CEO Bernard Olivier noted that production was achieved on schedule, and the firm is “now reviewing the run-of-mine production data to achieve full operational ramp-up during the next few months.” Bezant’s share price rose 8.47 percent after the news was released.
The company’s Colombian subsidiary, Ulloa Recursos Naturales, is running the operation in partnership with Exumax. Production follows two months of plant commissioning in the FKJ-083 license area, which covers part of an alluvial deposit within Colombia’s Choco province.
Alluvial mining focuses on minerals mixed in stream bed sediment and near the surface, and is attractive because it generally has lower overall mining costs. Bezant intends to ramp up production over the next three months in accordance with details outlined in an independent scoping study released in March. Total production costs are estimated to be lower than $800 per ounce. The platinum price was at $982.70 per ounce as of 2:00 p.m. PST on August 16, and gold was trading at $1,283.12 per ounce.
The platinum and gold contained in the upper layers of gravel at the deposit will be extracted through open-pit mining. As production continues, the company will dig deeper to reach higher-grade gravel near the bedrock. Bezant said it expects to reach this higher-grade material at the same time as its first processing plant reaches full production. First sales are expected during Q3 2017.
Bezant also holds the Mankayan gold-copper project in the Philippines, plus the Eureka gold-copper project in Argentina. The company’s head office is London, and it has another office in South Perth. It plans to monitor production at Choco and aims to expand operations across the region, which is known for its historic near-surface gold and platinum mining.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Shaw, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.