The 3D block models created on the epithermal vein systems serve as the basis for the mineral resource estimates for the Fujian Project. These models were produced using software for mine planning that is available commercially. Only the major vein system is mined at the moment. Only assays can establish the presence of gold mineralization at the Fujian Project, which is largely found in the main veins. Grade-based domains are required for grade interpolation control. A 2.0 g/t Au grade threshold and typical vein geometry were employed to create the modeling domains for the mineralization of the Fujian Project. Extreme gold grades' potential for risk was investigated. The analysis revealed there is a risk, and a series of assay gold grade caps (40 to 180 g/t) were used to reduce the risk.

In the remaining zones where data was insufficient to generate correlograms, modeling comprised of inverse distance weighting to the second power and grade interpolation by regular kriging for the mine domains. Grades from the closest neighbors were also interpolated for validation. Outside of the modeling areas, no grades were interpolated. The orientation of the vein in each domain was taken into consideration when positioning the search ellipsoids. Interpolation was implemented using a two-pass method. A grade estimate for the first pass had to comprise composites from at least two holes in the same estimation domain.

A single hole during the second pass might be used to estimate the grade of any block that was not interpolated from the first pass. Visual examination, checks for global bias and local trends, and evaluation of the right amount of smoothing were used to validate the gold model (change-of-support checks). The mine's mineral resources were categorized according to a logical system that followed instructions from the regional National Institution of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. The project's mineralization meets enough requirements to fall under the categories of measured, indicated, and inferred mineral resources. Table 1 displays the mineral resources at the Fujian Project mine. At a threshold grade of 2.5 g/t Au, the mineral resources of the Fujian Project are reported.

Table 1.

Mineral Resource Category Resource (t x 1,000) Grade Au (g/t) Contained Au (Oz x 1,000)
Measured 2,555 7,93 651
Indicated 1,684 6.84 370
Measured and Indicated 4,239 7.50 1,021
Inferred 4,399 6.55 927

Utilizing small-scale underground mechanized mining techniques, the Fujian Project mine takes use of the narrow, high-grade, sub-vertical deposit. At the current production rate of 510,000 Tpa, the mine's estimated life is 14 years.

The current mine layout has the following features:

  • Four declines (SOS, MOS, NOS and NWS), each covering approximately 400 m strike extent;
  • Two surface portals (South and North);
  • One surface conveyor additional for conveying crushed ore to the surface crushed ore bins;
  • Four primary ventilation surface exhausts (South, Central, North and Northwest) and one fresh air raise for NOS;
  • Link drives connect declines and serve as a secondary egress from the mine.

The mining strategy combines the drift-and-fill and long hole-open-stopping techniques. To meet production demands, both stopes are mined concurrently from several production blocks. Although stopes inside a production block are mined bottom-up, the production blocks as a whole are mined in a top-down order (overhand). For the purpose of geotechnical logging of exploration and stope definition drilling data, a geotechnical domain model has been created and updated. The widely utilized Q-System was employed at the Fujian Project to classify the rock mass by using characterization logging values to derive the Q input parameters. The breadth and dip of the orebody, as well as the anticipated ground conditions identified through geotechnical assessment, are the primary factors used to determine which of the two stopes mining techniques to use. Regular geotechnical evaluations show that over the LOM, the existing mining technique, stope sizes, and mining sequence won't change appreciably (Life of Mine). Three shifts are worked at the mine each day, seven days a week. This annual timetable corresponds to 365 days of operation per year.

Ore is to be sourced concurrently from the open pit and underground mines, according to the existing mine plans. By doing this, the higher-quality subterranean ore will be brought to the surface, allowing the average head grade to be close to the 5.7 g/t gold average ore reserve grade. The deep high-grade zone that plunges east-southeast and the significant new upper eastern zone of mineralization closer to the surface along strike are both still being confirmed by diamond drilling of the Fujian Project deposit. These zones are now being tested by five diamond drill rigs. Both zones remain open as they both slant east-southeast.

Notes on Open Pit Ore Reserve Estimate

The ore stockpiles and Ore Reserves for the planned open pit at Fujian Project are reported below at a 1.5g/t gold cut-off grade.

Category Tonnes Grade Gold
’000 g/t Au ’000oz
Open Pit Proved 3,693 4.16 711
(1.5g/t Au c/o) Probable 352 3.12 50
Total OP 4,045 4.08 761
Stockpile Proved 177 4.56 37
Total Ore Reserve Proved 3,871 4.24 749
Probable 352 3.12 50

Processing Test Work

The results of the numerous test work programs have shown that direct cyanidation and gravity techniques did not work on the mine ores. The metallurgically successful whole ore roasting, whole ore bio-oxidation, and whole ore pressure oxidation all have cost repercussions because of the ore's components, the need to capture gaseous effluents or issues with excessive acidity or reagents. Furthermore, alkaline pressure oxidation failed. The best chance of economically recovering gold was provided by concentration by flotation, which eliminated the naturally high carbonate levels in the ore and then processed the concentrate. Fujian Project concentrate underwent biological leaching, resulting in 93% and 94% gold recoveries through oxidation and carbon-in-leach (CIL) processes, respectively.

Underground Mining Methods

The cut-and-fill techniques, both overhand and underhand, were chosen as the underground mining techniques in 2018. Estimate of ore reserves with a lift height of 4.5 meters and a sublevel interval of 18 meters. The latest Ore Reserves estimation used the same mining techniques. The mine plan created in 2018 saw some changes, including level development that was adjusted to the new orebody geometry and extended to the east and/or west to reach the extra mining blocks.

The mine's depth has increased by 125m to -130mRL (Relative Level). The planned mine development or a new horizontal crosscut from the nearby hillside will both provide different levels of access to the mine orebody. In the Ore Reserves Database, only the mining blocks for which mine access is anticipated are listed. After taking into account the potential necessity for permanent ore pillars in these mining blocks, a 10m rib pillar was permitted against the pit wall, and ore recovery was decreased for the mining blocks directly beneath the pit bottom. To sustain a high subterranean production rate, multiple mining fronts or levels are planned, resulting in a number of crown pillars that have also been considered in the assessment of reserves.

Mine Planning

For the open pit mine and both orebodies types in the underground mine, the cut-off grades applied to the mine ore reserves estimations were 1.9g/t Au and 2.9g/t Au, respectively. The open pit's dilution and recovery parameters used by the Fujian Project were 5% dilution at 0.5g/t Au and 100% ore recovery. The underground mine's overall dilution and ore loss percentages are 13.5% and 12.9%, respectively. The mining specialists have studied the formulas used to determine the cut-off grade, ore recovery, and dilution and agree that they are appropriate.