Mining equipment replacement and fleet expansion to support the expanded development activities is budgeted at $11.1 million. A further $7.8 million will be invested to complete the construction of a paste backfill plant and $7.0 million for the development of the Principal Zone from the 280 metre level.
Subject to further studies and permitting, $26 million is budgeted in 2013 to begin the excavation of the East Mine open pit with the objective of commencing production from the pit by early 2014. A review and update of the prefeasibility done by BBA on the East Mine Open Pit is underway. The block model is being revised and the mandate to commence additional geotechnical studies has been awarded to Golder Associates. The implication of the presence of underground openings of the East Mine will also be subject to further studies. Permitting for the operation of a rock quarry, road construction and relocation, wood clearing and excavation of the open pit has been initiated with excavation of the surface overburden planned to start during the third quarter of 2013. The mining approach including mining rate and unit costs is also under review.
In 2013, it is expected that $5.2 million will be invested on exploration at Casa Berardi which will include approximately 58,000 metres of surface and underground diamond drilling. Up to three surface, and five to seven underground drill rigs will be active during the course of 2013. Aurizon expects to capitalize these costs as the primary objective of the drilling will be to improve the quality of the known reserves and resources as well as exploring for extensions of these structures.
Surface exploration will include testing the South domain of Zone 123 to investigate extensions of known mineralization.
Underground rigs will primarily focus on definition drilling of Zones 113, 118, 123, and the Principal Zone. In addition, exploration drilling from underground will be performed on the Cherty Zone 159.
EXPLORATION FOCUS FOR 2013
ADVANCED STAGE GOLD DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY - HEVA AND HOSCO WEST EXTENSION AREAS
An initial $1.5 million exploration program, consisting of further drilling, metallurgical work and a 10,000 metre of surface drill program is planned for the Heva deposit, to fill the gap inside the resource outline on sections that are supported by historic holes. Additional drilling of the down-dip extensions on Heva and Hosco West will correspond to the conceptual mining and economic studies and metallurgical testworks that are planned. With the 2012 drill program at Heva now completed, it is intended that an in-pit and underground mineral resource estimate will be completed within the first half of 2013. Up to three drill rigs will be active with the majority of the drilling to be performed during the first quarter of 2013.
A total budget of $0.5 million including 4,350 metres of drilling is planned at the Duvay property for 2013.
An updated mineral resource estimate on the Phase II drilling completed in August 2012 is in progress and is expected to be completed by early 2013. Following the updated mineral resource estimate the Company will review and evaluate a Phase III drill program.
Pursuant to an option agreement, Aurizon may earn up to a 65% interest in the Marban property, which comprises 42 mining claims and 3 mining concessions covering 976 hectares in the center of the Malartic gold mining camp in the Abitibi region of Quebec, subject to underlying royalties.
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