Bluebird Merchant Ventures Ltd, a gold company primarily focused on bringing historic mines back into production, is pleased to provide an update on both the latest trip by CEO Colin Patterson and COO Charles Barclay to South Korea, re the development of the high grade Kochang Gold and Silver Mine (‘Kochang’) and the Gubong Gold Mine (‘Gubong’), as well as the partnership talks re the development of the Company’s Batangas Gold Project (‘Batangas’) in the Philippines.
South Korea Trip:
There is significant progress being made on bringing the Kochang and Gubong mines back into production. As reported, the next major milestone required is the granting of the Temporary Mountain Use Permits (‘TMUP’), which enables the Company to install and operate extraction and mining equipment at the mine sites. The team had a productive meeting with the Company’s Korean lawyers and permitting consultants to discuss the applications for both mines and were informed that these were progressing well, and they expect the grants to occur early in the New Year 2023. At the meetings, local community engagement policies were also discussed to garner further support for the projects.
To adhere to the mining licence criteria, the Company needs to purchase certain equipment. The delivery of these items will be determined by the date on which each TMUP permit is granted. This has been cleared with the Company’s lawyers with reference to keeping the mining licence current.
Colin and Charlie conducted site visits to both Kochang and Gubong to examine the adits, meet the new land lessor and look at further land acquisitions for the deployment of additional machinery and storage opportunities. The mine areas are all in order, the infrastructure is intact and access remains easy. Furthermore, the team had an amiable meeting with the Kochang landowner and discussed the current agreement and support for the mine development.
The team also had a meeting with Rob Smillie the new CEO of ASX listed Southern Gold, re opportunities in working together for the benefit of both companies. This was positive and the Company looks forward to a productive relationship that underpins the ethos that there are significant high value precious metal mineral development opportunities in South Korea. In line with this, the team also visited the leadership team of the gold division of Suncement Co. Ltd who are operating the Haenam underground gold mine. Colin and Charlie were welcomed enthusiastically. Both teams discussed the operational environment, approaches to mining and how the Korea Resources Corporation (KORES) can assist in mine development as well as ways to explore collaboration further. Interestingly, they are actively looking for additional mining projects both in-country and abroad.
Batangas Gold Project Update:
With regards to the Batangas Gold Project, the negotiations with a local partner who has strong credentials and experience in mining in the Philippines, are now at an advanced stage having progressed to drafting legal agreements. The project remains an attractive asset following the increased government support for the sector and the Board remains confident that these negotiations will conclude positively in the very near future.
Bluebird Merchant Ventures CEO Colin Patterson said, “We continue to make excellent progress in both South Korea and the Philippines. Our lawyers remain positive on the granting of the TMUP in the early new year which will allow us to accelerate the proof-of-concept production at Kochang followed by full production commencement targeting, initially, c.10,000oz Au per annum. Cash proceeds thereof will contribute to ramping up gold production at Kochang and commencing production at the larger Gubong mine where the Company has a medium-term target of 50,000oz Au, rising to a targeted cumulative 100,000oz per annum for both mines.
“The Batangas agreement should be finalised soon with the teams working to conclude a transaction that is value accretive to all parties. In essence, the key components have now been agreed and the lawyers are finalising the finer points. I look forward to updating shareholders on developments as they progress.”
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of article 7 of the market abuse regulation EU 596/2014 (“MAR”).