In November 2016, CAML announced that the company had signed a framework agreement to acquire an 80% effective interest in the Shuak copper exploration property in the Akmola Oblast region of northern Kazakhstan. The project is approximately 300 kilometres north of the capital city, Astana, and 40 kilometres north east of the regional centre, Stepnogorsk.
The licence area is 197km2 and contains three target areas that warrant immediate and detailed exploration for copper and gold. The area hosts two mineralisation styles that are of particular interest to CAML. These are:
saprolite hosted oxide and enriched copper, gold and molybdenum mineralisation that may be amenable to copper production by solvent extraction – electro winning (SX-EW) processing, and;
copper, molybdenum and gold bearing dissemination and stockwork mineralisation of a porphyry nature.
In addition, there are widespread copper, gold, silver and molybdenum geochemical anomalies within the licence area.
The Shuak property was explored between 1973 and 1991, with historic work including geochemistry, geophysics, trenching and drilling at the site. During this time, over 45,000 metres of diamond holes were drilled and resource estimation to historic Soviet standards was undertaken. This demonstrated a pre-GKZ resource at Mongol V, CAML’s priority copper oxide exploration target area, of c.49.5 million tonnes at a grade of 0.66% Cu for approximately 327,000 tonnes of contained copper in both C2 and P1 categories.
Around 8km2 of metalliferous saprolite has been identified within the licence area, with thicknesses varying from minimal to in excess of 60m in depth. Most recently, former owners of the property undertook small scale mining at Mongol V and sampling of the stockpile generated from these mining activities demonstrated copper oxide grades in excess of 2% in several cases. Column leach testing of this saprolitic material at CAML’s Kounrad facility has shown it to be amenable to processing by leaching with dilute sulphuric acid, with copper recoveries of over 90%.
Together with partners, Aksu-Esil, CAML has been undertaking geological mapping and is nearing completion of a TEM-FAST geophysics programme, which has been designed primarily to ascertain the depth and extent of the saprolite weathering horizon.
The 2017 diamond drilling programme of approximately 4,700 metres has recently commenced, together with an initial 7,000 metre core hydrotransport (CHT) drilling campaign. Priority areas for both work programmes are Mongol V and Mongol North. In total, 22,000 metres of drilling are planned for 2017 and the exploration budget for the year is $1.5 million.
tonnes of contained copper at Mongol V in pre-GKZ resource