Orsu Metals Knocks on China’s Door: Develops Copper-Gold Projects in Central Asia
April 13, 2012 by Gold Editor
SOURCE: [Prospecting Journal]—In the race for precious and base metals, miners are drawn to the riches of Central Asia. The region’s proximity to China, now the world’s largest copper and gold consumer is an exciting investment opportunity for companies looking to create substantial returns.
Orsu Metals (OSU-TSX.V) is one of the best prospects in the region. The London-based company is developing advanced staged gold deposits in the Tien Shan gold belt in the Kyrgyz Republic, one of the largest and most prolific gold belts in the world, and the Rudny Altai copper belt in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Orsu was formed in June 2008 after the acquisition of Lero Gold Corp. by European Minerals Corporation.
Karchiga Project Orsu Metals [OSU – TSX.V] is bringing investor interest to the region, with the latest focus on the DFS on its Karchiga VMS Copper Project in Kazakhstan.
Lying in Kazakhstan’s renowned Rudny Altai copper belt, the Karchiga Project is on its way to becoming an open-pit mine. The positive DFS, used to determine the viability of mining at the project, highlights a considerable mineral reserve in two open pits. The Probable Mineral Reserve estimate is 8.5 million tonnes of sulphide ore in the Central and North East pits, containing 145,227 tonnes of copper at an average grade of 1.71%. As well, there is an additional 1.5 million tonnes of ore in the Central pit containing 21,339 tonnes of copper at an average grade of 1.43%. Overall this reserve estimate is worth more than $600 million at current spot prices.
The cost of the mine is offset by production as profit is expected shortly after the initial capital expenditure. With an initial CAPEX of US$115 million and a payback period of only 2.75 years, the mine will operate for 11.5 years with an estimated total CAPEX of US$147 million. Thus the average mining cost over the 11.5 years of mine life is $1.70 per tonne of material moved.
Total production is calculated at 149kt of payable copper. The average annual production target is 12,957 tonnes of copper from sulphide and oxide ore: this includes a processing rate of 750,000 tonnes of sulphide ore per annum, with a total of 136.3kt of copper in 27.9% concentrate, and a heap leach processing rate of 360,000 tonnes of oxide per annum (over 4.5 years), which is a total of 12.7kt of cathode copper.