By Kip Keen (Mine Web),
MUCH of Nevsun’s drilling in Eritrea this year – as part of a vastly expanded drill program – has concentrated on the Harena deposit, the near-surface parts to which it mined early on as part of its Bisha mine.
After recent drilling, the steeply dipping deposit, now shows that it continues at depth and along strike and is associated with new gold rich zones.
The latest drilling was focused on deeper extensions (about 400 metres below surface) with 32 metres @ 1.78% Cu, 5.78% Zn 0.53 g/t Au and 31 g/t Ag. That includes a section with about 4% coper over 10 metres and is quite a bit higher that existing resources of 1.8mt @ 0.7% Cu 3.9% Zn 0.6 g/t Au and 23g/t Ag.
For Nevsun, it could very well mean a longer life at Bisha. Harena has grown substantially this year and it will no doubt mean a sizeable expansion of resources that could eventually make their way into Bisha mine plans. As it stands, Nevsun aims to produce between 100-150 million pounds/year copper equivalent (lots of zinc here) for most of Bisha’s minelife to 2024.
But Haywood Securities’ Stefan Ioannou agrees that Nevsun is showing that Bisha may have a longer life with Harena and prospects beyond.
“I don’t think it was ever a question ‘if’ Harena would eventually provide a source of supplemental/satellite feed to the Bisha mill,” he said in an email to Mineweb. “However, it looks like the deposit is growing towards the point of potentially adding significantly to the project’s overall mine life.”
Nevsun plans to issue a resource/reserve update in early 2015. This will include new expansions from Harena and could bolster Bisha’s mine life.
After years of mine-development focus, Nevsun ramped up its drilling programs in 2014. It spent some $10m-plus on greenfield exploration this year.
It’s set to do about the same in 2015, Nevsun’s president and CEO Cliff Davis tells Mineweb.