Alara launches study for copper-gold mining, processing facility in Oman
Sat, 30 June 2012
By Conrad Prabhu — MUSCAT — Australian-based minerals exploration and development company Alara Resources Limited has kicked off a “scoping study” for an integrated mining and processing project linked to the development of potential copper and gold deposits in the Samayil Ophiolite belt. Preliminary plans drawn up by the Perth-based company envisage a 500,000 tonnes per annum throughput mining and beneficiation facility to be established at Washihi, about 25 km from Izki. The proposed facility will not only process feedstock from the Washihi site, but also from the nearby Mullaq prospect, and the Daris prospect near Rustaq.
The scoping study, along with a vigorous drilling and exploration programme, underline ongoing efforts by Alara Resources to develop potentially promising copper and gold deposits at a number of sites across northern Oman. The firm’s wholly owned subsidiary, Alara Oman Operations Pty Limited, currently has rights to acquire interest in five exploration licences extending over 1,188 sq kilometres of prospective areas in the Sultanate.
It includes rights to acquire up to a 75 per cent interest in Pilatus Resources Oman LLC, which currently holds exploration licences that cover the Washihi, Al Ajal and Mullaq areas — all of which are believed to hold potentially sizeable copper-gold deposits. Alara also has a 50 per cent interest in the Daris Copper-Gold Project in Block 7, and rights to acquire up to 70 per cent in the Awtad Copper-Gold Project in adjoining Block 8.
Under a joint venture arrangement concluded with Pilatus, Alara has been pursuing a drilling programme targeting the Washihi prospect. Drilling results confirm the potential for thick mineralisation at high grade from the Washihi Copper-Gold Project, the company said in a recent statement. Commenting on these results, Alara’s Managing Director, Shanker Madan, said: “These drilling results are very encouraging and provide further visibility around the potential project size and economics of the Washihi Project.”
A Joint Ore Reserves Committee (JORC) estimate, mandatory under Australian mining laws, will be delivered for both the Washihi and Daris East prospects by the end of September, Madan said, adding that Hydro-geological and Environmental Studies will also commence next month. Significantly, Oman accounts for a sizeable share of Alara’s portfolio of international operations, which includes mining projects in Saudi Arabia and Chile. In Oman, Alara’s operations are primarily targeted at the discovery and development of copper-gold deposits. The company has already drilled in excess of 5,000 metres of holes. Its targetis between 3.2 million tonnes and 5 million tonnes of ore with concentrations ranging from 0.8-1 per cent copper and 0.3 to 0.5 grammes/tonne of gold.
In Block 7, the company’s exploratory activities centring on the Daris Copper-Gold Project continue apace. Alara’s strategy for the Daris prospect is to develop high grade oxide/sulphide mineralisation that may be amenable to heap leaching or custom treatment. It is also exploring shallow and deeper sulphide mineralisation using geophysical and geochemical techniques. Prospects in nearby Block 8, which holds the Awtad Copper-Gold Project, are also promising, says Alara. The project area has the potential to host substantial copper mineralisation, according to the company, which plans to pursue a systematic modern exploration programme across the concession.
Ads with Image