Katoro Gold hopes to progress Blyvoor with site visit
Gold and nickel exploration and development company Katoro Gold updated the market on its Blyvoor joint venture on Wednesday, in respect of the Blyvoor gold tailings project, reporting that the joint venture management and technical team would be conducting an “extensive” site visit on 1 and 2 July.
The AIM-traded firm said the primary objective was the acceleration of progress in two key areas of the joint venture.
It said the first key area was on project financing, having announced on 29 May that, as a result of the positive scoping study results, at least 14 parties had expressed interest in providing project-level financing to support its construction and development.
The level of partner interest exceeded expectations, and required the company to undertake a period of “intensive” review work to investigate potential partners.
Katoro said it had now progressed the funding process to the point where it was finalising a shortlist of potential financing partners, and was working with those parties, advisors, and its joint venture partners to finalise an appropriate project-level financing package.
As that continued to be adversely impacted by Covid-19 associated delays, the joint venture management would, during the site visit, address those issues and identify measures that would ensure the “expeditious completion” of the funding process.
The board said it expected to provide an update around financing and associated timelines shortly after completion of the site visit.
Katoro said the second key area was around the definitive feasibility study, explaining that the visit would mark the start of the resource upgrade programme that formed part of the technical work required for the completion of the study.
The resource upgrade programme would consist of both an exploration and geotechnical drill programme, as well as confirmatory metallurgical test work.
It said the programme would increase the resource confidence level to declare a probable reserve for definitive feasibility study purposes, as well as provide “critical” metallurgical data to ensure optimal gold recovery rates in the final detail design of the gold processing plant required to process the Blyvoor tailings.
“We were pleased to see the level of interest shown in the Blyvoor gold project, with the number of potential finance partners exceeding expectations,” said executive chairman Louis Coetzee.
“We have therefore spent much of June reviewing the parties and focusing on identifying a select shortlist from which we believe we can secure the best possible funding solution for the Project.
“We are, however, experiencing various frustrating delays due to Covid-19 constraints, most notably where it concerns the most ordinary of activities like, for example, free movement of people and the resultant impact on something like conducting due diligence site visits.”
Coetzee said that in the meantime, the company was “pushing ahead at pace” with the definitive feasibility study and other work programmes. focussed on preparing for gold production, adding that the board remained confident that the timelines it had previously set out would still be achieved.
“This is an intensive, but highly exciting point in the company's development and we are looking forward to providing further updates to the market as we continue to progress towards first gold production from the Blyvoor tailings facilities.”
At 1402 BST, shares in Katoro Gold were down 1.35% at 1.63p.