Australian miner eyes second gold project

A small Australian mining company announced preliminary work on a second gold exploration project in Cuba.

Antilles Gold Ltd. said in a press release that it plans to submit a proposal to state company GeoMinera to form a 49:51 International Economic Association that would explore a copper-gold deposit in Camagüey province known as Golden Hills.

In February, the New South Wales-based company announced a similar agreement for the La Demajagua deposit on the Isle of Youth. Antilles expects to complete a feasibility study and take a decision whether to develop that project by September.

Antilles Gold, which also operates a gold mine in the Dominican Republic, says it may build a processing plant for arsenopyrite concentrate at either La Demajagua or in the Dominican Republic, “depending on the outcome of ongoing U.S. sanctions against Cuba, and the availability of project finance for either location”.

The Golden Hills area in Camagüey, which was exploited through open-pit mining in the 1990s, offers gold and copper-rich volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) ore. Discovered in 1994 by Canada’s MacDonald Mines, it is located 80 kilometers south of the provincial capital Camagüey. MacDonald identified a potential of 89,000 ounces of gold; GeoMinera eventually proceeded to mine some of the deposits close to the surface, leaving the deeper system intact.

GeoMinera is in possession of MacDonald Mines’ exploration data from 200 80-meter deep drills. Typically, VMS systems reach hundreds of meters below the surface.

The Antilles moves are part of increasing interest by mining companies in Cuba. In October, Australian startup Caribe Metals Corp. formed the Minera del Sur S.A. joint venture to develop a copper mine in eastern Cuba.

Caribe Metals could invest up to $500 million, Remo Moretta, Australia’s ambassador in Havana, said at a recent webinar hosted by the Australia-Latin America Business Council.

“Future trade opportunities are looking very promising,” Moretta said.

Also, in 2018, Toronto-based Millbrook Minerals Inc. formed an International Economic Association with GeoMinera to search for base and precious metals at 13 sites in Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila and Las Tunas provinces.

The highest-profile non-nickel mining venture is the Empresa Minera del Caribe S.A. (Emincar) joint venture, which has been producing zinc and lead at the Castellanos mine in Pinar del Río province since 2017. Emincar is 49% owned by Singapore-based commodity giant Trafigura Group Pte.

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