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Τρίτη, 28 Αυγούστου 2012

Η έρευνα για χρυσό στην Ευρώπη

Gold Exploration from the Mining Journal Magazine EUROPE has witnessed a resurgence in exploration activity in recent years.This activity has focused on three main regions; the western extent of the Tethyan Belt (extending across central and eastern Europe, Greece, Turkey and into the Arabian peninsular), the Iberian Pyrite Belt (covering Spain and Portugal) and Scandinavia.

However, western Europe, including the UK, is also seeing an increase in exploration activity. Euromines, the European Association of Mining Industries, estimates that total gold exploration in Europe amounted to €30 million (US$38 million) in 2009, with strong growth potential for 2010.

The bulk of these funds are spent in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Finland, Greenland and Norway), which account for some 60% of total European expenditures. A lot of this is generated by local companies raising
money on local stock exchanges and privately however.

The Balkans also receive a large proportion of exploration spending (around 35%) while the rest of Europe (the Iberian peninsular and other countries) accounts for just 5% of gold exploration spending.

TETHYAN FOCUS
The European extension of the Tethyan belt has received significantly less attention that the eastern extent, which hosts numerous established mining operations, including Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc’s Grasberg mine, Inmet Mining Corp’s Ok Tedi and Newmont Mining Corp’s Batu Hijau.

The European extension, which includes Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, does however host significant potential as a gold-mining region.

Exploration in Hungary and Bulgaria is still in the early stages, but a few international companies have initiated projects in the region.

In Bulgaria, Dundee Precious Metals Inc’s Krumovgrad project is at the feasibility stage and has the potential to produce up to 800,000oz of gold over the life of the mine.Euromax Resources Ltd and Cambridge Mineral Resources plc are also developing the Breznik and Trun and Tashlaka Hill projects, respectively.

Romania’s current gold production is only in the region of 12,000oz/y, but a number of foreign companies are investing in exploration projects in the country, which, if developed, could make Romania Europe’s largest gold producer. Gabriel Resources Ltd’s Rosia Montana project could become Romania’s largest gold operation, producing an average 500,000oz/y over the life of the mine (and 626,000oz/y in the first five years of production). Development of the project has been stalled since 2007, however, when the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was suspended as a result of a decision taken by the former Minister of Environment mand Forestry. Meanwhile, in May this year, European Goldfields Ltd received the last remaining approval for the Zonal Urbanisation Plan at its Certej gold-silver project. The company is completing the final EIA for the project, which it says will be submitted to the authorities shortly. Also in Romania, Carpathian Gold is developing the Rovina Valley gold-copper project following the completion of a preliminary economic assessment earlier this year. While, Valhalla Resources Ltd has entered into a joint venture with Barrick Gold Corp on the Bratosin Hill property.


NEAR-TERM POTENTIAL
Greece has the potential to become a near-term gold producer with a number of exploration companies active in the country. European Goldfields is developing a project including mining and processing at the Skouries gold-copper project, and the initiation of mining at the Olympias polymetallic project. The company has completed a feasibility study at Skouries outlining potential annual production of 200,000oz of gold and 40,000t of copper.

Eldorado Gold Corp is developing the Perama Hill gold project through its wholly-owned subsidiary Thracean Gold Mining SA. In March, Eldorado submitted a technical report on the project to the relevant authorities and the company anticipates starting construction at the property in 2011, at a capital cost of US$159 million.Once operational, Perama Hill is anticipated to produce 110,000oz/y of gold at a cash operating cost of US$278/oz.

Australian-based Cape Lambert Resources Ltd, meanwhile, is developing the Sappes gold project in
north-eastern Greece.


LEADING THE PACK
Turkey has the most established gold-mining industry within the western Tethyan region, and the country’sgold production is expected to grow from last year’s 469,400oz to 650,000oz this year. For example, Eldorado is expanding production at its Kisladag mine to a steady rate of 300,000 oz/y, commencing in 2011.

Anatolia Minerals Development Ltd mined the first gold ore from the Manganese Mine Zone of its Çöpler
project in December 2009. The 1.3Moz project expects to produce 175,000oz/y by 2011 at a cash
cost of US$260/oz.Among the junior explorers and developers, Ariana Resources plc and Stratex International plc stand out. Each has advanced projects in the country which they are seeking to develop in partnership with local companies.