JORC-certified.

All assays will be replicated at SGS’s laboratory in Canada within the next four to six weeks.

Development of low cap-ex mine

In order to progress the possible development of a low cap-ex mine on the El Pilar oxide deposit, the following things need to happen, several preconditions need to be fulfilled:

  • The government is excising an area nominated by Antilles Gold from the 18,000-hectare El Pilar concession held within the company’s Exploration Agreement with GeoMinera to create a new concession for oxide ore, with mining to be restricted to a depth of 100 metres.
  • The government will then propose a value for the new concession as a basis for negotiations with Antilles Gold to determine the amount the company will contribute for pre-development activities to earn 49% ownership of the concession.
  • The earn-in amount is expected to be relatively low as the concession’s market value will only emerge when JORC resources and a scoping study have been completed for the deposit in about nine months.
  • Antilles Gold has requested that the new oxide concession be transferred to the existing joint venture company, Minera La Victoria SA (MLV) for development. This will obviate the requirement for a new joint venture to be negotiated, which would otherwise be time-consuming.
  • The gold and copper concentrates to be produced from the oxide deposit are expected to have low levels of contaminants and will be sold into a market with strong demand for such products.
  • Early discussions with international concentrate traders have indicated that buyers will support project financing.

With respect to the underlying El Pilar porphyry copper-gold deposit and the adjacent Gaspar copper-molybdenum deposit, the value of the porphyry system will be negotiated based on results from the upcoming five-hole drilling program into the sulphide zone and is also expected to be a relatively low amount with extensive future drilling required to establish its commercial potential.

The porphyry concession will be transferred to a new joint venture between Antilles Gold and GeoMinera, and the company will request that the level of foreign ownership be increased from the current industry maximum of 49% which, if approved, would improve the prospect of attracting future participation of a major mining group in what could be a significant project.

Antilles Gold’s ‘at-risk’ expenditure on its initial review of the potential of the El Pilar deposit is not expected to exceed US$2.5 million and will be spread over the next six to nine months in advance of the new concessions being transferred to joint ventures.

Capital raising

Executive chairman Brian Johnson said: “It is disappointing to have to undertake the current issue of shares at a depressed share price but it is important to have funding available to maintain the momentum of activities in Cuba including the progress of its exploration program and to reinforce its relationship with GeoMinera and Cuban authorities.

“On completion of the current raising, the company’s activities in Cuba will be fully funded through to July 2023, and in the interim period will be working with a supportive London-based merchant bank, and specific mining companies with operations in Latin America, to arrange funding for exploration activities in the second half of 2023, and for 2024, with the aim of minimising, or eliminating, further near-term dilution.”

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