Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd, a gold company primarily focused on bringing historic mines back into production, is delighted to announce that it has signed an agreement with a Philippine company, whose owners have decades of experience in mining, to develop the high grade Batangas Gold Project (‘Batangas’ or ‘the Project’) in the Philippines (‘the Agreement’).
- Joint Venture secured to fast-track Batangas to production decision.
- Work focused on completing Exploration and Environmental Work Programmes targeting the high-grade Lobo area of the Batangas and includes:
- Additional drilling to increase the resource; and
- Reworking the plan for underground mining potential
- Excellent exploration potential across the licence with high-grade targets already identified for resource expansion with 14km of identified mineralised structures.
- Philippine partner has decades of experience in mining.
- Staged agreement based on the JV partner achieving defined development goals.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures CEO Colin Patterson said, “This JV provides Bluebird with a free carry on the development of the high grade Batangas Gold Project in the Philippines. With decades of mining experience in-country, our local partner, has recognised the potential of the Project, particularly Lobo, and will carry out the necessary work with a view to advance the Project to construction.
“The JV covers the entire Batangas Project area, which has a total JORC compliant resource of 440,000 ounces, including a maiden ore reserve of 128,000 ounces (including silver credits). Exploration expenditure to the tune of c.$20m has been invested and with a more favourable sentiment to mining and a specialist local partner to carry it forward, the potential value is clear to see.
“Beyond the Philippines, we await news from the Government on the granting of the Temporary Mountain Use Permits for both the Kochang Gold and Silver Mine and the Gubong Gold Mine. We remain in close contact with our advisors and lawyers and although this is taking a little longer than anticipated we are advised that Gubong will be the first to be granted followed by Kochang.”
Under the terms of the Agreement, an initial 25% of the Project has been granted to Alpha-Diggers Inc (‘Alpha’), a newly formed special purpose vehicle established to manage the advancement of Batangas to construction. Alpha will complete exploration and environmental work programmes targeting the high-grade Lobo area of the Project, which includes additional drilling to increase the resource and a redesign of the mine plan for underground mining. On completion of this and the submission of the Declaration of Mining Project Feasibility (‘DMPF’) application, Alpha will receive a further 15% in the Project, raising its holding to 40%. The DMPF and ECC are the last major prerequisites for developing a gold mine at Batangas and on approval and granting, Alpha will receive a further 20% of Batangas, raising its holding to 60%.
The Company holds two 25-year MPSAs, 176-2002-V and 177-2002-IV, covering 1,163 and 1,011 hectares respectively in Batangas. The two-year Exploration Period extension is part of the MPSA and has been granted by The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (‘MGB’) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (‘DENR’).
Lobo is a highly prospective underground mining operation. The mineral resources are associated with a linear, steeply dipping, epithermal lode with high grade ‘shoots’ of mineralisation, similar to Medusa Mining’s Philippine project. It 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 licences, which 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. In particular, testing of the footwall lode at the SWB extension, produced results including 2.1m @14.4g/t Au and 3m @12.1g/t, and West Drift, already has an Indicated and Inferred resource of 350,000t @ 3 g/t Au and 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.
Five key targets identified within 15km strike on 5 parallel epithermal lode structures include Camo, where major flexure “look-a-like” target to SWB exist; Signal where exceptionally high grade rock chip samples at surface lead into an area of preserved high silver-copper-gold in silica cap at an analogous position to SWB; Pica the centre of the porphyry system at Lobo where previous high grade epithermal vein intersections above porphyry Cu-Au zone, are open in all directions; and Ulupong where very strong soil anomalies and high-grade surface trenching results indicate gold zone exposed for 3km strike of structural corridor.
Additionally, the wider Batangas project area contains a total JORC compliant resource of 440,000 ounces and including a maiden ore reserve of 128,000 ounces (including silver credits).
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of article 7 of the market abuse regulation EU 596/2014 (“MAR”).