14th March 2023
The Australian miner, Antilles Gold, has said that it has confirmed the presence of high-grade copper in samples taken from its El Pilar oxide concession in central Cuba. An expanded drilling programme will start in April 2023. This, it said, will focus, “on the copper-gold oxide domains and on a cluster of porphyry copper-gold intrusive targets.”
In two progress reports to the Australian Stock Exchange, Brian Johnson, the Executive Chairman, of Antilles Gold said that its 1800-metre drilling programme in 2022 at El Pilar in Ciego de Avilar had identified a 134.5-metre zone grading 1.13% copper from just under 50 metres, with a smaller zone grading up to 4.85% copper. In another drill hole, the company struck up to 38.31 grams per tonne of gold across 14 metres from a depth of 49.5 metres, as well as an 8-metre intersection of 1.27% copper.
Johnson said that the Bowral, New South Wales based company would now be splitting its activities in Cuba into two arms: one focused on small gold mines in its Minera La Victoria joint venture with Cuba’s state mining company GeoMinera SA, and another that will be focussed on copper.
In a statement, he said that its gold mining operations in Cuba with GeoMinera had “the potential for worthwhile cumulative gold production and profitability” and that there were opportunities for another joint venture “exploring major copper targets.”
Antilles Chairman also noted that the company expects to use its anticipated surplus cash flow from its existing La Demajagua mine development on the Isla de la Juventud to assist in funding subsequent gold projects, and in the exploration of the significant copper prospects that have been identified.
According to industry analysts this could see work on developing a mine at El Pilar come soon after the proposed open pit La Demajagua gold, silver, and antimony mine opens, which according to Antilles will be “development ready” in mid-2023, with commissioning expected in June 2024.
Antilles Gold reported that GeoMinera SA has indicated that Minera La Victoria “will be permitted to carry out multiple gold projects.”
The company also noted that a new subsidiary, Antilles Metals Inc, is being incorporated in the Cayman Islands to enter a separate joint venture with GeoMinera to explore the El Pilar copper-gold porphyry system. Antilles added that it had signed a Letter of Intent with GeoMinera initiating negotiations on including in its Exploration Agreement “a second, highly prospective copper belt in Cuba.”
Australia’s The Market Herald reported on 3 March that in an indication of Antilles commitment to its partnership with GeoMinera, the miner’s Cayman Islands-registered subsidiary acquired an extra 1% in the Minera La Victoria joint venture making it an equal partner with GeoMinera.
Antilles is engaged in three projects in Cuba with GeoMinera: an open pit mine at the La Demajagua sulphide gold-silver deposit on the Isle of Youth; the potential gold-copper mine at Il Pilar in Central Cuba; and the Antonio copper-zinc mine in Villa Clara which involves extracting remnant ore from a Soviet-era mine that has not been operational since 1992.
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Photo by Lucas Kapla