Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd, a gold company primarily focused on bringing historic mines back into production, is pleased to announce that it has received the Certificate of Approval from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for its Two-Year Community Development Plan at its Batangas Gold Project (‘Batangas’ or ‘the Project’) in the Philippines. This represents a significant step forward and underlines the importance of the Company’s local development partner in navigating the regulatory environment to allow the key project area at Batangas, the Lobo underground mine, to be advanced to a production decision. Importantly the Company already has two 25 year Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (“MPSA”) covering the Lobo Project area.
- Community Plan Approval allows for groundwork including supplementary drilling to commence at the highly prospective Lobo project area.
- Demonstrates that the JV is proving successful, and the Project development plan adheres to the relevant protocols required by the new Philippine Government for mining development.
- Lobo has a JORC Compliant Ore Reserves of 171,000 tons at 6.6 g/t for 36,000 oz Au, an 82,000 oz Au inferred resource plus multiple epithermal and high-grade targets identified over 14km of identified mineralised structures.
- Grades include high-grade surface trench intersections of 8.35m @ 18.4 g/t Au, 2.6m @ 28.6 g/t Au and 3m @ 22.2 g/t Au.
- The JV will now implement plans to commence a new drilling campaign to increase the resource and develop potential underground mine plan and work with its environmental consultancy for the application of the Environmental Compliance Certificate.
- JV structure provides Bluebird with a free carry to production decision in return for 60% of the project equity.
Bluebird CEO Colin Patterson said, “The approval of the Community Plan is a significant step forward in the development plans for an underground gold mine at Lobo in the Philippines. The JV partner recognised the potential of the Project, with this news highlighting the key role it has in advancing the permitting process and building community relations. The JV will now execute its plan to advance Lobo towards a production decision, where the potential for a high-grade underground mine is clear. The Philippine Government is highly supportive of responsible mining opportunities, which contribute to the economic development of the country, and with a well-trained local workforce, excellent infrastructure, we believe fast-tracking this exciting project is highly achievable.”
The highly prospective Batangas Gold Exploration Project in the Philippines is being advanced within a joint venture with a Philippine company, which has decades of experience in mining (see RNS dated 7 February 2023). The JV covers the entire Batangas Project area, which has a current JORC compliant resource of 440,000 ounces, including a maiden ore reserve of 128,000 ounces (including silver credits).
The current focus of the JV and the two-year Community Development Plan is the Lobo underground mining operation. The Project has an initial Probable JORC Compliant Ore Reserves of 171,000 tons at 6.6 g/t for 36,000 ounces of gold excluding silver credits based primarily on the South West Breccia (‘SWB’) area of the licence that can be mined in the first 18 months of any operation. There is an Indicated resource of 82,000 oz au that is perceived as easily convertible. Additionally, the Lobo licence area has multiple epithermal and high-grade targets already identified for resource expansion with 14km of identified mineralised structures with grades including high-grade surface trench intersections yielded 8.35m @ 18.4 g/t Au, 2.6m @ 28.6 g/t Au and 3m @ 22.2 g/t Au. The Lobo underground mining operation is similar to Medusa Mining’s Philippine project.
Accordingly, a drill programme is being planned at Lobo and discussions are underway with drilling contractors. Furthermore, the Company’s environmental consultancy is undertaking groundwork for the application of the Environmental Compliance Certificate, which is a key step towards obtaining a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (‘MPSA’) with the Philippine National Government.
The granting of the Community Plan Approval is a significant step in the development plans for Batangas. The Administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is focussing on improving mining standards in country. The Company’s local JV partner understand the regulatory framework and is working closely with Bluebird to ensure that all Environmental, Social and Governance standards are adhered to, and the Project is developed for the benefit of all stakeholders.